Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Finding Value in Cloud Computing – Part 9: Green Initiatives

Customers and communities are pressing companies to be more environmentally friendly. Their demands range from reducing energy consumption, reducing carbon footprints, using less water, and minimizing landfill waste. Many companies have responded favorably. They made their operations more environmentally friendly; obtaining ‘Green’ certifications, winning awards, and even incorporating their accomplishments in advertising.

Physical constraints within existing infrastructure are playing a part in the move to ‘Green IT.’ Faced with power density, utility company feed, cooling capacity, and floor-space and rack-space constraints, companies have relocated to new ‘Green’ data centers and have moved to the Cloud.

Economic pressures are also playing a part in the move to ‘Green IT.’ Energy consumption will continue to be a concern for business and IT executives. Increasing energy use in developing countries including China and India will place demand-side pressure on energy prices world-wide. The growing computational workloads and the growing number of computing devices of all types around the world will add further demand-side pressure. “And the other thing we’re finding is that in terms of energy consumption, that the trajectory, it’s a one-way street where we continue to consume more and more energy, and these data centers tend to be energy hogs, and we need to find a fundamentally different strategy as we think about bending this curve as far as data center growth is concerned.” __ Vivek Kundra, ‘The Economic Gains of Cloud Computing’, An Address, The Brookings Institution, 2010-APR-07, ( )

The Cloud Computing paradigm helps companies bend the curve to achieve their ‘Green IT’ objectives: reducing energy consumption, reducing carbon footprints, using less water, and minimizing landfill waste. It is naturally greener than building and operating one’s own data center. “There are a lot of data centers that are not highly utilized. If they utilize their assets at 20%, they're doing well. What we can do is aggregate a lot of demand across a lot of different time zones and use cases.” __Forbes, “Amazon's Golden Cloud”, 2009-JUN-29, ( )

Cloud computing allows us to aggregate demand across use cases, business processes, business capabilities, business units, time zones, and even companies. The Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Private Cloud options allow companies to achieve balance between their specific business and security requirements and their financial and environmental objectives.

__ Joseph Starwood (

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