The complex layers of cloud computing sustainability

I’ve argued over the years that cloud computing is a step in the right direction when it comes to sustainable computing. My viewpoint often opposes environmental organizations that argue against the many new power-hungry data centers that cloud companies build.

The sustainability of public cloud computing is easy to understand. Simply put, cloud does more processing and storage with the same number of physical servers and data centers. How? Cloud computing’s multitenant approach puts more applications, data sets, and users on a smaller amount of hardware, at approximately 85% to 95% utilization of capacity. Compare this to traditional approaches where we own the servers and data centers, and the hardware resources are often utilized at a very low capacity, often 3% to 7%.

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