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Going Green with Cloud Computing

Cloud News Round-Up

Calling it a full-fledged tree-hugger may be a slight overstatement, but cloud computing is being viewed as an eco-friendly service that reduces the number of machines and the carbon footprint of enterprises.

Thanks to virtualization and server utilization rates of around 60-70 percent, large, shared data centers are usually able to employ fewer physical machines to achieve the same capacity as an equivalent number of in-house data centers, according to an article on GreenerIdeal.com.

Large data centers can also dynamically allocate resources where they're needed, where individual enterprises must often buy more machines than they need to handle peak data loads. This reduction in physical servers means less energy expended in running, cooling, manufacturing, transporting, and replacing these machines, and that can mean big savings over time.

In fact, it's estimated that a large enterprise can eliminate as much as 30,000 metric tons of CO2 from its footprint over five years simply by moving its HR application to the public cloud. That's the equivalent of taking 5,900 cars off the road.

Resource sharing is another way that the cloud can help your organization save the planet. It costs fewer resources to power, cool, and maintain one large data center than it does to do the same for smaller, compartmentalized data centers. In addition, large data centers can often afford to upgrade to more efficient equipment (insulation, building systems, and, of course, servers), thereby cutting down even more on energy expenditures.

Privacy Just as Important as Security: Cloud Businesses
Your SaaS provider may know you better than you know yourself and your business, which is a positive for some but somewhat of a wake-up call for others.

When it comes to cloud computing, security tends to be the dominant subject. While there are seemingly endless security threats, cloud providers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and capable in addressing them.

When it comes to privacy, though, cloud vendors have not made the same progress, according to an article on ReadWrite.com. In fact, it's more than likely that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies brush against the customer's perception of data privacy regularly.

Enterprise SaaS companies face their own unique challenges around customer data usage, even though those issues have not received the same level of scrutiny.

The challenging aspects of SaaS privacy arise from the close relationship between vendor and customer - a situation vastly different than in days of on-premise software. As the name suggests, SaaS vendors provide a service, and with that service comes the ability to log every keystroke and mouse click that a customer makes using their software.

The vendor and the customer need to fully understand the bargain and the trade-offs made between privacy and business value.

Cloud Computing Grows Up
Cloud computing is all that and then some, according to a recent report.

In the "TechInsights Report 2013: Cloud Succeeds. Now What?" report respondents indicate the cloud has moved beyond adolescence and is on the path to maturity in the enterprise. Survey participants - IT decision makers that have implemented cloud services for at least one year - reported they are achieving better results, faster deployments and lower costs than expected as a result of cloud computing implementations.

Luth Research and Vanson Bourne conducted the survey on behalf of CA Technologies to learn how cloud computing is being used, problems or successes encountered, and how its use changed as IT teams gained more experience, according to an article on The Wall Street Journal.

The report confirms that cloud computing is not only delivering on its major promises of saving money and speeding time-to-market, but also exceeding expectations. The vast majority of respondents reported their cloud implementations met or exceeded expectations across service models including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Experienced cloud users also shed light on the evolving nature of the cloud, and how their objectives and requirements for success change as they advance along the cloud adoption curve.

"Going in, we expected the results to be much more balanced between successes and challenges across a variety of deployments and service models," said John Michelsen, chief technology officer, CA Technologies. "Surprisingly, survey respondents were pleased with their cloud computing initiatives, which validates that the cloud is not just a fad, and instead they are focusing on making the most of it to drive innovation, speed and performance."

More Stories By Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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