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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.