Microsoft has claimed that the use of cloud computing technology can reduce the carbon emissions by 30 per cent.
According to a recent study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by solution provider Accenture and WSP Environment and Energy, businesses that run applications in the cloud can reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by about 30 percent or more compared to running those same applications on their own on-premise infrastructure.
James Harris, Accenture’s director of cloud services, said “The study’s findings confirm what many organisations have already discovered : Cloud computing is more economical and IT resources are used more efficiently when business applications run in a shared environment.”
Australian research contradicts Microsoft
Interestingly, it contradicts claims made by Greenpeace and a group of Australian researchers who had said that cloud computing does more harm to the environment.
The study conducted by Accenture took into account the carbon footprints of server, networking and storage infrastructures deployed in three different types of organization sizes – 100 users, 1,000 users and 10,000 users.
When a 100 user organization moved to the cloud, the effective carbon footprint reduction was up to 90 percent because of a shared cloud environment and no local servers.
Meanwhile, companies with 1,000 users had savings ranging from 60 percent to 90 percent. And large companies, had savings that was typically around 30 percent to 60 percent on energy consumption and carbon emissions for cloud applications. Microsoft cited one large consumer goods company that reduced carbon emissions by 32 percent by moving 50,000 email users in North America and Europe to the cloud.
Using their own data centers as an example, Microsoft said large data centers benefit from economies of scale and operational efficiencies beyond what enterprise IT departments can achieve. And when it comes to small businesses moving to the cloud, the research revealed that net energy and carbon savings can sometimes hit more than 90 percent.
Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist, Microsoft, said the increased productivity, reduced costs and lower management overhead of cloud computing and cloud products, now coupled with the environmental benefits, illustrate the true value of the cloud.
“The cloud has the ability to deliver business value for customers in an age where corporate responsibility is critical to business success,” Bernard said.
The study focused on three Microsoft apps for e-mail, content sharing and CRM and found that the cloud version of those applications can significantly reduce carbon emissions. And, while the research was conducted using Microsoft apps, the software giant added that “similar advantages can be observed across many applications and cloud service providers.”
According to the study, cloud computing enables reductions in energy use and carbon emissions by introducing dynamic provisioning, multi-tenancy, increase server utilization and data center efficiency.