"A new study released today found that companies running applications in the cloud can reduce their carbon emissions by 30 percent or more compared with running those same applications in their own infrastructure. The study, “Cloud Computing and Sustainability: The Environmental Benefits of Moving to the Cloud,” was commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Accenture, a global management consulting, technology consulting and technology outsourcing company, and WSP Environment & Energy, an environmental consulting group. "
“The IT industry had this nagging question – as more and more services move to the cloud, do they consume more or less energy?” Bernard said. “This study found that you can migrate existing infrastructure to the cloud and see not only growth in productivity but a reduction in energy consumption for those services.”
The study was aimed at understanding how the cloud performs differently from an on-premises environment, said Josh Whitney, corporate sustainability strategy lead with WSP. Using a methodology aligned to the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI) standards, Accenture and WSP compared the energy use and carbon emissions per user for Exchange Server 2007, SharePoint Server 2007, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM with their cloud-based equivalents: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The results suggest that for widely deployed and commonly used applications such as e-mail, content sharing and customer relationship management, the cloud can enable significant reduction in carbon emissions.
“The findings are actually pretty impressive,” Whitney said. “I think this study provides further reinforcement of the benefits of the cloud beyond the bottom line. It provides one of the first quantitative and measurable analyses of the impact that cloud computing can have directly compared to a traditional deployment of IT within a company.”
The study pointed to several other factors that drove down emissions and consumption, including the fact that datacenters operate servers at much higher utilization rates and are physically constructed to reduce power loss.
Mike Ehrenberg, a technical fellow and chief architect for Microsoft Dynamics, said the study’s findings should reinforce for customers the benefits of moving to the cloud.