Who Has the Dirtiest Clouds? Apple, Amazon, but not Google

18 April 2012 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

Greenpeace reported that cloud computing may be popular, but generally it’s not very clean and gave Apple Ds and Amazon Fs, while Google got the best grades. The Greenpeace report entitled “How Clean is Your Cloud?” made these observations about electrical consumption:

  • The electricity consumption of data centers may be as much as 70% higher than previously predicted.
  • If the cloud were a country, it would have the fifth largest electricity demand in the world.

The Report had these findings regarding some of the largest IT/Internet businesses:

1. Three of the largest IT companies building their business around the cloud – Amazon, Apple and Microsoft – are all rapidly expanding without adequate regard to source of electricity, and rely heavily on dirty energy to power their clouds.

2. Yahoo and Google both continue to lead the sector in prioritizing access to renewable energy in their cloud expansion, and both have become more active in supporting policies to drive greater renewable energy investment.

3. Facebook, one of the largest online destinations with over 800 million users around the world, has now committed to power its platform with renewable energy. Facebook took the first major step in that direction with the construction of its latest data center in Sweden, which can be fully powered by renewable energy.

The Greenpeace Report is not surprising, but most cloud computing consumers do not take environmental concerns into consideration. Is this important to you and your business?

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