What are the cloud providers doing to rely less on the dirty energy and steps they have taken to power data centers with cleaner energy to support the pledge to make computing green?
Fremont, CA: Is green computing really on the agendas of cloud providers like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google? And if it is on the priorities, how much do these conglomerates focus on it? As the data center market continues to flourish, Green computing is establishing itself in the economy and the environment.
The public cloud has offered enterprises a boost in terms of scalability and flexibility when compared to the on-premise infrastructures. Crucial benefits which are often touted by the major cloud providers in those organizations will become more responsible in concern with carbon footprint and environment protection when moving to a cloud. But, is it really true?
For instance, Northern Virginia is renowned as the east coast's capital of data centers, where the "Data Center Alley" is located. It is the home to more than 100 data centers covering approximately 10 million square feet of area. Northern Virginia opened itself to the data center market mainly due to its positive economic impact from the move. But as the demand for cloud services skyrocketed, the expansion of data centers increased dramatically. The cloud booming in Northern Virginia alone has touched over 4.5 gigawatts in commissioned energy, accounting to the same power output necessary for large nine 500 megawatt coal power plants.
Several environmental groups like Greenpeace have protested against major cloud providers for not doing enough to protect the environment from the negative impact of data centers. According to these environmental groups, the cloud providers are relying on commissioned energy from energy companies that are generating dirty energy (coal and natural gas). Negligible numbers of initiatives are taken to replace renewable energy in place of dirty energy. These claims from the environmental protection groups have brought energy companies to the spotlight for questioning why the major companies have not taken any critical steps towards cleaner processes. What are the cloud providers are doing to rely less on the dirty energy and actions they have taken to power data centers with cleaner energy to support the pledge to make computing green.
The Environmental Argument
Despite the promises cloud providers have committed towards renewable energy, cloud services have continued to grow beyond these norms, and the energy needed to operate data centers is still very much dependent on the dirty energy.
Breakthroughs in cloud sustainability are taking place each day, providing a much-enhanced infrastructure for the cloud, high-performance servers, and also a reduction in the rate of carbon emissions with free access to renewable energy resources like wind and solar power.
However, many have pointed out that the time might be against the pace of development. Still, the cloud providers are determined to improve the commitments that assist the growth of data centers in a way that the benefit ultimately reaches to the environment.
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