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Sustainable use of cloud computing

Greener tech transformation.

If your organisation is working towards net zero, eliminating the emissions from your own IT operations is a significant part of that.

And yes, for many, cloud computing is already a cleaner and welcome improvement on the original. Less hardware running fewer workloads means less electricity consumed.

The only thing is, those cloud data centres still need electricity to power them. That’s where greener, sustainable cloud computing comes in, replacing all that fossil fuel-based grid energy with renewable resources.

More computing for less carbon. That’s winning all round.

Five things you need to know about green cloud computing

Cloud is the greener option.

There’s no need to own and maintain physical hardware, and no need to worry about disposing or recycling either. If you don’t need an onsite server, why go to the trouble of housing and powering one - go cloud.

Smarter use of energy.

As part of the shift away from buying and operating IT equipment, and instead consuming it as a service, you only use (and pay for) what you need. And no need to overprovision ‘just in case’ either: the cloud can expand or contract depending on your usage, meaning no computers sitting around idly.

Trouble is the boom in cloud computing means more energy is needed for data centres.

As of mid-2020 there were 541 hyperscale data centres worldwide, with 170+ more on their way. And they all need uninterrupted energy (lots of it, in fact) for processing and cooling to do what they do. This limits the cloud’s sustainability.

The good news is major tech players have ambitious plans.

Many of the big names are already ahead of other industries when it comes to reaching net zero targets – and they’re going further. Google has offset all historical emissions since its founding in 1998 and pledges to operate on completely carbon-free energy, 24 hours a day, by 2030. Big cloud providers can be your best net zero friend – thanks to their scale and resources to shift market trends and help meet targets. Make sure you understand where your cloud provider stands - they will become part of your ‘Scope 3’ carbon footprint.

And you too can make your cloud transformation a sustainable one.

Moving your existing IT architecture into the cloud shouldn’t be a quick lift and shift exercise. Start from the beginning and re-engineer your services to make the most of the tools the cloud has to offer. This way you can truly be cloud native – meaning more efficiencies, better services for your users, and a more sustainable use of tech all round.

Keep learning

Smarter tech is helping every single industry make a commitment to a greener future. Read how five companies are using the latest clean-energy developments to reduce their carbon footprint and more below.

Our net zero resources.

Towards net zero, together

From sustainable finance to operational resilience, our climate content hub is full of resources and ideas to help you on your journey to net zero.

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