Cloud computing a green technology?

It's not the first benefit one would think of when cloud servers come to mind, but many IT professionals are concluding that widespread adoption of the technology may result in a significantly smaller carbon footprint. Although massive, consolidated data centers are needed to support cloud environments, they've replaced countless deployments of on-premise solutions around the globe. It appears that expansion in the market may counteract against the detrimental effects of an increasing world population and rise of industrial development.

Identifying potential savings
Statistics showing how cloud computing can reduce overall business expenses while expediting task completion aren't too difficult to find, though hidden cost savings are often overlooked when executives consider adopting the solution. According to Triple Pundit, a study conducted by the Carbon Disclosure Project showed that the technology has the potential to save large United States corporations up to $12.3 billion in annual energy costs through 2020. Regarding air quality, the organization noted that implementation could reduce CO2 emissions by 85.7 metric tons per annum.

"In general, cloud computing is a more sustainable approach to data storage than doing so locally because it calls upon a shared, centralized network," the report stated.

Part of the reason why individual data centers contribute to a larger carbon footprint is due to the need for multiple, distributed hardware over hundreds of thousands of organizations. Manufacturing the machines poses the first issue, but powering, cooling and maintaining them scatters energy consumption throughout the country. In contrast, comprehensive, advanced cloud storage facilities can be made to order en masse. The administration in charge of managing the data centers can also easily control the energy required to keep the devices running.

Why it works
The software employed by cloud infrastructure vendors typically yields greater computing ability, primarily because the public option entails multiple companies sharing space in a comprehensive environment. Cloud Tweaks reported that when virtualization is integrated with cloud-based automation systems, businesses are able to exceed the limitations of their typical utilization ratios, reducing the amount of architecture needed to support complex operations.

How cloud data centers are powered remains a question. Coal-fired or oil-driven power plants consistently produce the same amount of electricity into the grid, whereas green technologies such as wind and solar possess variable outputs. To solely rely on PV panels to adequately supply the needs of a cloud server database poses as too big of a risk for hosting companies offering round-the-clock connectivity. However, treating sustainable options as supplementary energy options has proven to be a feasible solution for cloud vendors throughout the U.S.

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