Growing energy efficiency demands are making it vital for businesses to evolve their working practices. To ensure a more sustainable tomorrow, companies need to transform all IT operations by using green materials, renewable energy, recycled equipment and smarter, more efficient operating techniques like putting servers on standby mode. Cloud computing is increasingly proving key to helping businesses achieve net-zero goals and drive responsible business growth. So, what’s the current relationship between cloud computing and the environment? What sustainability benefits can cloud computing bring? How can businesses make the most of the energy efficiency associated with cloud computing? 

Impact of cloud computing on the environment

Cloud computing can have a positive impact on the environment as it promotes a set of beneficial practices that reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. According to Microsoft Corporation and WSP Global Inc., cloud computing is 93% more energy-efficient than on-premises data centres, as fewer resources are required and less waste is produced. Cloud computing optimises the use of hardware and software by reducing energy consumption and carbon footprints, lessening the environmental impact of cloud infrastructures. 

Businesses use cloud computing in data centres to maximise energy efficiencies during the entire IT lifecycle. It also promotes adopting practices that facilitate the recycling and reuse of e-waste

When talking about how cloud computing affects the environment, we can view it through two different lenses: 

Hardware: This is where data centre cloud infrastructures use energy-efficient hardware, such as servers with power-saving features, green network appliances, and smart storage devices. The hardware perspective also encompasses power supply units, cooling equipment, and the actual building in which these tools are found. 

Software engineering methodologies: This involves designing and developing software systems that enhance energy efficiency and resource usage. An example of this approach is writing code that reduces carbon emissions by minimising the number of CPU cycles needed to perform a particular task.

The sustainability benefits of cloud computing

The advantages of cloud computing for businesses are well known, but how does cloud computing affect the environment from an energy-efficiency angle?

  • Less hardware

Cloud migration lightens the load on businesses. Instead of using their own hardware to power software and applications, they can offload their computing needs to cloud providers who are experienced in leveraging infrastructure efficiently and at scale. Businesses can then achieve their IT goals while using less hardware, leading to cost savings and reduced energy consumption. 

  • High density storage

High carbon equipment is needed to power servers around the clock. Without cloud computing, individual companies would be creating enormous energy consumption and vast GHG emissions on a daily basis. But with access to dense network and cloud ecosystems all in one place, you can run large workloads and store masses of data with less physical hardware. 

  • Increased resource use efficiency

Through virtualisation technology, cloud providers can consolidate multiple applications onto fewer physical servers. This lets them reduce the amount of energy needed to power and cool these servers, which helps businesses to minimise their own carbon footprints. Efficient resource use also comes with cost benefits, as more flexible allocation allows businesses to only pay for what they use. 

  • Optimal performance 

The best data centres are designed to be as energy-efficient and sustainable as possible. By adopting environmentally friendly practices and technologies, operators can cool their data centres more efficiently, better manage e-waste, and improve resource utilisation. This extra agility helps to speed up applications and boosts productivity under heavy loads. 

  • Decreased carbon emissions

Current targets require global carbon emissions to halve by 2030 and to reach net-zero by 2050. Cloud computing can help make these targets a reality. How? Through dematerialisation – the process of replacing physical IT components with virtual ones to shrink energy consumption and GHG emissions. 

  • Multi-tenancy benefits

Sharing multi-tenancy environments is much more sustainable than going it alone. When multiple users leverage the same cloud-based infrastructure, less energy is consumed because the resources are being used more efficiently. This helps to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the data centre and the businesses within it. 

  • Boosts remote work culture

Cloud computing is perfect for remote and hybrid work. It provides energy-efficient, flexible, and scalable IT resources that can be easily accessed from anywhere. This helps to reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion as remote workers have less need to commute. Cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools can also be accessed from anywhere, helping to seamlessly connect remote workers.  

  • Scalability and growth

Cloud computing allows organisations to scale up and down IT resource as their needs change, which means they can respond quickly to changing computing power or bandwidth demands, impacting the environment less than scaling up an on-premises infrastructure would. The right cloud data centre partner like Telehouse can support your growth without expensive changes to existing system, helping to accelerate digital transformation strategies. 

Choosing a more sustainable cloud computing provider 

So, we’ve looked at the relationship between cloud computing and the environment and the benefits of cloud computing from a sustainability and energy efficiency angle – but how should businesses embark on their sustainable cloud migration?

First, businesses need to choose the right cloud computing provider. This involves carefully considering their unique requirements and sustainability goals. Current and future needs can then be weighed up against factors such as connectivity, location, uptime level, security, and resilience. 

For over 3,000 companies, Telehouse meets and exceeds all these requirements. Our highly connected, ISO 14001-certified data centre in the heart of London’s Docklands is Europe’s most diverse ecosystem of leading carriers and cloud service providers. Telehouse is helping its customers meet ambitious net-zero targets by driving operational efficiencies and enabling cloud migration, future-proofing IT infrastructures for a more sustainable tomorrow.

Businesses that choose our data centre cloud connections enjoy the benefits of cloud computing alongside guaranteed uptime and scalable, secure, and reliable cloud infrastructure. This helps them to reduce their carbon footprint and make strides towards their overall sustainability goals.

Download our Shape your Tomorrow eBook to discover how IT infrastructures are evolving to meet future business and environmental challenges.  

Our experts are always available to help you find the perfect solution, get in touch with us at: T: +44 (0) 20 7512 0550 E: [email protected]

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