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The Carbon Disclosure Group Confirms Cloud Computing Is Green


LONDON, Aug. 15 — The question on CIO's lips "is cloud computing more or less energy-consuming compared with the typical local data center a company owns and uses?" What actually is the green disparity in purchasing services from a multitude of cloud providers compared with amalgamating the enterprises servers and applications in a private cloud maintained behind the organisation's firewall?

Understandably the chief concerns about cloud computing providers have thus far been concentrated toward "security, service reliability, vendor lock-in and lack of a clear business case", notes Linda Tucci, news director at CIO Matters. The green aspect is not even a blip on the radar.

The findings of a study commissioned by the Carbon Disclosure Project, CDP are disclosed below. The results show that by 2020, by spending 69% of their infrastructure, platform and software budgets on cloud services, U.S. companies with a revenue of $1 billion or more would reap energy savings of $12.3 billion and carbon reductions equivalent to 200 million barrels of oil – enough to power 5.7 million cars for one year. Migrating one HR application to the public cloud could save one of these companies $12 million over five years and cut CO2 emissions by 30,000 metric tons.

Google recently published energy savings for the public cloud provider Google Apps. These findings state that a migration to Google Apps can directly reduce energy for servers by 70-90%, reduce energy for server cooling by 70-90%, at a small cost of increasing energy 2-3% from the use of Google servers and more network traffic.

Google comments that SMEs and companies that migrate more of their organisation to the public cloud will save more than the averages set out above. These statements are backed up by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)'s case study.

According to Greenpeace Google [and Yahoo] are leading the way in prioritizing access to renewable energy in their cloud expansion. Google has entered into two significant separate 20-year power purchase agreements (PPA) in the U.S. An excellent example of an IT company directly purchasing renewable energy that has enough capacity to power its massive data centers. Google has also created a subsidiary, Google Energy, which allows it to directly buy and sell federally regulated wholesale electricity. This offers Google greater flexibility and allows the IT giant to sell excess back to the grid.

How much does the greenness of cloud computing concern the companies that are considering migrating? According too Paul Stemmler, managing director of engineering and integration at Citigroup believes "Carbon reduction is one driver, but not the primary driver". The industry has however, seen efforts to 'green up' data centers and cut consumption – especially at the larger cloud and social networking facilities, even if green isn't at the top of IT strategy agendas.

AppsCare, Google Enterprise Premier Partner is a world leader in cloud services provisions, supporting over 2500 customers in 33 countries. AppsCare comprise 10+ years' experience deploying technical solutions for organisations of all sizes and geographies utilising their GStall delivery methodology and AppsCare support programmes. To subscribe to their fortnightly newsletter click here.

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Source: AppsCare; Netpremacy

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