In addition to its obvious administrative benefits, the use of the cloud has the potential to provide a significant positive environmental impact, as in many cases cloud servers are responsible for fewer emissions than their legacy counterparts. This is the conclusion of a number of recent industry studies into the sector, including a Microsoft-WSP collaborative study, which suggests that cloud computing is capable of improving energy efficiency by 93%, and producing 98% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than ‘on premises’ IT infrastructure.
Similarly, a study by Accenture, a professional services company specialising in information technology services and consulting, claims that: “Migrations to the public cloud can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 59 million tons per year, which equates to taking 22 million cars off the road.”
However, not all cloud migration approaches are equally ‘green’. Sustainability benefits will vary, depending on a number of factors and the level of corporate commitment to sustainability. A company must consider the deployment model – that is to say a ‘public cloud’, ‘private cloud’, ‘hybrid cloud’ or ‘multi-cloud’ – and must also consider whether to adopt software as a service, platform as a service or infrastructure as a service structures.