Learn the Environmental and Cost Benefits of Green Cloud Computing

Green cloud computing is the practice of moving to cloud infrastructures where datacenters utilize resources more efficiently and have lower carbon footprints. In the EU, the European Commission is taking extensive measures that compel datacenters to adopt energy-efficient cloud computing practices, intending to be carbon-neutral by 2030.

Datacenters operated by large public cloud providers like Microsoft Azure, which are already capable of cutting emissions by 98% compared to on-premises datacenters, can help businesses reduce their carbon footprints and minimize costs.

“One of the most important ways a business can ‘go green’, is by reducing their energy consumption. Overall, the IT sector accounted for 5-15% of global energy consumption in 2020, which makes it a major target area for green initiatives to focus on. IT is still a rapidly growing sector, and IT related energy demands are expected to nearly double by 2030.”

Prashant Ketkar, Chief Technology and Product Officer, Corel

Green Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a group of services, including servers, storage, databases, networking, etc., delivered over the internet, a.k.a. the cloud. It enables businesses that avail themselves of these services to achieve agility, scalability, reliability, and increased speed, productivity, and performance.

Cloud computing can be implemented through:

While all three types of cloud computing can theoretically achieve green cloud computing, it’s in large public clouds where greater energy consumption and carbon footprint reductions can be made. That’s because big providers like Microsoft can take advantage of larger economies of scale to reach higher IT operational, IT equipment, and datacenter infrastructure efficiencies and purchase more considerable amounts of renewable electricity.

Objectives of Green Cloud Computing

Green cloud computing is adopted typically to achieve the following goals:

Top 4 Environmental Benefits of Green Cloud Computing

When you run your workloads in the cloud instead of a traditional on-premises datacenter, several things can happen that can benefit the environment. Here are four of them.

1. Reduced Energy Consumption

An on-premises datacenter consumes a lot of energy. That energy is used for powering physical servers, storage systems, network devices, cooling systems, etc. While cloud environments also have these components (which need to be powered up), they’re more energy-efficient. This is due to the extensive use of:

2. Decreased Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

Throughout their lifecycle—from production, assembly, transport, operation, all the way to disposal—the components that make up a datacenter (e.g., physical servers, network devices, cooling systems) produce GHG. Because the equivalent components in cloud environments are more efficient, the total GHG emitted is substantially reduced.

3. Dematerialization

Dematerialization is the practice of substituting physical products with virtual equivalents. For example, replacing a physical server with a virtual server or a DVD player with a cloud-based video streaming service. This not only reduces an organization’s overall carbon footprint but also reduces its volume of e-waste eventually (e.g., when the physical devices reach EOL).

4. Use of Renewable Energy Sources

Large cloud providers such as Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud make it a point to purchase large amounts of renewable energy, either indirectly through energy certificates or directly from a power supplier that generates electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar farms. More importantly, most of them aim to source 100% of their electricity from renewable sources in the near future.

Top 4 Economic Benefits of Green Cloud Computing

Cloud environments, especially public clouds, provide several environmental benefits, and it also has economic benefits. Here are some cost-reduction benefits of moving to the cloud:

1. Remove the Burden From IT

When you move your workloads to the cloud, a large portion of IT operations is outsourced to the cloud provider, e.g., deployment and administration of hardware, hypervisor management, some areas of security, and so on. This will free up time for members of your IT team so that they can redirect their efforts from “firefighting” issues to building business-enabling solutions.

2. Decrease Costs in Infrastructure

Since the cloud provider takes charge of the underlying hardware and other components of the datacenter (cooling systems, floor space, CCTV cameras, the building itself, etc.), your business can avoid the huge capital outlay required to build a datacenter.

3. Facilitate Remote Working and Collaboration

Cloud computing enables employees to access business applications and data anytime, anywhere, whether they’re waiting for their flight at the airport, riding a train, or staying at home. This remote-work enabling capability, in turn, allows organizations to reduce office space and onsite equipment, furniture, supplies, and their associated costs.

4. Increase Availability of Resources

Large cloud service providers have built highly available (HA) IT infrastructures, often consisting of multiple datacenters that can withstand disruptive events that would typically cause lengthy downtimes. Building an on-premises data center with equal HA capabilities would be impractical or even unattainable for most businesses.

Parallels RAS: A Green Cloud Computing Solution that Benefits You and the Planet!

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS), the all-in-one virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution from Parallels, is fully capable of helping you embrace green cloud computing principles. Parallels RAS fully supports public clouds such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform. For organizations that prefer to run some of their workloads on public clouds and some on-premises, they can take advantage of the hybrid cloud deployment capabilities of Parallels RAS as well.

Parallels RAS itself leverages virtualization technology, a key ingredient in green cloud computing. Also, since Parallels RAS-delivered applications and desktops run in a central location (typically an on-premises datacenter, public cloud, or hyperconverged infrastructure), it allows you to repurpose or reuse existing and even aging endpoint devices—one of the tenets of green tech principles.

Reinforce your green cloud computing initiatives with a VDI solution that’s friendly to the environment.

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