Is cloud technology more environmentally friendly than its counterparts?

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In the early days of cloud computing, there were genuine concerns that its implementation with the internet would have huge implications on the world’s carbon emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, some 1.5% of all electricity consumed in the States was due to traditional data centres. This ‘dirty’ energy usage has since been ‘cleaned up’ by many of the world’s leading organisations who have taken all-important steps to move many of their data centres onto renewable energy sources. Global e-commerce giant Amazon vowed in 2014 to operate online using 100% renewable energy.

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By the turn of the next decade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fears carbon emissions produced from traditional data centres will have risen four-fold to 680 million tonnes per year; amounting to more than the American aviation industry. This is a shocking statistic, but an understandable one when you realise just how vital data is to everyday life in the digital age. Therefore, by transferring vast data centres to public cloud providers, organisations can lower their carbon footprint and electricity consumption simultaneously.

What is a public cloud data centre?

A public cloud data centre is normally situated in close proximity to its power source. This is to prevent significant losses of energy when transmitting power over long distances, sometimes even abroad. Cloud computing data centres are also built to utilise less wattage for day-to-day operations, as well as generating backup power.

Why else do public cloud data centres have the eco edge?

  • Optimised utilisation rates
    Public cloud data centres are engineered to minimise hardware idling, which can lead to poor energy efficiency and have negative effects on an organisation’s carbon footprint. Instead, public servers use serves at high utilisation rates to maintain efficiency at all times.
  • Regularly upgraded hardware
    The time it takes for traditional data centres to replace and upgrade hardware within their servers is unnecessarily long. High costs are blamed for the delay, resulting in data centres operating inefficiently with outdated servers. Public cloud centres have higher utilisation rates and therefore need to be replaced quicker, but this is cost-effective as the new technology brings with it greater energy efficiency following each upgrade.
  • Elimination of wasteful energy
    On the whole, a traditional data centre has a dirtier power mix than that of a public cloud provider. With a less carbon-intense power mix, the public cloud is able to dramatically reduce wasteful energy use of equipment and put a much-needed ceiling on carbon emissions.

Of course, with more businesses and organisations operating within the cloud come new challenges in terms of cloud security. A robust cloud security solution is needed to prevent web application attacks and proactively thwart emerging threats. Because of the very nature of the cloud, such solutions need to be scalable and easily managed from a centralis

 

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