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How cloud services can save the world (or at least help)

Tuesday, July 08, 2014   by: Greener Ideal

This guest post is provided by Matt Smith, who works for Dell and has a passion for learning and writing about technology.

The cloud has the capacity to support multiple functions at a time, which translates to a more efficient distribution of resources among many users. This means that we can accomplish more with less energy consumption, reduced office computing costs, and lower carbon emissions. If utilized correctly, the cloud could significantly reduce the energy used by information technology and support a green movement in the industry.

Many companies have come to realize the growing costs of energy in their data centers and this growth has developed with little insight into power usage and viable alternative solutions. As the data center and cloud model continue to advance, the need to converge platforms and increase efficiency becomes apparent. The immense migration to the cloud is a driving force for more compact and efficient data centers, which are quickly making their way to the top of everyone’s priority list.

Pressure to Change

Virtualization has had a significant impact on the modern data center and is also recognized as an important factor in the improvement of increased efficiency. Today’s institutions are facing pressure to consolidate their data centers while also increasing business dexterity. As the business environment continues to shift, there is a demand for advanced innovative standards from businesses.

The combination of rising energy costs, a higher demand for computing resources, economic pressure and environmental concerns are all promoting this growth. Cloud computing has many advantages in promoting efficiency. However, in order to gain the ultimate benefits that virtualization has to offer other components of the data center infrastructure will need to be optimized as well. If this is done correctly the consolidation of applications with cloud computing presents a strong opportunity for optimizing energy consumption.

The Cloud Advantage

Using the cloud to transform data centers begins at the infrastructure level and promotes more effective applications, which results in faster completion cycles and enhanced flexibility. The chief benefits following consolidation include the standardization of development and application environments, which promote more controlled and efficient application lifecycles.

Leading organizations are using cloud technology to equip businesses with an agile infrastructure that delivers dependable service to a wide range of customers around the globe. Through the efficient use of cloud technology these institutions are able to:

  • Quickly adapt upon their entrance to new markets. This is achieved by having a common infrastructure that has already been established and made available worldwide so that organizations can provide their customers with fast and effective service. By using a standardized system, the overall enterprise architecture is simplified.
  • Improve the consistency of service on a global level to both internal and external customers. This has the potential to result in enhanced customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can promote international growth, improved competitive positioning and the satisfaction of core objectives.
  • Improved overall IT service starting with the business unit and carried out to external customers. This creates a mutually beneficial relationship between business units and IT, which will be working in harmony to carry out the strategies of the organization.

Identifying Data Center Efficiency

While a large percentage of the energy consumed by data centers takes place at the IT level, many facilities lack the insight to comprehend the energy usage and costs accrued through workload, applications and idle servers. The use of non-disruptive tools for power management could alleviate this problem and support efficiency in the data center. This would enable considerable energy savings and more intelligent business strategies.

The devices that make up the physical infrastructure of a data center also play an important role in efficiency. These devices can be numerous and wide ranging. An internal set of subsystems is contained within each device and has specific power requirements. Some devices have complex power consumption characteristics while others are relatively straightforward. Regardless of the level of complexity regarding a device’s power consumption, there can be significant energy losses due to the internal functions of these devices. By understanding the loss characteristics associated with physical infrastructure components institutions have the ability to assess the impact of consolidation through virtualization.

The Consolidated Data Center

The virtualization of the data center, which includes desktop, storage and server virtualization, reduces the IT equipment electrical load. Energy savings can be maximized further through the proper management of related power and cooling infrastructures. This is made possible with the increased computing efficiency of the consolidated data center.

At a point when energy costs were low and supply was plentiful, using oversized physical infrastructure was a common strategy. The use of oversized equipment was employed to accommodate future growth but is also a significant contributor of efficiency issues. As data centers become virtualized and consolidate the overall power consumption of IT goes down. This translates to higher utilization rates by the remaining servers and more efficient power consumption per square foot of data center space.

An emphasis on dynamically managed and optimized data centers will allow the absolute best practices regarding efficiency to become commonplace. These data centers have the potential to provide nearly unlimited computing services through the use of consolidated resource pools to supply an opportunity for higher utilization and energy savings.

Consolidation through virtualization is a growing trend and is being implemented on a global level. By pooling resources institutions are capable of creating highly efficient data centers that individual organizations would not be able to take advantage of. These green data centers are a significant strategy to cut down on wasteful energy consumption and increase resources worldwide.

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