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Cloud Computing: The Hidden Environmental Benefits

The IT ecosystem represents around 10% of the world’s electricity consumption. Cloud computing has enormous potential to positively impact the world of IT—not only businesses’ performance but also their carbon emissions. If 80% of world enterprise adopted cloud computing and powered down local servers we would see around a 4.5 megaton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (a 2% decrease). Seems little, but this equates to 1.7 million cars disappearing from our roads!

The cloud advantage is particularly compelling for small deployments, because a dedicated infrastructure for small user counts—as in a small business running its own servers—typically operates at a low utilization level and may be idle for a large part of the day. Energy use and emissions can be reduced by more than 90% with a shared cloud service for small deployments of about 100 users, 60-90% for medium-sized deployments of about 1,000 users and 30-60% for large deployments of about 10,000 users.

The comparatively smaller carbon footprint of cloud computing is a consequence of improved infrastructure efficiency and a reduced need for IT infrastructure to support a given user base. These primary levers are influenced by four key factors:

      1. Dynamic Provisioning

Reduce over-allocating of infrastructure: IT managers typically deploy far more server, networking and storage infrastructure than is actually needed to meet application demand. Cloud providers can reduce the inefficiency caused by over-provisioning by optimizing the number of active servers to support a given user base.

      2. Multi-Tenancy

Share application instances between multiple organizations:The cloud architecture allows providers to simultaneously serve multiple companies on the same server infrastructure. Multiple tenants of a cloud-provided infrastructure reduce their overall energy use and associated carbon emissions.

      3. Server Utilization

Drive energy savings by improving server utilization: While servers running at higher utilization rates consume more power, the resulting increase is more than offset by the relative performance gains.

      4. Data Center Efficiency

Power usage effectiveness: As cloud computing gains broader adoption and the share of data processing performed by modern data center facilities increases, the industry’s power usage effectiveness (PUE) averages should improve. In parallel, new data center designs continue to push the envelope on driving greater efficiencies. These two trends will drive greater efficiency in data centers.

At Gist we can host your applications in the cloud. To receive more information about the advantages and business opportunities of cloud computing, get in touch with Gist. We will take care of it for you.


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