Why a Sustainable Cloud?

Cloud computing, being an emerging technology also raises significant questions about its environmental sustainability. While financial benefits of Cloud computing have been analyzed widely in the literature, the energy efficiency of Cloud computing as a whole has not been analyzed.

The Cloud data centers are quite different from traditional hosting facilities. A cloud data center could comprise of many hundreds or thousands of networked computers with their corresponding storage and networking subsystems, power distribution and conditioning equipment, and cooling infrastructures. Due to large number of equipments, data centers can consume massive energy consumption and emit large amount of carbon. According to 2007 report on computing data centers by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the data centers in US consumed about 1.5% of total energy, which costs about $4.5 billion. This high usage also translates to very high carbon emissions which was estimated to be about 80-116 Metric Megatons each year. Further energy consumption occurs due to lighting, loss in the power distribution, and other electrical equipment such as UPS. In other words, the majority of power usage within a data center is used for other purposes than actual IT services. Thus, to achieve the maximum efficiency in power consumption and CO2 emissions, each of these devices need to be designed and used efficiently while ensuring that their carbon footprint is reduced. A key factor in achieving the reduction in power consumption of a data center is to calculate how much energy is consumed in cooling and other overheads. Below are a few examples of popular companies and how they manage their cloud services: table

Sustainability is based on a simple principle that everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. A sustainable Cloud is important to making sure that we have and will continue to have the resources needed to protect human health and our environment.It runs on green energy and helps reduce our carbon footprint, typical features of sustainable clouds includes natural cooling and heating mechanisms along with renewable power sources to run servers.

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