How Cloud can make your business green


The Guardian recently reported that cloud computing can reduce your carbon emissions by 50% and other recent statistics have shown that it can save small businesses energy cost by around 90%… they are pretty staggering figures right?

At a time when energy costs are soaring through the roof, the prospect of reducing these costs whilst also having a more positive effect on the environment is enticing for business owners. Being classed as a ‘green business’ is currently a popular trend, with many big names competing to get on the Sunday Times’ Top Green Companies list.

A report called the Carbon Disclosure Project calculated that large UK companies could achieve annual energy savings of £1.2 billion if they move to cloud computing. This just highlights the significant savings that can be made when making the switch to a more efficient system.

The report which was conducted by independent firm Verdantix and sponsored by AT&T said that large companies plan to accelerate their adoption of cloud computing from 10% to 69% of their IT spending by 2020.  

The savings predominantly come from the virtual servers of a cloud system which are in place of the old physical servers linked to a custom IT system. One of the key benefits is that the customer can precisely refine what IT they require, meaning they will produce less waste and redundant capacity. The servers are more fully utilised so they are running at their optimum more frequently and are therefore more efficient that most in-house servers.

The simplicity of the equation is that cloud computing means you use less energy, which means you create less CO₂, which makes your business greener.

Cloud    =    less energy    =    less CO    =    GREEN BUSINESS

As well as the green savings in terms of both energy and cost, cloud computing also makes sense when it comes to savings on capital outlay on equipment, software and IT upgrades.

Find out how Cloudmetix can help your business save money.  Contact us today for a demonstration, or visit www.cloudmetix.net to start your free 30-day no obligation trial.

 

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About Netmetix

A complete IT solutions provider offering network systems, IT security, cloud computing, support and maintenance. It's all about service.

Posted on November 15, 2011, in Cloud Computing, Cloudmetix, Hosting, Network Solutions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Cloud does not mean less energy! All you are doing is moving your energy use elsewhere!
    In a SME, the level of protection in a “computer room” is far less than that at a cloud facility, which will have dual cooling systems, dual network systems, dual power (UPS) and dual backup generation, add to that the network energy costs and the overall energy use is the same. This is supported by the fact that the 3 largest network suppliers in the UK, BT, C&W and Virgin Media are all in the top 50 of the CRC table. The only real difference by moving compute into the cloud instead of on premise is that the energy costs are now hidden in Carrier and Cloud Service Supplier bills.
    As for carbon, the real factor is what sort of energy your cloud services supplier is using for his data centre, if its located in the SE of England, it’ll be either Coal or Gas and thus 0.54 grams of CO2 per kWh, in Scotland, due to the hydro generation the multiplier is 0.27grams of CO2 per kWh.

    • Hi John,
      Thank you for your comments. Whilst I can understand how you might have come to your conclusion, I have to disagree with you and the facts substantiate our claims. Cloud computing is more energy efficient for a number of reasons:
      • Most SMEs use a single O/S per hardware platform and consequently run at very low utilisation. In a large scale data centre, virtualisation allows multiple software servers to be run on a single hardware platform, which means the servers are run at a much higher utilisation and therefore, much more efficiently.
      • Whilst a data centre will almost certainly have dual everything, they operate in redundancy mode and only consume energy when called upon in the event of a primary system failure.
      • The vast majority of small server room cooling systems are highly inefficient, whereas a modern data centre with cold aisle cooling techniques will be far more efficient in its energy consumption. Indeed, a number of massive data centres, including a 30,000 square metre facility for Facebook, are currently being built inside the Arctic circle in order to use the freezing environment to provide the cooling with a resulting claimed 70% reduction in power consumption.
      • Many data centres, including ours, have enrolled in a carbon offsetting program. Our data centre is committed to the Trees 4 Business Campaign through Carbon Managers.
      • I have just checked the CRC league table and only BT is within the top 50 at position 44. Cable & Wireless are at position 1098 and Virgin Media are at 350. However, the current CRC league table is only based on the participant’s “early action to manage their energy” and isn’t yet based on their efforts to improve their actual efficiency. Therefore, I don’t believe too much can be read into the number yet.

