Faced with more extreme weather events and dangerous heat episodes concerns about global warming and carbon emissions are on the rise. Corporate and cloud data centers are, unfortunately, part of the problem. Today, global data centers account for as almost as much CO2 emissions as the entire airline industry and consume more electricity than the country of Iran(1).
What’s most concerning is the rate of growth. Fueled by growing internet traffic, AI and IoT, some worrisome models predict that information and communications technology may grow to 20% of global electricity consumption by 2030 from just 2% today(2). Getting to carbon-neutral data centers will be essential to combat global climate change.
Waste in the cloud adds to the problem
Gartner projects that spending on cloud IaaS services will grow 27.6% to reach $39.5 billion in 2019(3), and according to InfoWorld, as much as 35% of cloud spending will be wasted(4). The ease with which cloud services can be consumed is part of the problem. Users are frequently tempted to use cloud resources even when capacity exists on-premises. It’s not uncommon for users to over-provision compute instances and storage or start cloud services and forget them.
(1) How to stop data centers from gobbling up the world’s electricity – https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06610-y
(2) On Global Electricity Usage of Communication Technology – https://www.mdpi.com/2078-1547/6/1/117
(3) Gartner – IaaS will grow 27.6% in 2019 – https://devops.com/cloud-waste-to-hit-over-14-billion-in-2019/
(4) 35% of cloud spending is wasted – https://www.infoworld.com/article/3344477/why-35-percent-of-cloud-spending-is-wasted.html