Going Green with Cloud Computing

By Julia Uglietta
Associate, Marketing and Sales

Going Green with Cloud Computing
The Cloud is already a symbol representing nature and the sky, and while nature may not be the underlying purpose of this new technology, the cloud is fairly associated with environmental stewardship.

“Going green” is a phrase that has become increasingly popular over the last decade.  Among many businesses, it has become a major focus to become more green by becoming less wasteful and paying more attention to the environment when making decisions about products, resources, and energy consumption.   At the same time, the use of cloud computing has also taken off recently. And although both movements are not directly associated with one another, there are a number of green benefits that come along with cloud computing.

“The cloud” is a metaphor for the Internet that may connote a strong impression of nature and the sky.  And, while nature may not be the underlying purpose of this new technology, the cloud is fairly associated with environmental stewardship.

First, cloud computing is all about extending your existing IT capabilities and capacity on the fly without the hassle of investing in new infrastructure, licensing new software, training new staff and so forth.  That’s a pretty good value proposition, especially when you consider that moving to the cloud might lead to IT cost savings as well.

Now, factor in the energy savings and resource conservation that you may achieve by using cloud computing as an energy efficient approach to data center consolidation.  Cloud hosting providers are increasingly becoming competitive about their eco-friendly status and rightly so.  More data centers are doing all they can to make their building and hardware as energy efficient as possible. Their facilities are being designed with power conservation in mind as well as energy efficient hardware and equipment, and cloud providers are promoting environmentally conscious internal programs and policies (such as recycling bins, green certified office cleaners, employee education programs, etc.).  Also, with cloud computing, server virtualization makes datacenters more agile by enabling more efficient use of existing software and hardware resources. Less hardware leads to less waste and reduced power demand/ energy consumption.  In this way and others, “less is more” can finally be accomplished through cloud computing.

And, that is also evident in the workplace.  For example, since some businesses are moving to cloud-based virtual desktops, they can cut down on the number of devices they need. One physical machine can now be configured to access multiple different desktops.  Moreover, the cloud has also enabled a new wave of telecommunicating and video conferencing.  This is clearly saving time, money and energy. With fewer people having to travel to a physical location, less energy is being used in the daily work routine.

It’s important to remember that cloud computing environmental benefits go hand in hand with economical benefits as well.  In the Forbes article, “Cloud Computing’s Hidden Green Benefits,” the author states, “By 2020, [the Carbon Disclosure Project] estimates large US companies that use cloud computing can achieve annual energy savings of $12.3 billion and annual carbon reduction equivalent to 200 million barrels of oil.”

Many hosting companies are making it their mission to become as green as possible and still more is yet to come from the industry.  For our own part, we take the environment seriously.  While we don’t claim to have all of the answers, we are committed to doing our part, daily, to foster eco-friendly leadership and contribute to making this industry greener.  Cloud computing will continue to grow rapidly throughout the decade, and hopefully, the green benefits will only increase with it.

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