      • Hi Netmetix,
        Thanks for your reply, however it does smack a little of a cloud provider justifying cloud whilst not looking at the bigger picture.
        First off, a server will operate at approximately 65% of its rated power whilst idle, regardless of utilisation. Virtualisation is a fantastic mode of operation, and will reduce energy consumption per se. So yes, virtual servers do provide energy efficiency, however, this only applies when you do not increase the amount of compute power available because you now have sufficient space, its called Jeavons Paradox, or server creep
        Secondly, dual systems in Data Centres add approximately 25% to the overall load even if they are on standby.
        Thirdly, I know that most data centres do not have hot/cold aisle or even containment systems. in additon most do not have free cooling installed as yet, although many will do so in the coming years.
        Fourthly, your comment about the CRC is totally incorrect, you have taken the CRC Table at face value and have not sorted the data as I have, if you sort the table on total carbon emissions, BT is 3rd, C&W is 39th and Virgin Media is 50th.
        And I agree that this data is to early to draw any meaniful conclusions, that said, the total energy use of the cloud has yet to be determined as it does not include network energy.
        In addition, the level of cloud use has yet to make an impression of actual network energy consumption, however cloud requires high speed broadband to operate successfully and this is likely to increase dramatically once the fibre broadband rollout is completed with an attendant rise in network energy.
        The only thing one can say with any accuracy is that whilst on premise IT energy use will decline, in both the network and data centre energy use will increase, far greater than that saved on premise.
        my company is actively looking for trial sites to conduct pre and post energy consumption measurements, would you like to partner?

      • Hi John,
        I’m delighted that you’re taking an interest in what we’re doing.
        Whilst it will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and model to model, you are correct in that a single server will consume a good proportion of its rated consumption, even whilst apparently doing very little. However, the latest virtualisation, clustering and live migration technologies will allow us to eventually migrate idle virtual servers onto a smaller number of hosts during times of low demand and then shut down the redundant hosts until the demand increases again. Whereupon the shutdown hosts will be restarted and the and the virtual servers reallocated once again. This isn’t something we are currently doing, but it will be implemented once demand makes it worthwhile.
        Server creep is less likely to be an issue with Cloud computing providers as their running costs are closely related to the physical space they take up and the power they consume. Therefore, it would probably be against their financial interests to allow server creep to take hold. Furthermore, many people, myself included, feel that the Jevons Paradox has probably outlived its validity, especially in the current global financial climate where most companies and individuals are looking to save costs. After all, the theory was proposed by William Jevons almost 150 years ago at the height of the industrial revolution and was mainly concerned with the use of coal. My expectation is that new data centres will get ever more energy efficient as they are first and foremost, commercial ventures where energy is a very significant proportion of their overall running costs and the owners will want to utilise whatever methods are available in order to reduce their costs and thereby increase profits.
        I will endeavour to get some actual figures for the power consumption of our fail-over systems whilst they aren’t being used.
        With regard to the CRC, as you say, until the data has matured, it is difficult to draw any real conclusions other than that it shouldn’t be too surprising that at the moment, the companies you name are reasonably high up the list, given their business type and enormous size. However, I will acknowledge that an underutilised data centre is unlikely to make any headlines for energy efficiency. Therefore, the sooner everyone moves their IT systems into the Cloud and fills up the data centres, the better it will be. 🙂 Joking aside, I would be very interested to talk further about partnering with you for your pre and post energy consumption trials.
        Regards,
        Paul

  2. Just curious to know that why cloud hosting plans are priced higher than normal vps hosting. as you said cloud hosting is cost effective

    • Hi Hemendra,
      What do you define as “normal vps hosting”?
      Our Cloudmetix service is a full hosted infrastructure for businesses and includes a number of additional features and services that probably wouldn’t be included in the types of services you are referring to. Cloudmetix provides a dedicated Windows 2008 Server, Exchange Server 2010 Enterprise, Office 2010, Forefront Endpoint Protection, Webroot Email Security with content filtering, full backups, Cisco ASA firewall and full proactive monitoring and support. Our prices start at £68 per person per month.

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