Cloud computing and the environment

Posted on

Social responsibility has become an indispensable pillar for any global company. Without a commitment to the environment and the environment, a company cannot be considered as an innovative organization. For this reason, caring for the environment has become a task that companies seek to address from all possible spheres, including technology.

Computing has allowed many internal processes to become more environmentally friendly as paper consumption, travel times, and the need for storage, among many other things, is reduced. A report from the World Economic Forum estimates that thanks to digital transformation, carbon emissions can be reduced by up to 15% globally. These forecasts give us an idea of ​​the multiple benefits that the adoption of new technologies brings.
However, not all innovations manage to reduce your carbon footprint adequately. Although computing reduces the number of use of certain resources, it also increases the use of electrical energy, increasing greenhouse emissions. This phenomenon is particularly accentuated if the electricity consumed by the computer equipment is not clean energy. For this reason, it is important to know what the environmental impact of each technological innovation is and to know in depth the benefits and challenges that it entails.

And without a doubt, one of the technologies that are in the middle of this debate is cloud computing, which in recent years has gained a lot of acceptance among companies for the management of their data and their virtual applications.

At the beginning of the decade, one of the experts’ concerns about the cloud was the amount of energy it consumed. According to a study carried out by Green Peace by 2020, the energy consumed by cloud services will reach 1,963 billion KWH and would emit a total of 1,034 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Other forecasts estimate that by 2025, data centers, where a considerable part of the clouds are stored, will occupy a fifth of all global electrical energy.

These data give us an idea of ​​the enormous environmental challenge that cloud services management poses, especially for cloud service providers, who must find optimal efficiency models to offer companies quality products that do not represent harm to the environment.

Fortunately, new research and greater innovations in the field of the cloud, have allowed changing the negative attitude that was had on this technology; and more and more companies are seeing the cloud as a strategy for process improvement and environmental responsibility.

While Green Peace estimated an increase in polluting emissions, a report by the Carbon Disclosure Project considers that cloud computing could reduce annual carbon emissions equivalent to 200 million barrels of oil a year. In addition, there is research that indicates that the level of efficiency of energy use in the cloud industry is doubling every 18 months.

The benefits debate remains open as there is still no general consensus on the effects of the cloud on the environment. For this reason, many companies have begun to take the initiative to improve their processes and services that allow a harmonious and ecological relationship with the environment where they are located.