The ‘Green Cloud’: Four strategies for a sustainable and responsible digital future

As a cloud service provider, Firstserv Ltd takes its responsibilities towards the environment seriously, and is committed to reducing their carbon footprint. They are pursuing green hosting policies, which in turn helps customers to be greener themselves.

What is the Green Cloud?

The term “Green Cloud” refers to a sustainable way of cloud computing. It reduces energy demand and saves money, while keeping an eye on environmental issues at the same time. Moving traditional IT infrastructure to the cloud is beneficial for the environment in several ways: primarily it reduces the number of physical servers and increases average utilisation of available computing units. If cloud providers, do it right, a measurable impact on a company’s CO2 footprint can be achieved.

“The Green Cloud" has become a fashionable phrase, as more companies are now considering the CO2 emissions and the overall carbon footprint of their new cloud service providers' facilities when planning their cloud migration. Respectively, sustainability and responsibility are becoming a main point of differentiation in the marketplace, both for global hyperscale’s like AWS, Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure and for European cloud companies like OVH.

The top four strategies for a sustainable and responsible digital future

Firstserv Ltd are putting all their efforts into ensuring their services are as environmentally friendly as possible. The climate crisis and rising energy costs dictate this is vital in futureproofing the support given to their customers. Improving efficiency is a major step towards sustainable cloud, particularly regarding physical data centres. Sebastian Tyc, CEO outlines the four most effective strategies in creating a sustainable and responsible future of greener cloud services:

1. Be strategic about data centre locations

The operation of a data centre requires loads of energy. While most of this energy is needed to power the servers, a large part also goes into cooling them to protect the equipment. If data centre locations are picked strategically, their power demand can be substantially reduced. For example, data centres in cool regions such as Scandinavia or in underground facilities, need much less cooling compared to locations in desert or subtropical regions such as the Southern US.

2. Increase energy efficiency and renewable resources

The main concept behind cloud computing is that services get shared over a network, which helps optimise the resources’ effectiveness. For example, a cloud facility that serves Sydney users during Sydney business hours with a specific service (e.g., web server) could relocate the same resources to serve European users during European business hours, with a different application.

As such, cloud services operate with enhanced efficiencies when compared to on-premises datacentres. It is precisely because of that efficient utilisation of IT resources that cloud computing impacts positively on the environment. As data-intensive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and distributed manufacturing systems surge, cloud computing centres must remain energy efficient.

In this regard, modern datacentres are increasingly using advanced technologies to eliminate wastage at every level of their operations. For example, most of today’s datacentres use machine learning to automatically maximise cooling their environments. Besides machine learning, datacentres also deploy smart temperature, lighting, and cooling controls to minimise energy use in their environments.

Firstserv Ltd datacentres employ renewable energy sources such as geothermal, solar, wind or water-cooling technology. They introduce liquid cooling for processors in order to minimise their overall carbon footprint. It is also important to ensure that your infrastructure is suitable for hosting your application environment.

3. Use virtualisation for sustainability and cost energy-efficient hardware

Even though cost savings and increased efficiency in business operations are the top drivers of virtualisation, they are not the only benefits. Cloud computing uses virtualisation to contribute positively to environmental sustainability as well.

Virtualisation allows an organisation to create several virtual machines (VMs) and run multiple applications on the same physical server via a hypervisor. As such, high-carbon physical machines get replaced with their virtual equivalents.

For example, an organisation could use a single VM rather than a resource-heavy physical server to stream videos. This could help the company to minimise power consumption and the overall carbon footprint. Shifting an on-premises IT infrastructure to the cloud means you use fewer servers, and this type uses less power, potentially having a lower impact on the environment.

To reduce the overall need of energy in data centres, cloud providers strive to use optimised and modern hardware and software infrastructure. That does not limit to changing the old light bulbs to energy-saving lights! Data centres employ energy-saving strategies such as dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS) or shifting to modern data storage devices. Solid state drives (SSDs) need less power, access data faster and last longer than their legacy technology, HDDs. Using optimised hardware, data centres become more efficient and also minimise their energy demand.

4. Streamline usage

Firstserv Ltd uses multiple strategies to optimise IT workflows at every level. This might include shifting workloads to different times, modifying applications to reduce network traffic, optimising storage and server caches, automating routine tasks or taking any number of other steps to reduce energy usage.

It is also important to ensure that your infrastructure is suitable for hosting your application environment. Firstserv Ltd offers a wide range of options: Hosted Private Cloud, Public Cloud, as well as a very variety of Bare Metal servers. With several Bare Metal options and models available, Firstserv Ltd partners can precisely adjust their ratios (RAM per core ratio, storage per RAM or core, etc.) and ensure they are using the best virtual machine for every workload.

If you are ready to see how Firstserv can help you migrate to the green cloud at a faster pace and achieve optimisation at scale

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