Cloud computing: Greener IT considerations

Cloud computing: Greener IT considerations

Cloud computing opens up the sustainable IT discussion

Scalable, dynamic and process-oriented are all major selling points for cloud computing. But Data#3’s Pat Murphy also pointed out cloud solutions offered environmental benefits for customers around more efficient use of infrastructure and services.

“Certainly in the government sector, and those organisations with a strong corporate and social responsibility, green considerations are part of the criteria of a solution,” he said. “We are getting in situations where we’re calculating carbon offsets, and customers are asking for these evaluation criteria.” Although organisations turned inwards during the economic downturn, Murphy said green remained on the agenda.

“It’s a factor in considerations, whether it’s a private cloud, our cloud, or the global cloud,” he said. “It comes down to the customer not having a datacentre, or any infrastructure, and all those components like a big box and the energy it uses versus multiple boxes, cooling and so on.

“What has changed is we’re seeing that [green] as part of RFPs. It’s not going away, and I think it’s a good thing.”

AkurIT’s Steve Ferguson said one of its privately-owned and global customers also put greener IT usage at the top of the list because of government mandated regulations in Europe. By providing cloud-oriented solutions, both the integrator and customer could demonstrate commitment to environmental considerations, he said.

Cisco’s Dylan Morison called into question the impact of carbon trading, offsets and evaluations for customers using a third-party cloud solution, along with the cost of meeting tougher environmental guidelines.

“You’re not just getting rid of the datacentre – someone else is running a datacentre, infrastructure and services on their behalf,” he pointed out. But Murphy emphasised the fact that systems used to provide cloud computing were more highly leveraged.

According to BlueFire’s Jason Serda, carbon offset factors generated additional costs on datacentre facilities. As a result, more and more organisations were looking to get out of running their own datacentres and cloud was becoming an increasingly attractive option.

“They’d rather push that pain to someone else to some degree, which may come back to things like green responsibility,” he said. IDC’s Linus Lai also attributed the cloud shift to a property play.

“Take any datacentre that is maxxing out in capacity today: If they don’t make a decision today and delay for three years, space in three years’ time is going to be 70-80 per cent more costly than now,” he said.

Return to ARN's cloud computing roundtable here

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