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:
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.
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.
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.
Matt Smith works for Dell and has a passion for learning and writing about technology. Outside of work he enjoys entrepreneurship, being with his family, and the outdoors.