Going Green with Cloud Computing

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Looking for ways to help the planet? While cloud computing may not seem all that eco-friendly at first glance, a closer look reveals a number of green benefits. Here are some of the ways that the cloud can help your organization cut its carbon footprint down to size:

Green cloud computing infographic Infographic source: Dell


Fewer machines

Thanks to virtualization and server utilization rates of around 60-70%, large, shared data centers are usually able to employ fewer physical machines to achieve the same capacity as an equivalent number of in-house data centers. Large data centers can also dynamically allocate resources where they’re needed, where individual enterprises must often buy more machines than they need to handle peak data loads. This reduction in physical servers means less energy expended in running, cooling, manufacturing, transporting, and replacing these machines, and that can mean big savings over time.

In fact, it’s estimated that a large enterprise can eliminate as much as 30,000 metric tons of CO2 from its footprint over five years simply by moving its HR application to the public cloud. That’s the equivalent of taking 5900 cars off the road.


Environmental savings

Resource sharing is another way that the cloud can help your organization save the planet. It costs fewer resources to power, cool, and maintain one large data center than it does to do the same for smaller, compartmentalized data centers. In addition, large data centers can often afford to upgrade to more efficient equipment (insulation, building systems, and, of course, servers), thereby cutting down even more on energy expenditures.


Cloud computing technology also makes small businesses more efficient

1. Reducing power consumption by decreasing hardware requirements.
When a small business utilizes the cloud rather than having an in-house server, they will only need an internet connection to access their resources. This will dramatically reduce their power consumption and in turn, their energy bills.

2. Reducing the reliance on natural resources such as paper by digitalizing documents.
Going paperless eliminates the need to print out pages of resources and therefore decreases waste.

3. Limiting resource redundancy.
When small companies run their own servers, idle time is a considerable problem. Small companies almost never use 100% of their computing power, 100% of the time. This means that most of the time, the server is idle, using power while not doing anything productive. Cloud technology means that small companies only use the technology (and energy) they actually need.

Although huge data centers have a long way to go before fulfilling their green potential, on the whole they are aware of their responsibilities towards the environment. Using cloud computing technology allows small, green businesses to work more efficiently and become more eco-friendly, and gives green start-ups the kick start they need to get off the ground.


Finding a green cloud provider

Of course, not all data centers are created equal. There are some things you should investigate to make sure that your cloud computing provider is taking advantage of all the environmental-savings possibilities:

  • What are their server utilization rates? You want to see rates around 60% or more.
  • Are their centers designed for maximum efficiency? Look for companies that have received LEED certification and Energy Star recognition.
  • Do they use renewable energy sources? You can feel good about data centers that take advantage of solar, wind, geothermal, and other earth-friendly opportunities.

What are you doing to be kind to the environment? Share with us below.

  • Greener Ideal Staff

    Greener Ideal helps you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips and commentary on the latest environment news. We want to protect the planet and reduce our collective carbon footprint.

2 thoughts on “Going Green with Cloud Computing”

  1. The potential savings for a large business are indeed considerable. Are there any advantages for the rest of us? That is, individuals and small businesses without their own server?


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