The Cloud will “…reduce the energy use and carbon footprint of computing by up to 90 percent!”March 8, 2011
In the rush to hype Cloud Computing many dramatically over simplify the energy movement and over state the economies of scale. A recent report by Accenture and WSP makes a very bold claim about the reduction of carbon footprint and energy use.
Cloudy Math: 75 Physical Servers minus 3 physical servers equals 90%
I am deeply suspicious when I read claims of a 90% reduction in anything. I don’t dispute that employing utility infrastructure either as a cloud or even a multi-tenancy environment will provide opportunities for energy efficiencies that are greater than what an average mid-sized enterprise with 75 servers can experience in-house. But does the 90% reduction from the report stand-up to even superficial scrutiny?
A mid-sized Info-Tech customer adopting a SaaS offering for Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Sharepoint and, Microsoft Dymanics removed four servers from their existing in-house infrastructure. The overall impact on energy usage for this customer is less than 1%. Because this is really shifting of energy use to somebody else, the 1% reduction becomes even less when considering the energy and carbon foot required to operate the services regardless of how efficient the provider is.
For the mid-sized customer a cloud deployment does promise lower operating costs and zero hardware investment. The promise is quite real, but the current reality is that the cloud is not a significant GreenIT win.
If it ain’t Green, what is it?
Using “the Cloud” instead of onsite servers and storage is an infrastructure service rental decision. A cloud is not a product. For the enterprises that are evaluating, or have deployed cloud there are real benefits.
- Cloud-based services have significantly lower capital cost barriers to deployment than deployment scenarios involving in-house infrastructure.
- The on-demand nature of cloud infrastructure means that, in addition to solutions being deployed more cheaply, they are also deployed faster.
The bottom line is Info-Tech customers confirm that energy efficiency is a desirable side-benefit and not a primary driver for cloud adoption. For most organizations cloud adoption plans is about saving “green”, not being Green.This entry was posted in Analyst's Angle, Infrastructure and tagged cloud, cloud-computing, data-center, green, GreenIT. Bookmark the permalink.