Advantages on Green Cloud Computing

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1 Advantages on Green

2 Advantages of Green A growing number of organizations are becoming more green-conscious as there are several advantages of green IT. In this e-guide, brought to you by SearchDataCenter.com, our experts will look at how shops switching to a green cloud can help lower the carbon footprint of IT across the globe. Also, we ll look at how green IT technologies are allowing CIOs to cut costs and improve data center. The advantages of green cloud computing are many: lower costs, faster updates and simpler maintenance. And there s also a nod to the socially conscious because it s less taxing on the environment due to lower carbon emissions. Energy use is certainly an important consideration in the data center, and cloud solutions are more efficient than traditional systems, said Eric Woods, research director at Pike Research Inc. That s important because recently, IT s carbon footprint has been expanding. Between 2011 and 2020, worldwide information communication technology (ICT) equipment and services carbon emissions are expected to double from 2% to 4% of total emissions, according to market research firm Verdantix. How now, green cloud? A green cloud solution is more efficient than a traditional premises-based system in three ways. The first is more efficient provisioning. Historically, IT departments deployed more server, networking and storage infrastructure than needed. Businesses wanted to avoid potential capacity problems during peak usage periods. Consequently, they designed the systems to adhere to maximum usage periods; often, systems sat idle or underutilized. Page 2 of 8

3 Advantages of Green Business dynamics also played a role. Corporations sometimes had difficulty understanding and predicting demand growth and peak loads, so they purchased enough capacity to be safe rather than sorry. And since corporate budget policies often encourage departments using all of their available funds in a given year and threaten a smaller allocation the following fiscal year, finances are also partly at fault for underutilization. Multi-tenancy is another green cloud advantage. Shared infrastructures operate more efficiently than autonomous ones. Just as multiple tenants in an apartment building often use less power overall than the same number of people owning their own homes, multiple tenants of a cloud-provided infrastructure reduce their overall energy use and associated carbon emissions. In fact, disparate demand patterns from numerous companies flatten overall demand peaks and make usage patterns more predictable. Using a cloud strategy also saves energy by improving server utilization the measurement of the portion of a server s capacity that an application actively uses. Large-scale cloud providers run their infrastructure at higher and more stable utilization levels than corresponding on-premise operations, so the same processing volume can be completed with far fewer servers. A typical on-premise application may operate at 5% to 10% average utilization rate, but the same application in the cloud may attain 40% to 70% utilization, thus dramatically increasing the number of users served per machine. While it is true that servers running at higher utilization rates consume more power, the resulting increase is more than offset by the relative performance gains. Increasing the utilization rate from 5% to 20% will allow a server to process four times the previous load, while power consumed by the server may only increase by 10% or 20%. Wallet-based motivation for a green cloud switch So, what are the potential savings? Currently, there are no precise metrics, but market analysts have outlined what they see as potential reductions in carbon emissions as well as energy costs. Page 3 of 8

4 Advantages of Green A Verdantix survey projects that moving to a green cloud would enable corporations to cut carbon emissions by 85.7 million metric tons per year by 2020 and also reduce energy bills by $12.3 billion. Pike Research forecasts that cloud data centers would consume terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2020, a reduction of 31% from TWh used in This number also represents a significant decrease from the TWh that would be consumed if firms made no changes to their systems. The reduction will drive total data center energy expenditures down from $23.3 billion in 2010 to $16.0 billion in 2020, as well as causing a 28% reduction in carbon emissions from 2010 levels. However, the potential savings may be spread out unevenly. Ironically, large enterprises tend to benefit least because they may utilize advanced data center infrastructure designs improved cooling systems and better power line conditioning that already tend to reduce power loss and energy consumption. An Accenture survey found companies with more than 10,000 users would reduce energy use and carbon emission by 30% to 60% by turning to a green cloud. Firms with 1,000 employees would see reductions of 60% to 90%, and small businesses with up to 100 users would see reductions of more than 90%. Such metrics may tip a server evaluation to the cloud. Companies are taking environmental issues quite seriously and increasingly they are becoming a key part of the discussion about how to grow their data centers, said Woods. Savvy and forward-thinking CIOs have recognized that ecological concerns aren't just for tree-huggers. Large enterprises, and to a lesser extent midrange companies, are starting to deploy products, and better yet, long- Page 4 of 8

