We’ve said it before and we will again. Cloud computing is a saviour of sorts—and for more than just your bottom line and overtaxed systems. No, cloud computing has a larger calling than that. One might even say that cloud computing is poised to deliver the world to a finer place, one in which waste and excess are recalled as sins of a more reckless age. With this communal data-storage marvel, the carbon emissions that would otherwise be sent heavenward from a churning-away corporate entity can be slashed meaningfully, and the world thus scores a significant reduction to its reliance on carbon.
This news comes by way of the Carbon Disclosure Project, an AT&T-funded European study whose just-released results suggest that large companies in the UK and France who migrate their data to shared data networks in the cloud could cut their emissions by a full 50% by 2020.
The savings, quite simply, are a result of the decreased call for energy consumption of the new over the old. The cloud’s responsive flexibility means customers only use what they need, sidestepping the wastefulness and redundancy of yesteryear.
The study, which focused its attention on large IT companies in Great Britain and France, found that big UK organizations that move to cloud computing could enjoy carbon reductions that are equivalent to the annual emissions of over four million passenger vehicles. Oh, and they’ll also save in energy costs, to the tune of about £1.2 billion—findings that underscore a recent announcement by a British cabinet minister that the UK government’s cloud strategy could save British taxpayers as much as £460 million a year—so it’s not all selfless stuff on offer here.
The figures were understandably somewhat lower in France, where nuclear power reigns supreme in the business of electricity delivery, but blue-chip French companies are also poised to exploit some pretty noteworthy savings, too. And, say the study’s authors, the exploitation will be on a grand scale, as almost 70% of these organizations’ IT resources will reside in the cloud by 2020. That’s up markedly from the 10% at which the services are currently used.
Closer to home, the report concludes that a large North American company that made the switch to the cloud now could be sitting on top of $12.3 billion in yearly savings, and annual carbon reductions that are equivalent to 200 million barrels of oil, by 2020.
Considering that neither of these diminutions—energy or cost—serve as the most persuasive reason to switch over to the cloud (that distinction remains a function of speed, and the accelerated pace at which all corporate activities can take place in the cloud), the argument is more compelling still. Where developers used to take 45 days to get new servers, one pundit remarked, the much more responsive-to-demand internal cloud has shrunk that lag to just a couple of minutes.
Send your stuff up into the cloud, it seems, and you just might save the world.