Ways in which cloud computing helps with sustainability

There is a general agreement that digital transformation is both innovative and disruptive. Just like most things in life, digital transformation has two sides of the coin. On one side, intelligent solutions are changing life positively making it easier, and at the same time giving solutions that support environmental conservation. On the other side, digital transformation requires energy most of which is coming from fossil fuels, leading to increased global carbon emission.

Conventional estimates have it that digital technology is responsible for four per cent (4%) of global carbon emission and this proportion is expected to increase given the phenomenal rise in demand for digital technology. To counter this rise, the solution lies in using the same technology to deliver sustainable solutions. The need for incorporating environmentally friendly information technology practices such as cloud computing has never been so necessary and urgent. Cloud computing is the silver lining or should it be referred to as the green lining. In this line, businesses need a paradigm shift in their internal structures to achieve sustainability goals and cloud computing can play a great role towards this end. So how is cloud computing helping businesses towards sustainability?

Reduction of energy consumption

Microsoft and WSP USA study showed that cloud computing delivers 93 % energy efficiency and 98% lower carbon emission compared to on-premises data centres. Accenture Strategy report indicates that migrations to the public cloud reduce carbon emission by 59 million tons a year an equivalent of removing 22 million cars off the road. In line with these findings, cloud computing is providing businesses with an opportunity to reduce energy needs. A recent study by Northwestern University reveals that transitioning to the cloud cuts energy use to 87%. Businesses are encouraged to switch to the public cloud and also adopt energy-saving technologies such as liquid immersion cooling, a technique that is known to offer efficiency and costs saving in data centres.

Use of renewable energy

Most of the data centres are using renewable power from sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal. These are sources that have little or no greenhouse gases emission. With such, the cloud data centres are helping businesses achieve a clean environment and overall sustainability goals.

Data dematerialisation

Migrating to the cloud means the replacement of machines that are mostly carbon-emitting to virtual equivalents. Talk of installation of virtual services such as live streams as opposed to heavy hardware that offers a similar experience. The heavy hardware uses a lot of energy as compared to the seamless virtual tools. With such replacements, a business will have significantly reduced its carbon footprint. Getting rid of physical hardware and replacing it with virtual services ensures dematerialisation, ultimately reducing cost, wastage, effort, and the environmental impact associated with such tools. Even when it comes to resource allocation, businesses will perform better, becoming more operationally efficient.

Embracing cloud computing and utilisation of technology that lead to great savings in energy and material consumption will ensure that business meets their sustainability goals.

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