We can already see that the cloud increases productivity in the workplace and it speeds up communication. However in the green world, there has been much debate over how environmentally friendly the cloud is. With more and more businesses using the cloud, the environmentalists have been probing these companies to check whether or not this new technology is eco-friendly. As always, this debate has two sides but I would like to use this blog to explain how cloud computing is definitely a green technology, especially in comparison to other IT products.
Recently,eco specialists are arguing that cloud computing is as much of a danger to the environment as any other computer product.The big name in the debate is Green Peace who has produced a report analysing what the cloud does and how clean it is. The report showed that some big names in cloud computing are not doing their best to reduce their carbon footprint such as twitter and Apple. On the other hand, companies such as Facebook, Dell and Google are leading the way in the use of renewable energy sources within IT and have been commended by Green Peace for proactively choosing a renewable source of electricity. However, the key concern about cloud computing for environmentalists is that the data centres, which operate the cloud, are powered by a vast amount of electricity and most IT companies have not yet jumped on the renewable energy bandwagon.
Acknowledging the environmentalist’s research into cloud computing, the technology nevertheless has many clear advantages that must not be overlooked. Online companies actually reduce most of their physical resources such as printing paper, extra travelling and office space. Furthermore online shopping had meant that retail outlets are becoming redundant and therefore fewer shopping centres will need to be built. According to IT experts with a keen interest in the energy efficiency, the cloud data centres, while still using a good share of electricity, the regular IT systems use a considerable larger portion. The promotion of renewable sources of electricity is a campaign that needs to be promoted across the entire IT industry.
So why exactly is cloud computing is green?
1) Less office space required as all files are stored in the cloud.
2) Less travelling required because of telecommuting, online conferences and online training; therefore fewer carbon emissions are produced.
3) Fewer new buildings required for offices, shops and banks as all of these industries are mainly operating from the internet.
4) Reduction in paper use because of online documents being shared in the cloud; therefore fewer trees are being cut down.
The question that remains: Could the cloud be cleaner?
What are your thoughts?