Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

Study Shows Cloud Offers Big Energy Savings

Study results released this summer by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that by moving common software applications – e-mail, CRM, productivity software like Microsoft Word and Excel – to the cloud could save enough electricity annually to power Los Angeles for a year.

Now, I’m in favor of letting L.A. figure out its own public utilities, but it’s an interesting angle on cloud-based computing.

los angeles - cloud energy

Los Angeles looks pretty powered up. Detroit probably could have used this news more than L.A.

A press release on the study, which was sponsored in part by Google, shows that moving these applications from local computer systems to centralized cloud services could cut IT energy consumption by up to 87 percent — about 23 billion kilowatt-hours.

That is roughly equivalent to what it takes to power the City of Angels for a years.

This doesn’t really pertain to cloud-based data recovery services such as those offered by TDV Cloud, but it does speak to the growing level of cloud adoption and the added benefits its usage can mean for enterprises who adopt. When I worked for an application service provider back in 2000-2002 (a now defunct company called Vobix), the model was to offer productivity applications as what we now call software as a service (SaaS).

That’s exactly the type of cloud usage this study pertains to, and the goal of the study was to provide a means to measure and analyze the energy and carbon impacts of cloud computing.

“We can’t fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to assessing sustainability,” said Northwestern’s Eric Masanet, lead author of the report. “We need numbers – hard data — to properly analyze how cloud computing compares to how computing is done now.

“Well-thought-out analysis is especially important with new technology, which can have unforeseen effects. Our public model allows us to look forward and make informed decisions. What we found overall is that by hosting services on the cloud as opposed to locally, the savings are pretty robust.”

Interesting stuff, indeed. I’m sure the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power must be excited.

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