Friday, October 28, 2011 4:37:28 PM
Recent studies have shown the effects of information technology on the environment, and while some have been disheartening, others have been promising. For example, one company recently reported that a research firm found the carbon footprint of spam emails, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, is the equivalent of driving around the world 2 million times annually.
However, promising figures of the potential reductions of IT-related greenhouse emissions through cloud computing adoption have recently added even more hype to the already burgeoning industry. Silicon Republic recently reported that a study from multiple technology firms and an environment consulting group revealed companies using cloud services for IT produced 30 percent less greenhouse emissions than others.
An additional study, the source notes, carried out by the Carbon Disclosure Project, found that the cost savings associated with the reduction of greenhouse emissions could be monumental for many companies. Overall, the CDP projects companies adopting cloud computing now will experience billions of dollars in energy savings by 2020.
"Finding providers and partners that can take some of your energy-using operations to scale, and manage them in a shared capacity, is good for both [a] business' carbon footprint and its bottom line," Andrew Winston, a sustainability and business expert, said in the CDP report, as cited by the Silicon Republic.
Executive chairman of CDP Paul Dickinson has similar enthusiasm toward the overhaul of ICT operations to the cloud.
"A large percentage of global GDP is reliant on ICT - this is a critical issue as we strive to decouple economic growth from emissions growth," Dickinson told the source. "The carbon emissions-reducing potential of cloud computing is a thrilling breakthrough, allowing companies to maximize performance, drive down costs, reduce inefficiency and minimize energy use -and therefore carbon emissions - all at the same time."
As more businesses adopt cloud computing services in place of older systems, these metrics are expected to grow exponentially. For example, while the cloud accounts for less than 5 percent of all enterprise email systems, Garter recently projected the service to account for 55 percent of total enterprise email seats by 2020.
Additionally, the International Data Corporation has high projections for the cloud industry. According to the analysis firm, the cloud is projected to grow from a $3.8 billion, 600,000 unit industry in 2010, to $6.4 billion and more than 1.3 million units in 2014.
-McAfee Cloud Security