green cloud computingThe growing demand for cloud infrastructure has led to a dramatic increase in energy consumption. This desire for power has significantly contributed to the environment’s carbon footprint.  The ever increasing demand for energy is primarily due to the exponential growth of data centers with thousands of servers and other infrastructures.

Energy-efficient solutions are necessary to minimize the impact of cloud computing on the environment. Green cloud computing, also known as green information technology, is a potential solution to aide in the reduction of energy consumption.

Green cloud computing is the study of designing, producing and using digital devices in a way that reduces their impact on the environment. Not only can these solutions save energy but can also reduce operational costs.

The Benefits of Going Green

Green cloud computing is a solution that allows users to utilize all the benefits of cloud storage while also decreasing its adverse effects. The ultimate goal of green cloud computing is to reduce the power consumption of large data centers (Amazon, Google, eBay, etc.).

Green cloud computing aims to include energy-efficient technology, environmentally sustainable production practices and improved waste and recycling procedures.

  • Green Design: Designing energy-efficient servers, infrastructure, computers, software applications and other digital devices will reduce the amount of energy consumed in the future
  • Green Production: Minimizing energy and waste by recycling and repurposing equipment during the production process of digital devices can contribute to a more sustainable environment.
  • Green Usage: Reducing the amount of energy a product utilizes while in use can reduce up to 27% of energy.

Aside from large corporations and large data centers reducing their waste, the average computer user can also implement green practices into their data usage.

  • Using sleep mode while away from your computer for an extended amount of time
  • Turn off computers at the end of the day
  • Consider refurbishing electronic devices rather than buying new ones
  • Recycle electronic waste products

Techniques to Make the Cloud “Green”

Three techniques could revolutionize the future of green cloud computing:

  • Nano Data Centers: Newly developed computing platform which uses internet service providers (ISP) controlled home gateways to offer computing and storage services. Nano Data Centers are more energy-efficient than conventional data centers. They help reduce the cost of heat dissipation, they have high service proximity, and have the capacity for self-adaptation or self-scalability.
  • Dynamic Voltage Frequency Scaling: A method that reduces the power and energy consumption processes used with frequency scaling. Implementing this technique will reduce energy consumption and leverage the utilization of the resource.
  • Virtualization: A technique that improves machine management and energy efficiency through sharing a single physical instance of a resource/application with multiple customers or organizations at the same time. Virtualization maximizes the number of available system resources in an eco-friendly way. It enables better monitoring and management of the resource allocation, and it aids the server group in maximizing their ability to share resources.

Going Green Is Not a New Concept

Though individuals are aware of their carbon footprint now more than ever, reducing energy is not a new concept.

The roots of these concepts can be traced back to 1992 when the United States Environmental Protection Agency launched a program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – Energy Star. This program was designed to identify and promote products that followed energy-efficient guidelines.

The first products that were labeled with Energy Star were computers. This program led to the implementation of sleep mode in electronic devices. Though this concept was developed almost 30 years ago, it is still essential in reducing energy today.

Cloud computing is a highly effective infrastructure for many businesses. However, the growing demand in energy consumption is not only costly but harmful to the environment. Energy-efficient solutions, such as green cloud computing, are essential to reduce the earth’s carbon footprint and lead to an overall greener environment.