The hidden benefit of cloud computing

With increasing focus around the world on decreasing our carbon footprint, one unrealised benefit is that cloud computing is environmentally friendly.

Now you might be wondering how, but if you think about it, using cloud infrastructures reduces the need for a great many things.  For example, hardware requirements are lessened.  In other words, businesses and organisations don’t require rooms full of servers.

In turn, I think you will agree that with reduced reliance on hardware, this inevitably reduces the amount of energy needed to run the in-house system, which, therefore, reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

Now, for most business people reduction in costs is probably higher on the list of priorities than being green.  However, by switching to using, say, Google Apps rather than using applications stored on lots of individual computers, a business can conceivably reduce its energy bills at the same time.

What’s more, by making use of eco-buttons attached to laptops or desktops with a USB port, the reduction in energy consumption, and by inference the carbon footprint, must be something that should persuade a business to switch.

That said, while on the surface it is important to think about personal carbon footprints, I also think before switching to a cloud provider a business – small or large – should actually take the time to investigate how environmentally switched-on the provider is.

In other words, it is pointless going to all the effort of reducing your own carbon footprint only to find a provider is not doing its bit.

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