A recent report from Greenpeace states that the proliferation of devices that use the "cloud," such as the new Apple iPad, could be killing the planet: "The report finds that at current growth rates, data centers and telecommunication networks, the two key components of the cloud, will consume about 1,963 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2020, more than triple their current consumption and over half the current electricity consumption of the United States -- or more than France, Germany, Canada, and Brazil combined."
Greenpeace states that it wants people to think about where all of this cloud stuff is leading: "It points to the use of dirty energy in the IT sector, namely by Facebook, which recently announced the construction of a data center that will run primarily on coal."
[ Fine-tune your network in two weeks -- for free! InfoWorld's Networking Boot Camp will help you double-check the fundamentals and show you how to optimize your infrastructure. The email classes start Monday, April 12, 2010. Sign up now! ]
I was told cloud computing was green, so what gives? The fact of the matter is that reports such as this fail to consider the shift in processing from on-premise to shared computing centers. Indeed, Greenpeace just focused on the impact of the new data centers being built to support the cloud, and not the end result of them moving some existing enterprises processing to shared public clouds. Moreover, Greenpeace didn't consider the impact of efficiencies driven around private cloud computing.