Green cloud computing and the burden of the network

Green cloud computingHow does cloud computing energy consumption compare with conventional computing? Recently Microsoft (see last blog) stated that with help of their cloud solutions one can reduce the energy use by more than 30 percent. Australian research is bringing some new aspects in the discussion ‘How green is cloud computing?‘.

While previous studies of energy consumption in cloud computing have focused only on the energy consumed in the data center, researchers from the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, found that transporting data between data centers and home computers can consume even larger amounts of energy than storing it. They investigated using cloud computing for  storage, software, and processing services; on public and private systems.

The reduction of energy consumption depends on the use case. Using infrequently and at low intensities, cloud computing can consume less power than conventional computing. But at medium and high usage levels, transport dominates total power consumption and greatly increases the overall energy consumed. The researchers explain that home computer users can achieve significant energy savings by using low-end laptops for routine tasks and cloud processing services for computationally intensive tasks that are infrequent, instead of using a mid- or high-end PC. For corporations, it is less clear whether the energy consumption saved in transport with a private cloud compared to a public cloud offsets the private cloud’s higher energy consumption.

The study of Jayant Baliga and some other coauthors shall be published in the Proceedings of the IEEE.

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