Green power means greener computing, but is it enough?

Green power means greener computing, but is it enough?

Summary: Does "green" change your purchasing decisions?

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But is it enough of a differentiator to make purchasers choose services using solely renewable power sources? This is really the question that businesses supplying "green" services need to ask themselves. Beyond the fact that I believe that "green" is rapidly becoming a marketing buzzword, you have to ask yourself, what, if anything, extra that you are willing to pay for certifiably green IT resources.

What's got me back on this kick was the announcement this week by Greenqloud, an Icelandic start-up that is promising to deliver cloud services that use only renewable energy sources and to locate their datacenters in Iceland where geothermal power and natural cooling are both relatively easy to implement. (I'll refrain from commentng on the overly cutesy name)

I've still haven't seen any analysis that includes the potential volcanic eruption or earthquakes taking out your Icelandic connection, though I'll give Greenqloud the benefit of the doubt that by the time they are in full swing they will have an answer to those questions as well.

So answer me this; when you consider a location for your colo servers, or as a location to host your applications, or even as where a cloud services provider hosts their applications, is the level of "green-ness" really a concern?

Topics: Storage, Data Centers, Hardware, Telcos

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5 comments
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  • RE: Green power means greener computing, but is it enough?

    No
    MoeFugger
  • Green is hype.

    In my opinion "green" is just a fad. I'm not going to buy a more expensive version of a product because it is better for the environment. It makes no sense to me.
    Mcleary316
  • Green computing is a bonus but not a deciding factor

    Just to add the opinion of another IaaS vendor. We include greener computing as a part of our strategy and actually offer the only carbon neutral cloud servers in the world. That means not just looking at electricity but the full impact of our entire company including offices, travel, employee meals etc.

    The reality is that our customers choose between IaaS vendors based on performance, reliability, feature set and location (among other factors). Currently customers don't choose an IaaS vendor because it is 'green'. The fact that our cloud servers are carbon neutral is something that is a bonus to them and helps form part of their general environmental policy. Moving forward extensions on cap and trade and other such schemes will introduce a direct cost saving but for now that isn't the reality for most companies.

    We are based in Zurich, Switzerland which benefits from the Swiss grid. It is 95% generated from low carbon or no carbon generation sources. We have full details of our carbon neutral servers at http://www.cloudsigma.com/en/about-us/press-releases/157 and greener computing in the cloud at http://www.cloudsigma.com/en/about-us/greener-computing .

    Best wishes,

    Robert

    --
    Robert Jenkins
    Co-founder
    CloudSigma
    http://www.cloudsigma.com
    cloudsigma
    • RE: Green power means greener computing, but is it enough?

      @cloudsigma
      I found these power generation numbers for Switzerland:
      58% hydro
      38% nuclear
      4% thermal power plants, wind, photovoltaic
      Bill4
      • RE: Green power means greener computing, but is it enough?

        @Bill4 Yes that is right. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions the vast majority of generation is non-emitting or very low emission. Our offsetting is carried out by the MyClimate foundation who are an independent non-profit organisation and it takes into account the various generation sources. Of course electricity is only one factor and our policy covers all our company's activities including travel, employee meals, offices, consumables etc. etc.

        Kind regards,

        Robert

        --
        Robert Jenkins
        Co-founder
        CloudSigma
        http://www.cloudsigma.com
        cloudsigma