The age of cloud computing is here with us. According to research, businesses will be spending an average of $160 billion on cloud computing by 2020, compared with the $25.5 billion that was seen in 2011. Many organizations continue to substitute their internal servers with cloud-based data storage, taking advantage of the many benefits it presents in the process.
Little, however, is spoken of the green attributes and efficiency of adopting cloud computing services, which is why the numbers are not as big as they should be. We’re looking to change this by providing reasons to employ data storage and management ‘as-a-Service’, more so with the revelation of the true efficiency and power usage of such shared data centers.
Cloud computing services address the two main aspects required of a green IT system: efficiency of resource utilization and energy efficiency. Private, as well as public, cloud computing gives a greener alternative to in-house server systems for these reasons:
1. Virtualization of resources
Virtualization is a rudimentary technology used in the deployment of cloud-based infrastructure. It allows one physical server to be able to run two or more operating system images simultaneously. By enabling this consolidation, virtualization of servers will lessen the footprint from physical servers, inherently contributing to the green initiative.
Considering resource efficiency, you’ll need fewer physical servers and other workloads to support equivalent workloads, actively reducing e-wastage and the actual data center space. Considering energy efficiency, less equipment will consume less manpower and electricity to manage.
2. Automation software
Virtualization in and of itself is not sufficient to fully maximize resource and energy efficiency. Cloud-based technology relies on automation software in order to provide for, move and accordingly scale clients’ workloads within their shared data centers.
When combined with the right skills as well as recommended architectural and operational standards, automation software enables the remote database administrator experts and other IT professionals to maximally utilize their cloud infrastructure. This maximizes returns for investments made and pushes the limits previously achieved by the conventional consolidation-utilizations ratios.
3. Self-service and pay-per-use schemes
As with all pay-per-use schemes, users of cloud computing services are actively encouraged to only utilize what they need and no more and they only pay for what they use. Including self-service in the package causes an improvement in the life-cycle management – the users register the amount of resources needed for the time they are needed, relinquishing control when they are no longer needed in order to benefit other users who now need the extra capacity.
Together, the two techniques of management improve utility and efficiency of both resources and energy.
A multi-tenant setting allows many different businesses in a public cloud or many business units in a private cloud to use the same cloud-based infrastructure for their data loads.
In time, and with examination and optimization of demand patterns of the various units/businesses utilizing the cloud infrastructure, the peak and trough ratios will reduce. When used together with the right automation, the need for additional infrastructure will also be drastically reduced.
This system also allows businesses within the system to benefit from economies of scale, and of course contributes to more efficient use of resources, and eventually, energy.