Embrace Cloud, But Not at The Cost of Your Ecosystem
There is this great quote from the famous Hollywood flick, Spider-man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The current biggest industry on this earth, the IT sector, has recently come to terms with this much-used scripted quote as New York Times published a story on ‘Power, pollution and the internet’. This report exposed an issue which was mostly unseen or unnoticed by the industry champs. Here comes the question of cloud computing vs. environment efficiency.
What is the common notion about the energy efficiency of cloud computing? Ask the folks around and you will be amazed at their answers. Most of us perceive cloud service as something really brilliant when it comes to energy consumption. Cloud is like socialism. All private properties merge into a single one. To put it in a simple way, if all the Americans stop using their own vehicles and start using public transport systems, it will save the fuel consumption up to a great extent. So when you are checking the latest tweets from your smart phone, companies are using Gmail or Google Drive instead of using their own individual servers; it must be cutting the energy consumption.
But things are not that simple with cloud. It’s true that with cloud, individual usage of servers has seen a steep decline. Google, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, banks are taking care of your important business and personal data by storing it in their own servers. In fact, technically, they are securing data of millions or zillions of users like you. So those millions or zillions of users are not consuming that amount of electricity which could have been used in the absence of Google or PayPal’s servers.
Now, let’s try to paint a picture of those cloud giants’ thousand square feet long servers or data centers. It’s not a small IBM server, but a mammoth size data center with thousands of huge servers dedicated to millions of users. To maintain that mammoth thing work properly without any slow down or sudden crash, you need to create an endlessly running backup support. No rest, no switching off, no holiday for those data centers. And this endless service is possible only at the cost of an incredible amount of power supply. If I go by the numbers then it’s nearly “30 billion watts of electricity” the whole global digital warehouse consumes at large.
So ‘introspection’ is the ultimate call of the hour for all the cloud giants across globe.
By Durba Sengupta