How the green cloud is making IT more sustainable

There has never been more of a drive – or more of an incentive – for businesses and organisations to be more sustainable. Thanks to a combination of consumer pressure, increased awareness and political action, there is now an expectation on companies to reduce their environmental impact. This means taking stock of the environmental impact of their business operations, taking action to reduce it, and openly reporting their progress.

There are plenty of meaningful ways to improve your environmental impact, and IT is a great example. While IT can consume a large amount of energy and natural resources, a growing number of IT service providers are focusing on improving the environmental impact of their products. ‘Green cloud’ is a prime example, and one that could have an outsized impact on the green credentials of businesses around the world.


What is the green cloud?

The green cloud refers to cloud computing services that are embracing sustainable practices, and taking active steps to reduce their environmental impact. For many organisations, IT is a huge part of their energy consumption, and thus their carbon footprint. IT hardware from laptops to monitors can consume a substantial amount of energy, while devices such as routers, printers and servers are rarely turned off.

The highest power usage within IT typically comes from these servers and other network infrastructure that is central to the cloud. This is both due to the demand for 24/7 power for the hardware itself, and the cooling systems needed to support this hardware, which are  themselves extremely expensive. As a result, the best way to limit these costs and benefit the environment is to move to the green cloud.


Benefits of the green cloud

Cloud computing makes organisations more energy efficient by reducing their own energy consumption and minimising wastage. Data centres are designed to be conscious of their own environmental impacts, and aim to combat energy waste through a range of measures. An increasing number of data centres are being built in already cold countries, or using the heat they generate for novel purposes, such as heating swimming pools or other areas that can use it.

As technology advances, it tends to become more energy efficient. Many data centres have also turned to renewable energy sources, and for new data centres this is factored into the design process. For example, all major public cloud providers – including AWS, Microsoft and Google – have incorporated renewable energy sources into their data centres as a part of their campaigns to be sustainable, and drive green cloud computing. Studies suggest that introducing public clouds may cut CO2 emissions by 59 million tonnes per year – the equivalent of removing 22 million automobiles off the road.


Making your IT more sustainable

Electrical waste is one of the most effective areas to improve your environmental impact. “Refurbish, resell, recycle” is a common mantra – repairing what you have, selling on old equipment, and recycling what you can’t get rid of. If you want to upgrade while minimising waste, you could also replace individual components. In many cases, adding newer and more efficient components can lead to a faster system that also uses less energy. Buying entirely new systems and selling the old ones could also still be worth it in the long run, given the performance and energy benefits.

As for the green cloud, its chief benefit is that sharing resources is often more efficient than having your own servers. Your own server might not be using all of its resources at any given time, and barely use any at some periods, but still consume power despite this. Sharing server space with others maximises the value of the server, utilising its resources while consuming similar levels of power. It’s far more energy efficient to have a single, highly efficient server running multiples companies cloud installations than having many different types of hardware in-house.

Cloud computing with the green cloud is not only cost effective, scalable and adaptable, but also far more energy efficient than running your own servers in the majority of cases. If you are interested in learning more or benefiting from a green cloud solution, please contact a member of our expert team today.

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