Green Cloud Computing – The Sustainable Way to Use the Cloud
The 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.
A recent TELUS International survey of tech leaders found that 68% believe a green cloud computing solution is important for their organization.
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 cloud is for everyone. The cloud is a democracy.” – Marc Benioff, CEO – Salesforce.com.
Enterprise investment in public cloud services continues to surge, with certain segments experiencing annual growth rates as high as 92% per year. From a sustainability standpoint, this trend appears promising, given that cloud infrastructure generally exhibits greater energy efficiency compared to conventional data centers.
Understanding the urgency of adopting environmentally-friendly cloud computing becomes clearer when we examine some key statistics. The energy required to operate data centers approximately doubles every four years. In an optimistic scenario, the ICT industry is expected to consume around 8% of the total electricity demand by 2030, marking a fifteen-fold increase from the levels in 2010. Moreover, concerning global greenhouse gas emissions (referred to as carbon emissions), the ICT sector has consistently contributed 2–6% since 2007, putting it on par with the aviation industry.
The positive aspect to highlight is that despite the rapid expansion of ICT and widespread cloud adoption, there has been a relatively stable pattern in energy consumption and carbon emissions. This stability can be attributed to substantial efficiency improvements realized through the deployment of hyperscale data centers by major public cloud providers. However, this represents just one facet of the issue. Cloud services and data centers are progressively occupying a larger share of the ICT industry’s carbon emissions footprint. To align with the objectives set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement, the industry must work towards a 45% reduction in carbon emissions over the next decade. Thus, while noteworthy strides have been made in cloud efficiency, there remains a substantial journey ahead in the pursuit of sustainability goals.
What is Green cloud computing?
Green cloud computing involves designing, producing, and using digital spaces in a manner to reduce its impact on the environment. A green cloud solution can not only save energy but significantly reduce enterprise operational costs. Therefore, it is central to the future of enterprise cloud computing.
Green cloud computing allows users to utilize the benefits of cloud storage while decreasing its adverse effects on the environment, ultimately affecting human well-being. It includes the following practices:
What is Green cloud?
Green cloud is a buzzword that refers to the potential environmental benefits that information technology (IT) services delivered over the Internet can offer society. The term combines the words green — meaning environmentally friendly — and cloud, the traditional symbol for the Internet and the shortened name for a type of service delivery model known as cloud computing.
Cloud computing has become an essential infrastructural demand for a modern organization for several reasons covering scalability, security, and cost-effectiveness features. However, this ever-growing demand has also resulted in elevated energy consumption levels, which has ultimately bolded the environment’s carbon footprint. As more and more data centers are added to the organizational realms, they’ll require thousands of servers and other necessary materials to enable its full-fledged operation.
What is Green Computing?
Green Computing is the term used to donate efficient use of resources in computing. It is also known as Green IT. Green Computing is “Where organizations adopt a policy of ensuring that the setup and operations of Information Technology produces the minimal carbon footprint”. Green Cloud is “the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, using and disposing of computers, servers and associated subsystems .
Key issues are energy efficiency in computing and promoting environmentally friendly computer technologies. https://www.your-itdepartment.co.uk/it-consultancy/However, IT consultancy services are invaluable for companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint through green computing. Consulting firms help organizations assess their current setup and recommend suitable strategies for reducing energy consumption and using renewable sources of energy. They can also advise on the best practices for setting up a green computing infrastructure, from hardware selection to data centre design and optimization. Not only can this save costs, but it will also create an eco-friendly environment for all stakeholders. This ensures that the energy efficiency problem is solved.
What is Green data center?
A green data center, or sustainable data center, is a service facility which utilizes energy-efficient technologies. They do not contain obsolete systems (such as inactive or underused servers), and take advantage of newer, more efficient technologies. Green data centers used advanced technologies for data storage, management, and operations on the data.
Goals of Green Computing:
The goals of green computing are similar to green chemistry; reduce the use of hazardous materials, maximize energy efficiency during the product’s lifetime, and promote the recyclability or biodegradability of defunct products and factory waste. Research continues into key areas such as making the use of computers as energy-efficient as possible, and designing algorithms and systems for efficiency-related computer technologies.
There are several approaches to green computing, namely
- Product longetivity
- Algorithmic efficiency
- Resource allocation
- Power management etc.
The Benefits of Going Green Cloud computing
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.).
1. Save money by reducing costs.
The more efficient your utilization of cloud resources, the lower your expenditure will be. Back in 2018, Gartner made an estimation that organizations failing to optimize their public cloud usage could witness a 40% increase in spending by 2020. We’ve observed this phenomenon firsthand.
2. Meet sustainability goals by reducing your carbon footprint
Minimizing your server count translates into energy savings and a reduction in carbon emissions. Furthermore, transitioning to cloud providers and services powered by renewable energy sources further diminishes your carbon footprint. Notable companies like Spotify and SiteGround have made the shift to the carbon-neutral Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in recent years as a strategic move to reduce their environmental impact. On a similar note, global retailer Forever New incorporates the use of containers and virtualization into its cloud strategy, resulting in decreased power consumption and a reduced carbon footprint. MapBox, on the other hand, strategically aligns its use of AWS regions with those powered by renewable energy to attain its carbon-neutral objectives.
