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4 ways moving to cloud reduces the IT energy footprint

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By Aredis S. Oliveira

Energy consumption in information technology (IT) services seems to always increase. Many individuals, governments and organizations are working to find  ways to reduce energy demand in a smarter way, encouraging new ideas for using existing and new IT resources. One way to accomplish this is through cloud computing.

When you think about reducing your environmental impact, you might consider carpooling to save gas and reduce the amount of emissions. Passengers who participate in a carpool can still take their own car when necessary.

Cloud services, where client systems are hosted in a shared infrastructure, are a similar concept. Each client system still has its own available resources when needed, but otherwise can share.

Here are a few ways that moving to the cloud can help reduce the energy burden of IT services.

1. Optimizing hardware resources

Traditional data center server utilization rates are typically very low. Virtualization can allow a single system to support multiple applications or images, improving use of IT equipment capabilities and executing more workloads in less space with less energy.

Cloud is a dynamic way to quickly provision resources. With the capability of automatically turning on and off computers according to demands, cloud helps use hardware resources efficiently and intelligently.

2. Using energy efficiently

Cloud providers have invested in advanced hardware technology and replaced equipment to offer improved performance with reduced power consumption. For example, IBM POWER8 can provide up to twice per core performance when compared with the previous generation, consuming a similar quantity of energy.

Another example is cloud hierarchical storage management (storage tiering), which places data on the right hardware. This means data that is used less is stored on higher latency equipment. IBM FlashSystem and solid-state drives (SSDs) as storage systems are good options, as they use no spinning disks.

Cloud is great to consider when an organization has budget restrictions for refreshing older hardware.

3. Reducing costs

Cloud helps keep costs manageable with a pay-as-you-go structure, rather than a company deploying an entire additional system involving cabling peripherals, racks, increased energy consumption and more.

The Uptime Institute states that “decommissioning a single 1U rack server can result in $500 per year in energy savings, an additional $500 in operating system licenses and $1,500 in hardware maintenance costs.”

4. Reducing data center footprints

As technology has improved, so has data center design. In many cases, data centers designed several years ago can waste a lot of energy, have less efficient cooling systems and fail to adhere to more recent air quality regulations. Instead of a complete redesign or adding more space to address new demands, you could consider moving to cloud.

Cloud can help simplify IT by providing scalability, reducing provisioning time for a new system or application and enabling standardization.

The transformations driven by cloud go deeper than just an infrastructure level. Choosing cloud can help your organization run more smoothly and save on costs through efficient resource usage. Moving to cloud could also inspire others to do the same. This  decreases costs and simplifies IT for others, and contributes to reducing overall IT energy consumption.

Saving costs and simplifying IT with the added benefit of saving energy sounds great to me. For further reading, check out these posts by MaamarFerkoun and Sam Garforth.

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