Cloud Computing and Its Impact on the Environment

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how cloud technology can help reduce ecological waste and energy consumption

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Sustainability and How Cloud Technology Can Help Reduce Ecological Waste and Energy Consumption

It is no secret that human activities on planet earth are one of the main contributors to climate change. One of those activities is the use of information technology which is nowadays seen as ubiquitous. Sometimes we do not realize the impact technology has on our planet despite it becoming more compact and manufactured using less raw materials. The number of consumers is rising exponentially. As their use increases, there is a higher demand for an adequate infrastructure to maintain a high level of service. 

One of the industries which have been booming in recent years is computer applications, where many major tech companies have slowly been moving to cloud-based applications. This shift has given rise to popular services such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Popular business suites such as Oracle NetSuite and Salesforce are well-established examples that rely on cloud platforms that offer a lot in terms of enterprise resources management. Today we want to highlight green cloud computing and its impact on reducing ecological waste and energy consumption, including looking at:

  • Cloud vs. On-Premise
  • Material usage
  • Energy consumption
  • How Big Bang is helping

 

Cloud Vs. On-Premise

When cloud technology surfaced, many skeptical reviews were harshly against cloud technology due to the lack of data control that it offers to consumers. But the same could also be said about on-premise solutions if we forget the aspect of trust, which is one of the most difficult things to earn. 

It would take an enormous amount of resources to match the level of security, reliability, and accessibility offered by cloud technologies. Cloud providers have thousands of security, data, system, infrastructure, and network experts devoted to improving and maintaining a whole ecosystem to ensure service quality. It would also require an enormous amount of equipment and investment to provide such a redundant, secure, and reliable architecture. 

Hence, if an on-premise solution needs a redundant system, it would have double its physical data center. Furthermore, cloud providers help to share their investment and running costs by sharing server storage and usage capacity to multiple clients so that the cloud servers can run at an efficient load. On-premise systems often struggle to balance loads and to adapt to new business requirements.

 

Material Usage

The usage of fewer physical servers by relying on remotely shared servers means that there is, in turn, less demand for electrical and electronic components. The servers’ whole life cycle is impacted, including the conversion of raw materials processing into the finished goods, maintenance parts, and the end-of-life disposal of the servers. 

It is often not stressed that large organizations which utilize a large amount of equipment can reuse and recycle their equipment more efficiently since they have a better reach to equipment manufacturers and recycling plants, reducing material wastage. As cloud is reducing the depletion of precious metals, it is also helping reduce the use of potable water, often used in the manufacturing and recycling processes. As cloud technologies are focus on centralizing computational power operations, it is helping to avoid the costs associated with investing in a data center and a stock of spare parts that are perishable in terms of built-in obsolescence and component degradation due to aging. It is also important to note that only 50% of electronics used can be recycled; hence the more we choose cloud systems, the less we generate permanent wastes.

 

Energy Consumption

According to Oracle, information technology consumes 8% of the world’s electricity generation, which is enormous when compared to other industries. In the life cycle of on-premise equipment, a massive amount of energy is required to manufacture, transport, and run the systems, which have to be accounted for when evaluating the environmental impacts of relying on such an infrastructure. The beauty of building Cloud Data Centers is that it enables Cloud service providers to only choose the source of their equipment but also the source of their energy requirements. 

As per the data collected by OurWorldInData, an estimated 36.7% of the world energy production originate from low-carbon sources, including renewables and nuclear power, at about 26% and 10%, respectively. Just like business organizations have devised the Follow The Sun model, giant providers such as Oracle and Microsoft are heading towards following reliable renewable energy sources to achieve 100% clean energy use to run their different business units. 

On-premise systems often cannot have the possibility to maximize the utilization of such low-carbon energy sources since they are often limited geographically to their polluting energy provider or do not have the means to invest and access renewable energy supplies. As per the Global e-Sustainability Initiative estimations, efficient Information Technologies can potentially reduce 20% of world Carbon Dioxide emissions by 2030. This figure is linked to running greener ICT equipment with 3.6Gt CO2 emission reductions, but the abatement of 2.7 Gt of CO2-e benefitted when ICT improves the different industries where it is applied.

 

How Big Bang is helping

  • Use of 100% cloud-based applications and tools. Cloud Computing and Its Impact on the Environment_touch screen
  • Conduct almost all business-related paperwork electronically to help save thousands of trees annually.
  • Facilitate e-driving by offering electric vehicle charging stations free of charge to staff.
  • Empower customers to make the switch to paperless business operations and reduce the physical servers by moving to the cloud (energy conservation and reduced waste).
  • Energy efficiency improvements and waste reduction programs in our leased office spaces.
  • Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy: Big Bang gives preference to environmentally friendly products, suppliers, and practices as a recognition of our impact as a purchaser of goods and services. Before making a purchase, employees must consider the total cost of ownership, including environmental, maintenance, and disposal costs. This includes:
    • Office supplies, electronics, paper
    • Acquired 42 refurbished workstations in February 2021, which avoided the emission of 8.68 metric tons of greenhouse gases 
  • Traditional IT services consume a significant amount of energy throughout their lifecycle (raw material extraction, transportation of equipment and servers to a data center, use of servers, and disposal of the equipment once it is deprecated). The cloud services we use for the management of our own company are also the products and services we offer to clients. Cloud business solutions are up to 93 percent more energy-efficient and can result in 98 percent lower carbon emissions than traditional enterprise data centers (based on WSP study of Microsoft Cloud).

 

The adoption of cloud technology is a good step forward in the fight against climate change while not compromising any of our business processes since it virtually offers an enhanced business solution compared to on-premise solutions while favoring reducing material wastes and carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, it helps businesses make enormous operations, and infrastructure cost savings. Cloud is enabling businesses to invest less in their ICT department and focus on the products and services they provide. Finally, Big Bang as a cloud solutions provider is keen to help organizations make the transition towards cloud technology by assisting them during the complete implementation life-cycle of cloud applications.

Rémi Wong

Consultant
Rémi has a background in both Mechatronic Engineering and Computer Science. He has worked with companies in several industries including developing his more creative skills as a photographer on a cruise ship. Rémi’s versatile background has allowed him to develop communication skills that allow him to excel with clients and colleagues, as he is very reassuring and reliable. He is also a team player who is willing to go the extra mile to achieve customer satisfaction. In fact, he has…

Anna Romanowski

Corporate Development Manager
Anna has significant experience in the field of Human Resources. She worked as a Recruiting Assistant at a recruitment and placement agency for a few years and continued pursuing her passion for HR by getting a Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial and Labour Relations with a Minor in Political Science from McGill University. Anna is also a grammar genius which is why her colleagues do not hesitate to go to her for thorough spell checks. She is always ready…

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