Green cloud storage – Do you green it?

Using cloud storage services is a solution that promotes energy efficiency without any doubt, saving costs for businesses in a much more environmentally friendly way than using separate servers.

As well as the mentioned energetic efficiency, there are hardware savings that also result in reduced long term toxic waste. In addition, this use complements renewable energy not only helps to reduce carbon emissions and to create a cleaner environment, but also to optimize business resources.

In 2.011 the Cloud Computing – The IT Solution for the 21st Century report, already divulged that: “ from an economy-wide standpoint, US businesses with annual revenues of more than $1 billion can cut CO2 emissions by 85.7 million metric tons annually by 2020 as a result of spending 69% of infrastructure, platform and software budgets on cloud services”.

"Hand Holding Recycle Sign" by tungphoto

“Hand Holding Recycle Sign” by tungphoto

But we currently have more data:

–  71% of IT experts predict Internet users will live mostly in the cloud by 2.020.

–  According to North Bridge Venture Partners, GigaOM Research and Stratus, 75 % of companies already have some infrastructure in the cloud and global cloud market will reach 158,800 million dollars by the end of the year

–  Each virtualized server (in the U.S.) saves 7,000 Kwh of electricity and represents 4 tons less carbon dioxide polluting our atmosphere.

–  Large companies running applications in the cloud can reduce energy consumption & carbon emissions by 30% and small businesses could achieve even greater energy savings –up to 90%.

Ok, everything is right.…this looks like “Alice’s Wonderland”… so, where’s the problem?

Well, the problem lies in “the way”, because one of the main obstacles to achieve real ecological cloud and one of the main challenges for cloud computing companies is to create efficient Data Centers to get that reduction in energy consumption and in the impact on the environment.

Let’s say that the problem is not in the progressive advance in the use of cloud storage, as a method to store but in the resources that are used for it. And those, in some cases, are not as green as they should be.

Implementing “green culture” as a business management model is, without a doubt, one of the goals at this moment. There are, already, many ICT moving ahead this culture to reduce their carbon footprint. It can be mentioned Yahoo, Apple, Google, Facebook and Dell as examples. But some green organizations, as Greenpeace, don’t agree with this information and says that the savings obtained don’t exceed or even equal the energy costs required by data centers.

Here the latest report of the NGO in 2.012:

Greenpeace analyzes in this study parameters such as the location of infrastructure, the energetic efficiency, the use of renewable energies and the actions to mitigate the effects of the emission of greenhouse gases, as well as, transparency at publishing the information on this issue.

But let’s go back to the “pro” examples, in particular, to the article dated July 29 by Itwire where it is provided new information about the subject.

Other “pro-green-cloud” options:

–  The paperless office: where it is possible to reduce energy consumption invested in both  production and printing tons of paper .

–  Virtual office: with employees working together, but online and connected to a single computer.

And two helpful programs:

  • “Avanza I+D”: leading cloud computing and other technologies projects to replace traditional production processes by more efficient ones and contributing to energy sustainability.

  • The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) with Telefónica: on the third edition of “Green ICT Application Challenge”.

Finally, I would like to inform you about  the third international conference on cloud and green computing (GCC) to be held in Karlsruhe – Germany September 30 to October 2.

And up to here, my standpoint of the color of clouds …. and your clouds ….. what color are they?

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