11 November 2010

Environmental Effects - Applicable to Cloud Computing Too

Of course, this is US data but soon will be applicable to us.

Of the electricity consumed, nearly 1.5% of electricity consumption accounts to data centers. By 2020, the electricity consumption by data centers alone will be more than aviation industry. So, in future we will have two industries giving away lot of carbon emissions. We talk about cloud which is effectively repositioning data centers as far as location of boxes are concerned. We move many boxes to the cloud and once we move them, they need lots of power. Here the important point is that we don't really know whether the cloud provider takes care of environment and carbon footprint. What if the provider generates power and dump carbon emission in the air.

Already Greenpeace is saying someone is using coal. That someone is none other than Facebook. A bit of story can be found here.

What about cloud providers? Will they give out information on how the electricity that powers their data centers is generated?

A technology (cloud computing) that makes us replace a old technology offers benefits (efficiency). If the new technology (cloud computing) goes into the wrong hands (to a provider who doesn't care about its carbon emission) still produce big side effects.


shankar ganesh said...

True, there will be high demand of power for cloud data centers, this should be a point of concern to policy makers about managing carbon footprint. There are few metrics available to calculate carbon emission. Infrastructure hosting cloud data centers will be having emission control mechanism and usage of alternative energy source.

Lakshmi Narayanan N said...


Good point.

not only for policy makers, for everyone. :-)

this will eventually make cloud providers to go to places where there is less carbon footprint per person.

Bala Vijay said...

Suppose cloud service providers ensure that they comply with green computing standards.End of the day, there will be less carbon footprint. But how can we ensure that without cloud computing, that is localized data centers or high end systems will generate less carbon footprint?
Centralized one is always efficient in this case I guess.
Your suggestions boss.
Look through the link below.


Lakshmi Narayanan N said...

@Bala Vijay

Welcome to Unstuck.

It is everyone's expectation that cloud will improve efficiency and lead to much lesser carbon footprint. But the caveat here is whether or not the cloud providers generated power causing much lesser carbon footprint. recently Microsoft said that cloud will reduce 30% carbon emission.

The onus is on cloud providers to rely on green initiatives. will check out the link and post write an email to you :-)