3. Improve customer experiences with faster, more responsive applications.
Enhancing application performance through techniques such as caching, optimizing image sizes, and minimizing data transfers significantly accelerates page loading times, thereby enhancing the overall customer experience across your digital platforms. Similarly, for internal applications, these optimizations can boost employee efficiency by reducing task completion times. Moreover, these efficiency improvements translate to reduced data transfer volumes and shorter data travel. Developers can enhance algorithm and query performance with tools like AWS CodeGuru, which provides insights into which lines of code consume the most resources and incur higher costs. Armed with this information, developers can delve into optimizations to enhance the efficiency of such code segments. distances, resulting in cost savings for your cloud infrastructure, decreased energy consumption, and a reduced carbon footprint.
4. Speed up development times by improving developer efficiency.
Optimizing build pipelines and code so that it is faster and more efficient — such as by reducing unnecessary dependencies that consume extra storage or compute resources — helps to reduce costs, reduce energy usage and make your developers’ lives easier so that they can focus on delivering value.
5. Satisfy investors by disclosing carbon footprint information.
Over the past 10 years, sustainable investment funds of companies with good environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) practices have been shown to have superior long term stock performance to conventional funds. In 2020 investment firm Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, announced in its annual letter to CEOs that climate risk is financial investment risk and they will look at sustainability or ESG criteria for every investment. Thus more sustainable companies have greater access to capital when needed. Public companies are also facing increasing regulatory and compliance requirements.
6. Attract and retain talent with environmental initiatives.
Around 70% of employees said they were more likely to work at a company with a strong environmental agenda, and more likely to stay there long term. In recent years, especially within the tech sector, many employees have been actively demanding greater action from their companies on climate change.
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.
The four pillars of green cloud optimization
How can IT organizations promote a more environmentally friendly cloud strategy? While selecting the right cloud provider is a crucial aspect, it’s not the sole factor. Tech and IT organizations bear significant responsibility throughout the development lifecycle. It’s essential to recognize that your digital activities carry consequences: code + data = energy = carbon emissions.
The epitome of green cloud computing involves utilizing a data center powered by locally sourced renewable energy and operating software infrastructure meticulously designed and optimized to minimize both energy usage and associated costs.
1. Energy source
This entails the utilization of cloud infrastructure fueled by renewable energy sources instead of relying on fossil fuels. Alternatively, Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) can be employed to offset fossil fuel emissions by aligning each “dirty” megawatt of electricity consumed by a data center or customer with a corresponding “clean” megawatt represented by an REC. Furthermore, ongoing efforts are directed towards establishing data centers that directly operate on wind and solar power, incorporating substantial battery storage capabilities. Additionally, there is progress in developing Pausable Data Centers that strategically adjust workload scheduling based on daily weather patterns, optimizing energy efficiency.
2. Energy efficiency
Efficient cloud infrastructure is characterized by its high energy efficiency, often quantified using PUE (power usage effectiveness). Achieving this efficiency usually involves innovative cooling methods. For instance, Microsoft has submerged certain data centers underwater, while Google employs water-cooled data centers, which consume less energy compared to conventional air conditioning systems. Vigilant, on the other hand, offers intelligent AI-driven cooling solutions that adapt to server workloads and the associated heat generation within the facility, optimizing energy consumption.
3. Number and size of servers.
Servers are what physically consume energy; by reducing the number of servers you use, you reduce your carbon footprint. Organizations can optimize the performance of their applications and reduce unnecessary storage, but it will still have the same cost and energy usage unless they also reduce the number or size of servers on which their tech estate is running.
4. Number and size of requests.
Cloud services generate substantial network traffic due to the constant exchange of requests and responses. While platforms like Netflix or YouTube cannot solely dictate how many hours of video users consume, the transition towards a sustainable economy underscores the importance of factoring in end users’ energy consumption associated with digital products. This consideration becomes crucial in addressing “Scope 3” emissions as part of an organization’s carbon reduction objectives.
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.
Impact of green cloud on the environment
- Minimized carbon footprint
- Low power consumption
- Lower costs
- Fast updates
What does green computing mean?
Green computing is the environmentally responsible and eco-friendly use of computers and their resources.
What is green computing examples?
Examples include: Purchasing from Environmentally Committed Companies. Participating in Electronic Recycling Programs. Deploying Virtual Technologies. Limiting Printing and Recycling Paper.
Where is green computing used?
By green computing or green IT, we also mean research aimed at reducing the environmental impact of IT equipment: personal computers and servers, scanners, printers, smartphones and external peripherals.
What techniques and green cloud technologies are involved in green computing?
The six most common forms are as follows:
- Solar Power. This common type of renewable energy is usually produced using photovoltaic cells that capture sunlight and turn it into electricity.
- Wind Power.
- Geothermal Energy.
What are the key terms in green computing?
Learn about the many different terms, concepts and technologies used in the green computing movement.
- Biodiesel. Biodiesel is non-petroleum-based diesel fuel derived from vegetable or animal fats.
- cap-and-trade system.
- carbon footprint.
- carbon neutral.
- carbon offset.
- clean computing.
Why do we use green computing?
The importance of green computing
The key mission of green computing is to reduce energy consumption. This not only cuts energy costs for organizations, but it also reduces the carbon footprint, particularly of IT assets. The environmental impact of IT components is important in the study of data center design.
Who invented green computing?
The term Green computing came into existence with the launch of Energy Star program in 1992 by U.S environmental protection agency. It aims towards electricity saving and less amount of heat generated by the computers
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