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Reduce Your Environmental Impact Through the Cloud

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

In recent years, the issue of climate change has gained significant attention worldwide and companies have made important strides to reduce their carbon footprint. But did you know that one popular technology trend can help you reduce the costs of your operations and dramatically reduce your environmental impact? Migrating your systems to the cloud can not only assist you in scalability, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness, but it can also reduce your carbon footprint!

The Environmental Impact of Data Centers

To avoid or limit the negative effect of climate change caused by global greenhouse gas emissions, our output must be cut in half by 2030. To do this, government entities and business leaders are committing to reaching net-zero emissions.

However, utilizing a data center to house data, systems, etc. for a business can significantly impact the environment. First and foremost, the electricity required to run and maintain these locations is immense due to the hardware and climate control measures needed to keep the machines running at peak performance. If your organization is located in a warm climate, the energy and costs required to keep these machines cool will be significantly more than an organization in a milder climate.

To add insult to injury, large plots of land are required for these facilities, and they often use dated, energy-inefficient hardware. With the domino effect in place, increased on-prem data centers can also be linked to natural disasters and the increased spread of zoonotic diseases as animals seek new habitats following the destruction of this land.

The Benefits of Cloud Computing

Recent research has shown that cloud computing can help alleviate an organization’s environmental impact in several ways. Cloud providers operate large data centers that are shared among many users, which means they can utilize resources more efficiently than if each user had their own data center. According to AWS, comparatively, “The average corporate data center has a dirtier power mix than the typical large-scale cloud provider.” Therefore, migrating to the cloud can reduce the number of data centers used across many organizations, in turn reducing our combined carbon footprint.

One of the significant advantages of cloud computing is its energy efficiency. Cloud providers operate data centers that are designed to optimize power usage and reduce energy consumption. They use energy-efficient hardware and cooling systems, along with renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, to reduce their carbon footprint. A 2013 study funded by Google revealed that “by moving commonly used software applications to the cloud, energy usage would decrease by 87%. Further, cloud computing is a major enabler of both home and remote working, reducing the need for commuting and therefore decreasing emissions.”

A Step in the Right Direction

Moving your data and systems to the cloud is not a blanketed environmental cure, but it does require fewer machines and hardware, decreases electricity usage, and results in less travel and subsequent carbon emissions as well as slows the destruction of natural habitats. So, while it is not the answer to all our environmental needs, it is a step in the right direction towards net-zero emissions and a healthier planet.

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