Organizations Benefit Cloud Environment
How Organizations Can Benefit From a Continuous Cloud Environment.
If data continues to grow at its current rate, by 2030 we will likely exceed one yottabyte (one million trillion megabytes) of data created in one year. Arguably the most concerning factor of this is that observations show that at least 68% of this data was never used after it was generated, and the CO² emissions generated by the technology for storing this data are greater than the emissions of the entire aviation industry.
The cloud is now seen as a critical need by many enterprises, so much so that IDC has reported that spending on cloud computing and storage infrastructure increased by 6.6% during the last quarter of 2021. However, data centers are increasingly being watched with assumptions indicating that they are currently consuming more than 2% of the world’s energy, and with predictions that this figure could increase to 8% by 2030, the question is how can we build a greener and more sustainable cloud environment for the future?
Education is the key
Unfortunately, there is no answer to a problem of this magnitude, but there are simple steps we can take now to reduce its impact. One of them is storing things we don’t need or won’t use regularly in the cloud.
Our own research has found that 87% of employees say storing data in the cloud is easier than other storage systems. The tech industry has been covering the gaps with this for years. But now that there are bigger storage drives and other, more efficient technologies available, companies need to start putting value on data. There is also an educational angle to be worked out – storing data in the cloud is easy, but many employees (and organizations) are not aware of the impact their cloud infrastructure is having on the environment and if we are to look to a greener future this has to be addressed.
Data centers are huge energy customers. With energy prices in the UK and Europe rising sharply, bills will increase, so much so that for a data center in a medium-sized company in the UK, costs could increase by up to £1 million over the next five years. In addition, modern predictions from Greenpeace have found that one-fifth (20%) of the world’s total electricity will be consumed by the technology sector by 2025 with an increase of 7% due to the expansion of cloud computing. For that reason, it is not an understatement to say that building a greener cloud environment will also create a greener planet. By monitoring their data center’s carbon emissions and using renewable energy 24/7, as Google aims by 2030, organizations can drastically reduce energy use.
Minimizing digital waste
Energy use and consumption is only one chapter of the picture. Hyperscalers also play a key role in offering a sustainable environment for organizations to deploy cloud resources. However, the customer is responsible for how efficiently they are used. This efficiency can decrease quickly if digital waste is not reduced. For example, each email sent generates approximately 0.5g of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Add a few attachments, and it can amount to 10–20g CO2e. It’s the same for any social media activity and any interaction people may have on their device of choice. If we all became a little more conscious about how we consume resources from cloud providers, we could halt the amount of emissions that data centers generate. Clouds can be a problem but also a panacea.
As we explored earlier, by storing data they don’t use, not only do businesses end up creating more carbon than they need, but they are also spending money on services they don’t need. Therefore, building a greener cloud environment and minimizing digital waste is good for an organization’s wallet. The digital waste that emerges from the cloud can be minimized through technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analytics that provide insight into how data is used.
Businesses should also look to invest in newer technologies. It seems obvious to say but old technology is less efficient so buying behavior has to be changed. Not only is it more cost-effective, but this benefit can positively impact both your users and your business
Cloud optimization tools can also help companies maximize cloud data storage, thereby minimizing digital waste. It is able to assess and predict resource requirements, so that the infrastructure is utilized in the most efficient manner. The key is that we are good with data and implement cloud technology that is environmentally friendly and provides value for money.
Looking to the future
Often there is no need to rent storage space and store data if the space is only needed due to inefficient data management and wastage. Some organizations need to stick to defined data administration policies, but can the same be true for retention policies? In the next century, organizations will able to create and vote on data retention policies to ensure waste is minimized, as part of an ongoing process to ensure their cloud environment is as green as possible.
With cloud adoption continuing to increase, we must continue to look at sustainability as a whole. Cloud should be seen as an extension of the contract for this. Current tools enable greener cloud environments, using optimization and analytics tools.
Businesses should think about the green credentials of their cloudsupplier and local infrastructure, energy usage and data wastage rates to
build the greenest cloud infrastructure possible. The power of technologyshould not be forgotten in building a greener cloud environment.
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