Is cloud computing a green IT enabler?

Article by Karan Kirpalani

Do you turn ‘green’ automatically by moving to the cloud? Well, the answer is YES! What is environment friendly? Any activity that does not consume too much energy and use too many natural resources is considered eco-friendly. And Cloud Computing spells energy savings from start to finish: so it becomes a green IT enabler.

Let’s try to examine this in depth. One of the principles of cloud computing is the flexibility of using the services as per need and paying according to use. In addition, these services run on shared infrastructure. So you are using the energy just as much as you need, and utilizing existing resources without investing on new additional infrastructure. No extra computers. Additional computers would have meant extra idling time as well. So all this is avoided with the concept of utility computing.

Next, it is important for us to comprehend the kind of energy IT systems consume and their impact on the environment. Every search, every activity we perform on the computer leaves a carbon footprint. So large, complex IT infrastructures must be consuming high levels of energy. A research study by Gartner pegs the IT industry energy consumption at 2% of the global energy usage. So moving to the cloud is a great way to check energy consumption.

Several articles and research material indicate the various reasons as to why cloud computing really helps organizations curb their carbon footprint and contribute significantly towards sustainable living.

  1. Several studies have reported that cloud computing reduces the carbon footprint of an organization by almost 90% as compared to that of an internal IT system
  2. Data centers that utilize cloud technologies prove to be far more efficient as compared to traditional data centers. Traditional internet data centers lose a lot of energy due to server under utilization, which is completely eliminated on the cloud
  3. Consortia of cloud providers assure that its members optimize their data centers to minimize power consumption
  4. Large scale virtualization helps tremendously with energy reduction

So moving to the cloud helps an organization’s agenda to reduce costs associated with energy and to comply with environment objectives to a great extent. That’s killing two birds with one stone, and a remarkable achievement for any organization. Think about it!