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  • Advantages on Green Cloud Computing

  • Page 2 of 8 Sponsored by

    Advantages of Green Cloud Computing

    Contents

    Carbon Emissions Fall as IT Adopts Green Cloud Computing

    Green IT Strategies Could Lead to Hefty ROI

    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, well look at how green IT technologies are allowing CIOs to cut costs and improve data center ROI.

    Carbon Emissions Fall as IT Adopts Green Cloud Computing

    The advantages of green cloud computing are many: lower costs, faster

    updates and simpler maintenance. And theres also a nod to the socially

    conscious because its 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.

    Thats important because recently, ITs 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.

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    Advantages of Green Cloud Computing

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    Carbon Emissions Fall as IT Adopts Green Cloud Computing

    Green IT Strategies Could Lead to Hefty ROI

    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 servers 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.

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    Advantages of Green Cloud Computing

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    Carbon Emissions Fall as IT Adopts Green Cloud Computing

    Green IT Strategies Could Lead to Hefty ROI

    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 139.8

    terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2020, a reduction of 31% from 201.8

    TWh used in 2010. This number also represents a significant decrease from

    the 226.4 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 serious ly and increasingly

    they are becoming a key part of the discussion about how to grow their data

    centers, said Woods.

    Green IT Strategies Could Lead to Hefty ROI

    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-

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    Carbon Emissions Fall as IT Adopts Green Cloud Computing

    Green IT Strategies Could Lead to Hefty ROI

    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 2006. 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 ROI.

    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

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    Carbon Emissions Fall as IT Adopts Green Cloud Computing

    Green IT Strategies Could Lead to Hefty ROI

    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 ROI 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 c ities, 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.

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    Advantages of Green Cloud Computing

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    Carbon Emissions Fall as IT Adopts Green Cloud Computing

    Green IT Strategies Could Lead to Hefty ROI

    "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.

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    Advantages of Green Cloud Computing

    Contents

    Carbon Emissions Fall as IT Adopts Green Cloud Computing

    Green IT Strategies Could Lead to Hefty ROI

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