According to the Accenture report “The green behind the cloud”, migration to the public cloud provides up to 40% savings in terms of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). And although these are data that should attract the attention of many business owners, cloud computing is worth looking at for another reason. The Green Cloud, because this is what we will be talking about today, is appearing more and more often in public spaces. But what does it actually mean?
What does Green Cloud mean?
The phrase Green Cloud is an obvious reference to green technologies — economic areas and environmentally friendly technological solutions. The concept of Green Cloud itself is to show the potential environmental benefits of the use of cloud computing technology on a large scale.
Currently, companies that have decided to migrate to the cloud enjoy the advantages of its possibilities, e.g., security, scalability or flexibility of services. It is worth noting here that you can put an equals sign between Green Cloud and cloud computing — each cloud is also a Green Cloud. But does this mean that with migration to the cloud, business gains additional value that it may not even be aware of? Namely, that it follows the path of ecology and sustainable development.
Green Cloud strategy
Cloud computing, which has so far tempted companies with its convenience of use and favourable financial aspects, can also join another high-profile trend in the “green” narrative, namely Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). However, taking care of the environment is such a serious matter that it cannot be limited only to marketing slogans. Therefore, at this point, let’s take a closer look at the Green Cloud strategy and assess whether its foundations really are that green.
Each form of energy generation involves interference with the environment, the use of raw materials and the production of waste, which is why energy saving is one of the foundations of green technologies. Cloud services allow you to manage electricity reasonably in several respects:
- Virtualization — a process that enables the creation of multiple computing environments on the basis of a single server. Users do not feel that they are using the same machine, and sharing resources reduces the number of servers needed and the amount of electricity consumed.
- Scalability — in the cloud you only pay for the resources used, thus using only as much as you really need. All the strategies that are focused on optimizing the costs of cloud services allow you at the same time to save electricity.
- Technology — modern technologies are automatically focused on energy efficiency, and cloud data centres are among the most modern data processing facilities. Both servers and the entire infrastructure must be highly energy-efficient for the provision of cloud services to be possible and profitable at all.
Migration to the cloud also means a reduction of equipment in companies and institutions. Small, private server rooms often have many ecological sins on their conscience: old servers, outdated cooling systems, not using machines’ full potential, improper disposal of equipment, etc. Cloud services relieve companies of the need to invest in infrastructure, which potentially allows for large energy savings, as well as a reduction of electronic waste.
Conclusion: cloud looks really promising with regard to energy savings.
Reduce carbon footprint
Energy saving automatically translates into a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere — we produce less electricity, and thus leave a smaller carbon footprint. However, the proposed strategy indicates one more aspect, which is especially dear to all of us during a pandemic: support for remote work.
Cloud for business is the ability to work from anywhere and at any time. Even without the current world situation, it is a gateway to more frequent and comfortable work at home. Less frequent commuting to the office, or to business partners and customers means lower fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions. Going further, it can mean the abandonment of corporate premises and lower energy consumption in offices.
Conclusion: Thanks to energy efficiency, cloud computing really translates into a reduction of the carbon footprint. On the other hand, remote working undoubtedly has its ecological aspects, but only time will tell whether we will continue with it permanently despite the possibilities of the cloud.
“Migrating to the public cloud can reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tons per year, comparable to the removal of 22 million cars from the roads.”
Source: THE GREEN BEHIND THE CLOUD
Significant reduction in waste
Cloud storage in combination with electronic signatures could completely eliminate the need to produce and collect physical, i.e., paper, documents in the future.
The electronic waste mentioned above is a separate matter. The cloud means less need for electronics, and thus less hard-to-dispose-of waste.
Money. The other face of Green Cloud
An interesting fact: although green is often associated with ecological aspects, it is also the colour of… money. The Green Cloud strategy most often relates to matters related to environmental protection, but also incidentally includes financial benefits. Reduction in expenses related to data storage and computing is a characteristic feature of cloud services, so this is also worth mentioning when it comes to the green cloud.
Green Cloud — trend or reality?
The above analysis of the most important aspects behind the concept of Green Cloud confirms that the cloud is indeed a service in line with the philosophy of green technologies. We wanted to show the most important arguments, doing so in a simple and accessible way. Thus, for example, we didn’t mention the special cloud architecture algorithm that additionally allows you to reduce energy consumption without adversely affecting the quality of services.
We would like the cloud to become a reality for both small and large businesses in the coming years. Whether for ecology or financial reasons, ultimately the environment will benefit from it.