Discover How Green Cloud Computing Can Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

Traditionally, organizations have leveraged cloud computing to unlock cost-effectiveness, agility, and security benefits. However, sustainability is becoming increasingly essential, hence the increasing popularity of green cloud computing. Given how pervasive the internet has become, today’s datacenters consume an estimated 200 terawatt hour (TWh) each year. This is more than the total national electricity consumption in some countries.

The information and communications technology (ICT) sector accounts for between 2% and 6% of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This puts the ICT’s GHG emissions on par with that of the aviation industry. For now, these figures have remained largely the same due to significant efficiency gains arising from the use of hyperscale datacenters by major public cloud vendors.

However, companies must do more to reduce carbon footprint by 45%, as set by the Paris Agreement. This post delves deeper to provide you with insights on how to migrate to green cloud computing.

Definition of Green Cloud Computing

Green cloud computing is a term that denotes the environmental benefits that an organization derives by switching its on-premises IT infrastructure to the cloud. It allows organizations to utilize different components related to energy consumption efficiently, such as computing devices, lighting energy, and cooling systems.

The primary goals of green cloud computing are threefold: maximizing energy efficiency during the computing device’s lifecycle, minimizing the use of hazardous materials, and promoting the biodegradability or recyclability of materials. There are two aspects to green cloud computing:

Benefits of Green Cloud Computing

Green cloud computing has numerous benefits such as:

Different Approaches to Migrating to Green Cloud Computing

Green cloud computing relies on processes that make datacenters more energy efficient. Companies can migrate to green cloud computing through virtualization or efficient power practices.

Virtualization

Many organizations deploy servers that run only at a fraction of their capacities, often because they want to dedicate such systems to a specific application. This is highly inefficient because it results in an excess capacity that doesn’t get consumed, leading to higher energy consumption and operating costs.

Virtualization creates an abstraction layer over the physical server, allowing IT administrators to generate multiple virtual machines (VMs). This enables the organization to run multiple VMs, operating systems (OSs), and applications on the same host—essentially partitioning the physical server into numerous virtual servers.

Consequently, this reduces the number of physical servers that an organization needs. Consolidating physical servers can minimize power consumption and cooling, potentially cutting energy bills by a huge amount.

Efficient power supply and power management practices

From the energy-efficiency perspective, organizations can achieve energy efficiencies in two ways: using clean energy and improving power efficiencies in datacenters. By using renewable energy, companies can reduce GHG emissions associated with compute-intensive workloads such as deep learning and grid-computing workloads.

Organizations can also attain energy efficiencies by leveraging green algorithms in their datacenters. For example, algorithm changes such as switching from a linear search algorithm to a hashed search algorithm can minimize resource consumption for a given task significantly, potentially reducing energy usage and carbon footprint.

Algorithms could also route traffic to datacenters that use renewable energy or where electricity is less expensive. When used, these algorithms not only reduce the amount of energy consumed but also minimize operating costs.

A cloud-first commitment with sustainability in mind means that all your applications and data reside only in clouds that have green computing methods. The steps below can help you transition easily to green cloud computing:

Four Key Characteristics of Green Cloud Computing

An efficient, green cloud has four main pillars, as summarized in the table below:

Pillar Controlled by Description
Energy source Cloud vendor It involves using cleaner energy sources such as solar and wind power rather than fossil fuels to power cloud infrastructures. Cloud providers can also use renewable energy credits (RECs) to achieve a sustainable environment. Companies could also leverage pausable datacenters that take advantage of weather patterns to shift workloads to different times of the day.
Energy efficiency Cloud vendor This involves using a cloud vendor that uses energy efficiently. Power usage effectiveness (PUE), which describes energy efficiency, computes how much electricity the datacenter consumes. Datacenters achieve energy efficiencies through innovative cooling techniques. For example, a cloud vendor can build its datacenters underground to enhance energy efficiency.
Number and size of servers IT organization Minimizing the number of physical servers that consume electricity can help the company reduce its carbon footprint significantly.
Number and size of requests IT organization Cloud-based applications generate substantial network traffic because of the user requests and server responses made. To minimize network traffic, you can optimize caching and reduce the volume of data that gets transmitted between clients and servers.

Shift to Cloud Computing with Parallels RAS

You may not be responsible for where your organization is headquartered or where your offices are situated. However, you’re likely responsible for selecting and managing technology that your organization and employees use—wherever they are located. And this means you’re better placed to make environmentally sustainable solutions for your company.

Parallels® has decades of experience in implementing virtualization solutions. Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS)—a premier virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution—allows organizations to publish virtual applications and desktops. Users, in turn, can access published resources on any device and from any location.

With Parallels RAS, organizations can transition to green cloud computing with ease because it provides multi-cloud support. It integrates seamlessly with Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), allowing companies to maximize the sustainability benefits of public clouds.

Parallels RAS also provides hybrid cloud support. This enables companies to run certain workloads in private clouds—whether due to operational challenges, security concerns, or compliance regulations—while leveraging the agility and scalability of public clouds for other workloads. With flexible cloud deployment models, Parallels RAS allows companies to migrate to green cloud computing with ease while building an elastic infrastructure using hypervisors, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) systems, and VDI solutions.

Transition to green cloud computing by downloading a free, 30-day Parallels RAS trial today!