A new report has added further to the debate as to whether cloud computing is a greener approach to running data centres. A survey by Pike Research has indicated that the energy savings of cloud computing are "substantial".
In its report, Cloud Computing Energy Efficiency, the market intelligence firm claimed that the adoption of cloud computing would lead to a 38 percent reduction in worldwide data centre energy expenditures by 2020.
As part of its cloud computing adoption scenario, Pike Research forecasts that data centres will consume 139.8 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2020, a reduction of 31 percent from 201.8 TWh in 2010. The reduction will drive total data centre energy expenditures down from $23.3 billion in 2010 to $16.0 billion in 2020, as well as causing a 28 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2010 levels.
According to Pike Research, the report shows computing clouds are able to achieve industry-leading rates of efficiency. The report highlights the fact that only the largest of organisations would have the financial resources to offer the same levels of efficiency within their own datacenters. Pike predicted that much of the processing being handled by today's datacentres will have been transferred to the cloud by 2020.
"The growth of cloud computing will have a very significant positive effect on data centre energy consumption," said senior analyst at Pike, Eric Woods. "Few, if any, clean technologies have the capability to reduce energy expenditures and greenhouse gas production with so little business disruption. Software as a service, infrastructure as a service, and platform as a service are all inherently more efficient models than conventional alternatives, and their adoption will be one of the largest contributing factors to the greening of enterprise IT."