October 07, 2011, 1:47 PM — Does cloud computing actually save energy? Would moving some of your data center workload to the cloud reduce your greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? A survey held at an event I recently attended indicated that most CIOs and other senior IT people doubted it.
Based on this survey -- admittedly an unscientific one -- the industry has a big challenge ahead to convince the market of cloud computing's energy benefits.
What's the reality? Does the cloud save energy or not? What about the GHG impact? Well, as Mark Zuckerberg likes to say, it's complicated. The benefits include greater efficiencies, a lower PUE, and more consistent hardware utilization; but you should give serious consideration to the limitations of measurement, power sourcing, and embodied energy.
If you're not careful, you could even generate more GHG, or at least appear to.
Read on for GHG benefits and caveats...