Going Green with Cloud Computing

Discover the environmental benefits of moving your company to the cloud.

The corporate carbon footprint has become a big deal for companies lately. That's why many organizations are moving their services onto the "cloud," a shared method to store mass data over the Internet, which not only saves time and money, it also cuts energy use. Without a doubt, the cloud is slowly transforming how corporate IT services are handled. Yet cloud-based computing boasts some environmental benefits.

Teaming up with outsourcing company Accenture and WSP Environmental & Energy, Microsoft conducted a study that compared the energy use and carbon footprint of cloud-based computing versus on-premise IT delivery. The research found that on the whole, cloud solutions reduced energy use and carbon emissions by more than 30 percent.

And the benefits stack up. For smaller deployments, or about 100 users, the upsides proved even more impressive: Energy use and emissions were slashed by more than 90 percent with a shared cloud service.

Boosting Energy Efficiency
For those of us who aren't technology buffs, how does that happen? Well, there are several key factors that contributed to the cloud's energy efficiency.

Unlike traditional computer hosting, the cloud is sold on demand, meaning a user can have as much or as little of the service as he or she needs at any given time; it is elastic. In turn, this cuts the amount of wasted computing resources through better matching of server capacity with actual demand.

Importantly, the cloud uses fewer machines. In many small businesses, server utilization rates stays around 5 to 10 percent. That translates to more servers to get the same amount of work done. Servers can be quite pricey to purchase and maintain, and with a low utilization rate, lots of cash may be spilling out of your company's wallet. With the cloud, utilization rates rise to as high as 70 percent. At the end of the day, fewer machines equals less energy used and fewer dollars spent.

The cloud encourages better data efficiency. Through improved cooling and power conditioning, the shared network diminishes the workload for companies, cutting power loss and downtime.

By taking advantage of the cloud, your company can cut emissions as well. Of course some cloud services are greener than others. If CEOs and leaders in business want to make save green while going green, it might be a wise idea to move applications to cloud services.

Ilchi Lee, a New York Times best-selling author and advocate of a sustainable world, encourages people and businesses to take all the progressive steps to create a greener planet. Cloud services not only make your company more energy efficient, it may boost your public image as well. While smaller organizations will reap bigger perks of the new-wave technology, all sizes of companies can benefit from lower machine costs and a shared infrastructure. Cloud computing has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of many businesses, on top of providing cost savings.