Cloud computing really has become a buzzword over the past few years, but what is it? Where is this “cloud” that everyone is talking about. It all sounds a bit surreal, doesn’t it? All my data floating around in this mysterious cloud in the sky….
Well, it turns out that the not so aptly named cloud is in fact, a computer owned by someone else. These machines are kept in data centers all around the world. Giant warehouses full of racks and racks of computers, like a scene right out of a 1970`s science fiction movie.
The machines that run cloud computing are not like your home or office desktop, they are beasts. Massive servers taller than the average person, packed with hardware. This all needs power, not only to keep them working but to keep them cool.
So, imagine the power required to run a data center that hosts hundreds if not thousands of these servers? and the amount of water used to cool all this whirring hardware? Well, I can tell you it is a lot.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing.
There is now little doubt that mankind has entered a new industrial revolution. We are at the dawn of the digital age. Data has become the currency of the modern world and business need access to their data around the clock.
Having all your data in the cloud, or that is, on a computer in a data center. Where everyone who needs to can access them from anywhere in the world, has many obvious benefits to it.
We can share information like never before. We can collaborate in an instant, building on ideas as a global community
Products now offered in cloud computing include SaaS, or Software as a service. This is the most applied cloud solution in business. Products such as Microsoft`s infamous Office365 and Googles Gmail. Are both examples of cloud based applications.
Reducing the need for costly software purchases. Removing need to maintain a computer running lots of different applications. Less need for expensive hardware and storage. Sounds like a win, right? Well it is, for individuals and business.
Cloud computing has transformed the way we use computers in the 21st century. But at what cost? What impact does all this data have on the environment?
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One of the biggest issues facing the world today is climate change. It is our human lust for power and energy that has been accelerating global warming. Finding greener ways of completing tasks is at the forefront of global research. And the environment is a key factor when people make every day decisions.
We are all doing our bit to look after the planet. But what about the companies that run these gigantic data centers? How are they making sure that they are being green? As the years go by, more and more business move to cloud computing, which requires more and more power to provide.
Fortunately for consumers, it is easy to make an informed decision. Many providers now advertise their green data centers on their website. A simple google search will reveal much about what a company is doing to offset its carbon footprint.
The owners of data centers are now required to report their impact on the environment each year. Measured by the amount of power and water used and quantified into a unit. PUE or power usage effectiveness.
This reporting has forced companies to be energy competitive. Empowering consumers to consistently make green data choices, further perpetuating the effect.
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