5 Advantages of Green range green IT strategies, to reduce the carbon footprints of data centers. A number of factors are propelling this trend -- one of the biggest is the energy crisis. On Aug. 2, the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Program released to Congress a report assessing opportunities for energy efficiency improvements for government and commercial computer servers and data centers in the United States. According to the report, data centers accounted for roughly 1.5% of the country's electricity consumption in The energy consumption of servers and data centers has doubled in the past five years and is expected to almost double again in the next five years, to more than 100 billion kwh, costing about $7.4 billion annually. Existing green IT technologies and strategies could reduce typical server energy use by an estimated 25%, with even greater energy savings possible with advanced technologies. "We need to keep the data center running as efficiently as possible because soon enough, power may get expensive enough to affect operations," said Marty Strasser, manager of IT infrastructure and support at Baxa Corp., a $100 million medical equipment manufacturer in Englewood, Colo. All this has sent CIOs into a search for that killer technology with which they can lower their company's carbon footprint and at the same time realize a hefty. Essential green IT technologies that save money In that regard, virtualization is a no-brainer, according to Rakesh Kumar, an analyst at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn. Virtualization enables IT managers to divide a single server, or multiple servers, into separate environments, each of which can run a different operating system and serve different applications. Virtual machine (VM) "images" can be ported from one physical server to another. Central administrative software can then balance processing loads and allocate storage capacity on an as-needed basis, across multiple virtual machines Page 5 of 8

6 Advantages of Green and physical servers. One or more VMs can take up the slack during a planned or unplanned outage. "Most machines use 5% to 10% of available computing power," Kumar said. By utilizing server capacity more efficiently through virtualization, companies can do the same job with 50% to 60% of their existing server population, Kumar said. This translates into major savings in hardware, electricity and cooling. Baxa has virtualized 50 out of 120 hardware servers, using EMC Corp.'s VMware and LeftHand Networks Inc.'s virtualized SAN/iQ storage system. While Strasser could provide no hard numbers, "I've been able to avoid having to expand the size of the data center, or bring in more power or cooling. I've avoided new construction costs, power lines, generators and backup equipment." A gradual consolidation as servers become obsolete can reduce the physical footprint of servers and storage devices by 25% to 30% over a two-year period, Kumar said. Space considerations are becoming increasingly critical, particularly in large cities where data center facilities are at a premium. In some cities, like New York and London, finding space for new data centers is virtually impossible. Currently, only about 12% of Intel x86-based corporate servers are virtualized, according to Gartner. However, AFCOM's Data Center Institute predicted that by 2010, nearly 70% of all data centers will utilize some form of grid computing or other type of virtual processing. Cutting energy and cooling bills Another piece of good news: CIOs don't need to rip out existing servers or purchase expensive or complex products in order to make a dent in their data center energy and cooling bills. There's plenty of low-hanging fruit, according to Richard Hodges, a principal at consulting company GreenIT in Sonoma, Calif. Page 6 of 8

7 Advantages of Green "Look under the data center floor to make sure the airflow isn't clogged by trash and cables." And in perennially cool places, like California, "You can just use outside air instead of AC for most of the day," Hodges added. "The starting point isn't sexy stuff, it's basic blocking and tackling. The equivalent of turning the lights out when you're not in the room." How much savings that brings in, "depends on how wasteful you've been." Still, the most effective approach is a holistic one, Hodges said. "You need to start by finding out what you have, and how much power it consumes. You can't manage what you can't measure." Green IT products on the rise The good news is that products like the ones described above are appearing on the market in growing numbers. Modius Inc.'s OpenData software, for example, enables data center managers to monitor, track and centrally manage the efficiency, power consumption and performance of power systems, generators, uninterruptible power supplies and air conditioning units, according to Craig Compiano, CEO at the Oakland, Calif.-based company. They can identify and address problems, such as "an AC unit overcompensating for demand from a server farm which may have been set up inefficiently." A number of leading computer and storage vendors have formed The Green Grid, a consortium dedicated to coming up with technologies, products and strategies to boost energy efficiency in the data center. Page 7 of 8

8 Advantages of Green Free resources for technology professionals TechTarget publishes targeted technology media that address your need for information and resources for researching products, developing strategy and making cost-effective purchase decisions. Our network of technology-specific Web sites gives you access to industry experts, independent content and analysis and the Web s largest library of vendor-provided white papers, webcasts, podcasts, videos, virtual trade shows, research reports and more drawing on the rich R&D resources of technology providers to address market trends, challenges and solutions. Our live events and virtual seminars give you access to vendor neutral, expert commentary and advice on the issues and challenges you face daily. Our social community IT Knowledge Exchange allows you to share real world information in real time with peers and experts. What makes TechTarget unique? TechTarget is squarely focused on the enterprise IT space. Our team of editors and network of industry experts provide the richest, most relevant content to IT professionals and management. We leverage the immediacy of the Web, the networking and face-to-face opportunities of events and virtual events, and the ability to interact with peers all to create compelling and actionable information for enterprise IT professionals across all industries and markets. Related TechTarget Websites Page 8 of 8

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