Why Cloud Computing Is Good for the Environment

By Michael
November 15, 2010

Cloud computing is not only good for a business’s bottom line, but it’s good for the environment’s bottom line, too. That’s the conclusion of a recent study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Accenture and WSP Environment & Energy. Although the study focused on Microsoft enterprise applications—Exchange, Sharepoint and Dynamics CRM—it paints an impressive picture of how the cloud can make a significant impact on the carbon emissions generated by a business.

Cloud_computing_good4environment “[F]or large deployments, Microsoft’s cloud solutions can reduce energy use and carbon emissions by more than 30 percent when compared to their corresponding Microsoft business applications installed on-premise,” the researchers discovered. “The benefits are even more impressive for small deployments: Energy use and emissions can be reduced by more than 90 percent with a shared cloud service.”

As reported by computing.co.uk, the study is particularly interesting in that it’s the first to look at the environmental impact of moving on-site applications to the cloud. “[T]he aggregate sustainability impact of choosing a cloud-based application over an on-premise deployment for the same application has not been rigorously analyzed,” the researchers explained.

Some of the key factors enabling cloud computing to lower energy use and carbon emissions were these:

  • Dynamic Provisioning
    It can be used to reduce wasted computing resources through better matching of server capacity with actual demand
  • Multi-Tenancy
    Since cloud computing allows many organizations to share infrastructure, it can flatten relative peak loads
  • Server Utilization
    Servers in the cloud have higher utilization rates because they’re shared with many users
  • Data Center Efficiency
    Cloud facilities typically utilize advanced data center infrastructure designs that reduce power loss through improved cooling, power conditioning and such.

“Though large organizations can lower energy use and emissions by addressing some of these factors in their own data centers, providers of public cloud infrastructure are best positioned to reduce the environmental impact of IT because of their scale,” the researchers wrote.

“By moving applications to cloud services offered by Microsoft or other providers, IT decision-makers can take advantage of highly efficient cloud infrastructure, effectively ‘outsourcing’ their IT efficiency investments while helping their company achieve its sustainability goals,” they continued.

“Beyond the commonly cited benefits of cloud computing–such as cost savings and increased agility–cloud computing has the potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of many business applications,” they added.

Do you have a cloud strategy in place? Are there business application you think are not ready (or never will be ready) for the cloud?


  1. Microsoft would say that wouldn’t they! They are trying to plug their web services in competition with Google and Facebook. The fact is that cloud computing actually creates *less* efficiency in IT not more. The reason for this is that there is no end-user control in where their applications run, and so no fine-tuning for the architecture can take place. A Best Practice consolidation and virtualisation strategy (i.e. ‘cloud’ computing) will divide an organisation’s IT estate into platforms that are I/O performant, multi-threaded optimised, and CPU-Intensive – once you’ve determined what types of applications you have and what platform they run best on, you put them where they’re optimised. Try asking MS to do that for you…

  2. thanks , cloud computing is a cost effective and environment friendly services, what you explain here on environment is so helpful and informative , it simply share your every space of work around the connected computers which support to work it better or efficiently.

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