When considering making the transfer over to the cloud, businesses mostly focus on benefits such as the cost savings, optimised management, accessibility and increased working efficiency. However, there is another advantage of cloud computing that is often overlooked: the green aspect. In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of the ways in which cloud computing can help to reduce environmental waste.
What is the Cloud?
‘The cloud’ refers to large servers all over the world that can be accessed via the internet.
Individuals can pay to store their data and programs over the internet instead of on their computer’s hard drive or keeping physical copies.
What are the Environmental Benefits of Using the Cloud?
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
A study by Accenture found that or larger enterprise firms, adopting the cloud can reduce energy use and carbon emissions by 30-60% in comparison to on-premise IT infrastructures. Mid-sized firms have the potential to reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions by a shocking 60-90% and smaller businesses or those just starting up can cut it by over 90%.
Work from Home
Cloud computing is a significant enabler of both home and remote working as it allows users to access the same files from different devices. In fact, over the coronavirus lockdowns, cloud computing was essential for a large number of businesses to continue running whilst staff worked from home. This also reduced the need for commuting, in turn decreasing emissions.
Data Centre Efficiency
Cloud providers are paving the way in emission savings, reducing the impact that technology has on the environment via resource virtualisation (creation of virtual servers, infrastructures, devices and computing resources), ongoing innovation and powerful data centres. These solutions cover a range of systems including monitoring software, storage systems and computing tech.
When regular servers are under-utilised, energy can be lost in translation, leading to e-waste as servers sit idle. On the other hand, data centres that utilise cloud servers have significantly less e-waste and even save more energy as they don’t require as much equipment to monitor the systems and manage workflows.
Regular data centres usually don’t have a choice about their location unless the company running them has large amounts of money e.g. Facebook. This can lead to large losses of energy when transmitting over long distances. On the other hand, cloud data centres are usually located near to the facilities that power them, preventing such large losses as the electrical energy is transmitted between the two and improving your network infrastructure.
Reduced Electricity Use
Traditional data systems tend to be high maintenance, requiring power supplies that cannot be interrupted, and need lots of cooling and electricity. Transferring basic software programs over to the cloud can save immense amounts of electricity as it means fewer machines and hardware and in turn, less space and cooling is required.
A case study conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that transferring business software like email and CRM to the cloud has the potential to save enough electricity each year to power the whole of LA for 12 months, meaning the cloud would lower the total energy consumption of these applications by 87%.
Thanks to such massive savings on operating and running costs, cloud computing allows firms to streamline their management and transfer their focus to projects that generate revenue instead of daily IT jobs and issues.
Reduction in Climate Impact
Thanks to the fewer emissions used by the cloud compared to regular data systems, the impact on the climate is significantly reduced. According to Amazon Web Services, “the average corporate data centre has a dirtier power mix than the typical large-scale cloud provider”.
Dirty power can affect the lifetime of computing equipment, wearing it down over time and can be incredibly expensive to manage and maintain climate controls to ensure they’re running at their peak performance.
Amazon Web Services, alongside other cloud providers, use a mix that is 28% less carbon-intensive and without the need to constantly maintain climate control, the cloud also eliminates wasteful spending. The cloud is revolutionising the computing industry in a number of ways. Customers consume 77% fewer servers, 84% less power and reduce carbon emissions by 88% by using the cloud.
What Does This Mean Moving Forward?
The green case for the cloud unveils a compelling opportunity to contribute to something much bigger than the tumultuous business environment. Cloud computing presents firms with the ability to help migrate the consumption of energy, reduce their carbon footprint and move towards a greener, smarter future. Undoubtedly, cloud adoption and improved efficiencies will become increasingly ubiquitous with enduring advancements in the cloud technology and growing green awareness.
For more advice and information, why not check out some of our other helpful guides or get in touch to discuss what our services can do for you.