Can you measure carbon abatement through cloud computing?
The Europe 2020 strategy is driving massive change across European life. The Barroso Commission is not only striving for a stronger economy and more competitive Europeans but it demands that we act smart in the process.
For example the ICT industry is racing to fill the rapid growth in demand for cloud computing services. Business and governments alike are attracted by the combination of on-premise and off-premise data storage, inexpensive platforms to create applications and the efficiencies of moving business process to a virtual environment. The claim is that cloud will also reduce a company’s need for hardware, reduce demands on electricity and lead to dramatic gains in server optimization while at the same time radically cutting carbon emissions, one of the Innovation Union’s
goals for 2020
. But the counter argument is that this will result in increased hardware and energy elsewhere in a data centre.
So what evidence is there or specific calculations that exist to measure how much cloud computing will green our business?
To help find this answer Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer released a study on the environmental benefits of moving to cloud computing specifically focused on Microsoft’s data centres and offerings.
The study, a collaboration between Microsoft, Accenture and WSP Environment and Energy, analyses the energy use and carbon footprint of Microsoft cloud computing and Microsoft on-premise deployments. It provides a detailed environmental comparison of three Microsoft applications -Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics CRM- that are available both on-premise and in the cloud.
The results are certainly impressive. Researchers compared criteria such as power consumption, power usage effectiveness and carbon intensity. When large deployments (10,000+ users) migrate to the cloud, carbon emissions and energy drop by over 30 percent, compared to on-premise applications. Small- to medium-sized deployments (100-1,000 users) are greater still. The study found that sharing cloud services can reduce emissions and energy use by…90 percent!
These environmental benefits are a direct consequence of a number of factors that Microsoft has been incorporating into its cloud strategy. These include dynamic provisioning that matches server capacity with actual demand; multi-tenancy which serves large numbers of users through shared infrastructure; operating servers at higher utilization rates; and better data centre efficiency to improve cooling and power conditioning.
Businesses and individuals alike are becoming increasingly aware of the presence and application of cloud computing, and the critical importance of environmental sustainability. This latest study shows how IT users can now have the best of both worlds by reducing costs and minimizing inefficiencies, whilst benefitting the environment.
To read more and download the report visit Microsoft’s Saving energy and carbon in the cloud page. Also visit Microsoft’s Software Enabled Earth blog.