The cloud is the greener way to go

Posted on 11-06-2019 , by: admin , in , 0 Comments

I live in Northern Virginia, near Ashburn. If you’ve ever driven down the Greenway, the toll road through Ashburn, you’ll get an idea of the number of data centers in town—hundreds, with more being built each year. Is this the fault of cloud computing?

It really depends on who is using those data centers. They are never labeled for security reasons, but I think for PR reasons as well.

According to this year’s State of the Data Center survey by AFCOM, the average number of data centers per company was about 12, expected to grow to 17 during the next three years. Among these companies, the average number of data centers slated for renovation is 1.8 this year and 5.4 during the next three years. The data center business is booming. 

These are for non-cloud, enterprise owned and operated data centers. I suspect they will also have underutilized racks of compute and storage that the enterprises have to maintain. This is the culprit of IT using too much power, typically by avoiding public cloud computing.

The truth is that public cloud computing allows for sharing of compute and storage resources much better than we can do ourselves. Even though it takes up data center space itself, public cloud computing really has a positive impact, considering that enterprises are able to avoid building or renting data centers themselves.

I suspect that the data center growth rates listed above are because enterprises are not considering cheaper and more efficient cloud computing alternatives. Instead they are taking the easy way out, building or renting more data center space as a stopgap. Moreover, enterprises are traditionally horrible at utilizing their own compute and storage capacity inside these data centers. Even using virtualization, you’ll find that the average utilization of a physical server is between three percent and seven percent—I’ve checked.