How Cloud Computing Saves Energy
The cloud can not only save you some green when it comes to spending money, but it turns out, it’s also pretty good for environment!
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Northwestern University revealed a tool that estimates the energy savings of moving local network software and computing into the data centers that make up the cloud (you can read the full report here).
The tool, called the Cloud Energy and Emissions Research Model (CLEER), is online and available to the public. The hope is that it will give analysts a deeper understanding of how energy use changes as the corporate world begins to transition from storing and processing data on local networks and moves toward handing these tasks off to data centers.
The cloud may seem like a crisp, clean place, but the truth is that the data centers that power the cloud are massive in scale and are jam packed with servers, processors and hard drives. It’s not surprising that these establishments can easily consume megawatt upon megawatt of power.
Even so, the move to the cloud could save quite a bit of energy.
In a case study using the CLEER simulation, researchers discovered that by moving their email programs, spreadsheet applications, customer management software and other similar applications to centralized off-site servers, American businesses would decrease their computing energy footprints by 87 percent, enough to power the city of Los Angeles for a year.
The reason the cloud can still be so green while still being such an information powerhouse is due to consolidation. Instead of SMBs having underutilized and inefficient servers and hardware on-site soaking up electricity while sitting idle, the businesses data is instead housed in a top of the line data center, fine tuned for efficiency.
By pooling these resources in a data center, companies can effectively buy computing power in bulk and servers can spend more time doing actual work per processing unit, reducing the overall need for more computers.