The cloud computing market, initially structured to cater to the information technology sector, is now finding optimum use in other industries (retail, healthcare, supply chain, etc.) as well. A report published by Pike Research in 2011 predicts the cloud computing market to reach $210 billion by 2015. The advantages of business agility, scalability, and reduced costs have prompted businesses to vie for a spot in the clouds. It is evident that cloud computing offers some serious benefits for businesses all over the world but not many people know the role cloud computing plays in controlling greenhouse gas emission and sustainability. Cloud computing enjoys the tag of being one technology that is not only beneficial for businesses but also for the environment.

Role of Cloud Computing in Energy Consumption

According to a study by Gartner, the information technology industry consumes 2% of the global energy. With technology spearheading every business domain, its tough to predict how much energy IT systems actually consume and what impact it has on the environment. According to research by Pike Research in 2011, the use of cloud computing technology could reduce worldwide data center usage by 38% by 2020. Because cloud computing technology enables organizations to operate without installing a host of hardware systems, it allows the organizations to reduce their carbon footprint considerably.

The fact is that cloud computing technology not only reduces carbon emission levels, it saves organizations considerable amounts of money in energy savings. A report published by Verdantix in 2011 highlights how the use of cloud computing technology could result in carbon emission savings of 85.7 million metric tonnes/year by 2020. As for the organizations, it could enable companies to save $12.3 billion in energy bills. Simply put, cloud computing technology is not only much more efficient than traditional data centers but also much more beneficial when it comes to energy savings. Some of the ways in which cloud computing technology saves organizations energy, money and effort include:

•   Less hardware, less physical management: If you calculate the resources (servers, computers, network cables, etc.) needed for computing in any industry, you would be surprised to see the amount of energy consumed and money wasted. Cloud computing technology requires less hardware and reduces the physical management of devices considerably. According to a survey, use of cloud computing technology could save companies at least 50% on hardware and 90% on management, which would reduce the level of energy consumed and save companies a large amount of money.
•    Reducing energy usage in cooling and heating: Data centers waste a lot of energy in cooling and heating of rooms. Using cloud computing, these emissions can be reduced drastically through virtualization. This would help control the emissions ratio and the amount of server use, while saving companies ample amounts of money in server maintenance.
•   Better power utilization: Cloud computing technology allows for efficient power utilizations. Because scalability is one process every growing company goes through, there is always recurring demand for more hardware and software. Companies have to work with space constraints while handling extra hardware. However, using cloud computing technology, these organizations never run out of space, which enables the employees to optimize data centers that help in power utilization.

There is now enough research that validates the fact that cloud computing is not only more energy and cost efficient than in-house computing, it is also the preferred technology for the healthcare sector, when it comes to scaling operations. Cloud computing can certainly be named green technology for its role in reductions in energy consumption, energy expense, greenhouse gas emission and operating costs.