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Cloud Computing and the Energy Crisis

From laptops to music players, cars to rockets, dishwashers to refrigerators, and mobile phones to light bulbs, modern day lifestyles depend greatly on energy sources. Research has shown that people in developed countries like the U.S., U.K. and Japan leave a carbon footprint of 19.78, 9.66 and 9.78 tonnes respectively. That essentially means that these countries leave an annual carbon footprint of approximately 585 to 5902 metric tonnes (as of 2006) of energy per year. Now consider the carbon emissions of all the countries put together. Get the picture? At this rate, it is predicted that the conventional sources of energy i.e. energy generated from solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity, micro hydro, biomass and bio fuels, will run out by the time we realize we ought to seriously conserve them.

A large chunk of energy consumption comes in face of “doing business”. Conglomerates over the globe use billions of metric tonnes of energy per year, most of which is attributed to data maintenance and transmission. In comes cloud computing to save the day.

What cloud computing essentially does is it places huge chunks of data on an external, shared data center that can be accessed from anywhere on the globe- with an internet connection, of course. Each user plugs into the data center that houses all the data in one place and uses it as a utility without having to save all the information physically on his hardware.  This means that applications, software and the entire data set of an organization can be stored and maintained in, and accessed from, one obscure location somewhere in space called a Cloud.

Carbon Disclosure Project, a non-profit making organization with the largest inventory of corporate greenhouse gas emission data, has released a report on cloud computing. The report reveals that businesses can reduce carbon emissions, save energy costs, decrease their capital expenditure on IT resources while improving operational efficiency by using Cloud computing. In the next ten years, much of the work done today in internal data centers will be outsourced to the cloud by 2020 U.S. companies are expected to raise 10% of their IT budget allocated to cloud computing today to 70% by 2020. In the process, they will be reducing carbon emissions by almost 85.7 million metric tons per year in the next decade. This translates to savings of 200 million barrels of oil per year which is sufficient to power 5.7 million cars.

The analysts at Pike Research came out with a report that concludes that the adoption of cloud computing will lead to a 38 percent reduction in worldwide data center energy use by 2020, as compared to the data center energy consumption without cloud computing. Total data center energy expenditures of the world will come down from $23.3 billion in 2010 to $16.0 billion in 2020.

In a supplemented study conducted by Verdantix, in-depth interviews with multi-national firms that have used cloud services for at least two years, cost reductions as high as 40-50 per cent has been reported. Firms such as Aviva, Boeing, Citigroup and Juniper Networks attributed the cost savings to using cloud computing.

That said, cloud computing is not magic. It saves costs because of economies of scale, diversity and aggregation, flexibility and the ability to overcome organizational issues by side-stepping them and enabling structural change.

Clouds are, therefore, better utilized and less expensive to operate than traditional data centers. Users can just plug in and access their complete data set from geographically displaced locations without the need for businesses to hire people or acquire products and facilities to run them.  This is also great news for Internet companies and cloud computing providers. The growing energy consumption of the Internet, data centers and our “always-on” connected devices will only continue to grow, so efficiency trends will continue to become more important. For the end user, it means a data system that is more scaleable, secure and reliable.

One great opportunity for that is to tune in or be present for the SWG Universe India 2011.   You will get a chance to listen to some great speakers who will talk about how to use cloud for business model innovation.

Content taken from – http://www.ibmsoftwareindia.com/home/cloud-computing-and-the-energy-crisis/

Categories: Uncategorized

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