How the cloud could help European businesses become greener

How the cloud could help European businesses become greener

Last week saw European Commission officials announce that they were considering whether it was appropriate to regulate or enforce energy efficiency standards on enterprise servers in order to make cloud computing greener.

Some analysts have already pointed out that such considerations will have to be balanced alongside the commission's own bid to boost the adoption of cloud computing systems, which is seen as central to a digital strategy that experts believe could inspire an economic recovery across Europe.

The commission claims that by rolling out cloud computing across Europe, it will be able to deliver a net gain of 2.5 million new jobs across the continent, while also being an annual boost €160 billion (£122.59 billion) to the European Union GDP by 2020.

However, if such plans do come into fruition, it is not just the economy that will benefit, with cloud computing delivering a number of great advantages from an environmental perspective too.

One of the most central pieces of technology is virtualisation, which allows a single physical server to run multiple operating system images concurrently.

It is also a technology that manages to reduce the total physical footprint of a physical server, which inevitably leads to a lesser impact on the environment.

It also means that less equipment is needed in order to run workloads, reducing data centre space and the eventual e-waste footprint, due to consuming a reduced amount of electricity.

While useful in reducing an organisation's carbon footprint, virtualisation often relies on automation software in order to quickly provision, move, and scale workloads.

If such infrastructure is combined with the right skills and standards in operations and architecture, the use of automation will allow IT professionals to really make the most of their cloud-based infrastructure investment, pushing the limits of traditional consolidation and utilisation ratios.

When those ratios are pushed higher, it means that there is not as much of a need for physical infrastructure, enhancing the efficiency of energy and resources from server virtualisation.