Going Green With Big Data

Green Technologies 

Amazon has just launched its fourth renewable energy program, increasing its data centers’ use of green power thanks to a new wind farm to be built in rural Paulding County, Ohio. Starting in May 2017, this green plant will generate 320,000-megawatt hours of electricity yearly, specifically to provide power to Amazon’s cloud data centers. But investment in green technology isn’t the only way IT giants are promoting a greener world – the Cloud and Big Data are making their own meaningful impact.

Cloud as a Green Solution

  • Pay for Use: Cloud infrastructure is typically pay-as-you-go, encouraging users to consume only what they need and turn off resources not in operation. This encourages both energy and resource efficiency as users only consume what they need.
  • Virtualization for Efficiency: The underlying technology for deploying cloud-based infrastructure, virtualization, enables one physical server to run multiple OS images simultaneously. This reduces physical server footprint, an inherently green advantage. Resource efficiency is another benefit, with the less equipment needed reducing data center space, energy consumption, and e-waste footprint.
  • Automation for Consolidation: Automation software allows for the rapid provision, moving and Scaling of workloads in cloud-based infrastructures, and a combination of the required skills and architectural standards with automation lets IT professionals efficiently exploit cloud resources by pushing the limits of utilization ratios and traditional consolidations. The higher these ratios, the less physical infrastructure required, the better the energy efficiency.
  • Multitenancy: With many different organizations using the same cloud-based infrastructure, the peaks and troughs of computation demand flatten out, lowering the ratio between peak and average loads. This reduces the need for redundant infrastructure providing substantial efficiencies and economies of scale in infrastructure resources and energy use.

Greener Big Data

  • Agricultural Productivity:Apigee and aWhere have teamed up to help smallholder farmers increase productivity and reduce waste. Investment in agricultural tech innovation has been enormous this year, but few tools are targeting smallholder farmers. aWhere, a corporation specializing in data intelligence for agriculture, is pairing with software development platform company Apigee to address this need, using cell phones to provide necessary data around weather forecasts, weather patterns, and regional market conditions.
  • Energy Preservation through Analytics: Big Data used correctly by communities, states, or even entire nations can help Government preserve energy resources and ensure self-sufficiency. Big Data also encourages companies to improve energy preservation while finding new sources of energy.
  • Balancing Micro and Macro: IoT sensor-equipped devices are providing more data than ever, leading to a better understanding of resource usages such as water, energy, and cooling, and so encouraging efficient scaling of systems.

The Outlook

Though IT managers often don’t consider green tech a priority, Big Data and Cloud Computing is already inspiring the change. Research suggests that these fields will continue to develop green environments, and by 2016 the global market for green data centers is predicted to grow to over $45 billion.

By Jennifer Klostermann

New York

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