In our connected world, building the infrastructure to connect users and devices is a necessity. Every transaction you make on the internet (from a simple search to a purchase) eventually finds its way to a wired connection. A connection handled by a server that uses electricity and sits in a room requires lots of energy just to keep cool. Given that, it would seem that our connected world may be at odds with goals of sustainability, because of the amount of energy that this equipment requires to operate. But recent studies show that just isn’t true.
In fact, through the use of cloud technology, it is possible to enjoy a connected world with all its benefits, while still reducing our environmental impacts. According to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Cloud computing is an economic winner that also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The study estimates that carbon emissions for large U.S. businesses can be reduced by almost 86 million metric tons by 2020 through investments in the cloud. That’s the same amount of emissions from burning 200 million barrels of oil.
In addition, CDP indicates cloud computing can:
- Help users avoid costly up-front capital investments in infrastructure
- Improve time-to-market as a new server can be created or brought online in minutes
- Provide greater flexibility as clouds allow firms to pay for excess capacity only when they need it
- Avoid the continual maintenance of excess capacity needed to handle spikes
- Improve automation that helps drive process efficiencies
For the end user, the cloud provides the almost-magical ability to store information and access computing somewhere else, but it’s really a dynamic combination of wireless connections, wired connections, and distributed computing capacity. The ability to move this functionality to a mobile device is predicted to drive its use through the roof. In fact, over 80% of firms expect to be using a cloud-like model within 5 years.
Now, that’s a packed cloud, chock full of abilities not only to enable wired and mobile needs, but also to support goals to reduce carbon emissions. That’s the kind of cloud I want to see in my future.