School of Information Systems

GREEN IT: Green Solution

Green Solution from Cloud Computing

The carbon footprint of cloud computing services is highly dependent on a number of important variables: (1)  server utilization factor, (2) electricity carbon emissions factor: The carbon footprint of the electricity used to power the datacenter, (3) Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), (4) hardware efficiency: the energy efficiency of the servers, data storage, and networking equipment used in the server room and datacenter (NRDC, 2012).

Four reasons why cloud computing is also a green solution: (1) resource virtualization, enabling energy and resource efficiencies, (2) automation software, maximizing consolidation and utilization to drive efficiencies, (3) pay-per-use and self-service, encouraging more efficient behavior and life-cycle management, and (4) multitenancy, delivering efficiencies of scale to benefit many organizations or business units (Mines, 2011,

More efficient but could be greener:

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Energy savings in the cloud computing: (1) fewer machines – with the cloud, server utilization rates are typically 60-70%, while in many small business and corporate environments, utilization rates hover around 5 or 10% –  as a result, shared datacenters can employ fewer machines to get the same capacity, (2) equipment efficiency – larger datacenters often have the resources to allow them to upgrade to energy-saving equipment and building systems – usually, this is not an option in smaller organizations where this efficiency is not the focus, (3) consolidated climate control costs – in order for a server to run at its peak performance, its temperature and humidity level must be carefully controlled, and cloud providers can use high density efficient layouts that are hard for in-house centers to replicate, and (4) dynamically allocated resources – in-house datacenters need extra servers to handle peak data loads, and cloud providers can dynamically allocate resources where necessary in order for fewer machines to sit idle (Blaisdell, 2013,

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory investigated the energy impact of cloud computing. Their research indicates that moving all office workers in the United States to the cloud could reduce the energy used by IT by up to 87%. These energy savings are mainly driven by increased datacenter efficiency when using cloud services (e-mail, calendars, and more). The cloud supports many products at a time, so it can more efficiently distribute resources among many users (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2013).