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Thinking About Cloud Computing on Earth Day

First started in 1970, Earth Day is now celebrated as a day to promote environmental awareness by over 190 countries. Typically people use this day to plant trees and clean up litter, but we should also consider clouds. No, not the fluffy white ones above our heads. I mean the revolution that is cloud computing.

Rob Phillips, StrataBlue’s Director of Services, has mentioned the benefits of the cloud in his previous post, but the numbers are still staggering. Cloud spending is posed to grow by as much as $180 billion by 2015, according to a recent study by Gartner. People and organizations have embraced the cloud definition for much more than simple storage and email, making the cloud a powerful ally for apps and programs. But what does all this have to do with environmental issues and Earth Day?

IBM and Trinity College recently unveiled Stratus, a set of powerful cloud computing algorithms that proved a connected set of data service centers could effectively lower carbon emissions by 21% while still performing essential duties. While this is great news for future users, current cloud converts are still benefiting when it comes to environmental issues. Here’s how.

Less Space

The cloud is up in the air as they say. Some people struggle with the location of their data in the cloud, but the simplest definition is that it gets virtualized in servers on other people’s machines. No matter the location, your data is currently taking up less space in the cloud than it would in your own private data center. Virtual technology today like VMWare allows companies to consolidate up to ten servers into one virtual server. With a shared virtual server, everyone’s data is taking up less space.

Less Power

According to a recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, cloud computing could save up to 87% more power than traditional systems. Since everyone is sharing data service centers, less power is going to all of those old private data centers. This is a quick answer, but you really need to look at the whole picture. With less private servers, less power is going to air conditioning, alarm systems and basic electricity to all those private buildings. Since server space is shared, there is also less power being used to move data around. Also consider the environmental issues that companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple take into consideration when they build a new data center.

Cloud Energy Savings on Earth Day!

Less Waste

Traditional IT practices are dying out. Prior to the cloud, an organization had to spend a lot of time and energy buying legacy software if it wanted to upgrade. Now many software packages like Office 365 can easily be updated, or even automatically update on their own. This saves time, money and resources since IT doesn’t have to upload software onto individual computers from CDs. Just consider the reduction in cardboard, packaging and plastic waste from all those software products!

The Future of cloud computing is a dark path. I don’t know exactly where this technology will take us. However I can feel a little more proud on this particular Earth Day. I know I’m supporting a platform that is greener than the last. Rob Phillips couldn’t say it better: “Moving to the cloud is the fastest way to reduce a company’s carbon footprint while recognizing significant savings.”

How has the cloud saved you time and energy? Let us know in the comments below!