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How the Cloud Addresses Environmental Issues

April 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 144

IBM has published a report stating that 90% of the data that exists on Earth has been created in the last two years. To add to that, since 1980, storage capacity technology has doubled every two years. With the explosion of user-generated content that comes with social media and video platforms, this explosion in storage capacity isn't going to stop soon.

This also means that each user needs a different way of storing data. Indeed, while it's easier than ever to find external hard drives that can handle one terabyte of data, it also poses another great risk of failure: one terabyte of hard disk space can store the data of a lifetime - photos, videos, documents etc, but it also comes with the risk of that disk failing. How many computer users have you heard complain that their so-called "backup" disks have stopped working and data is now unrecoverable? I bet, up to a certain point, you've also lost some data along the way.

The backup and storage of data is totally a different industry and the cloud is playing a big role in this. If we consider, for example, the rise of online tools like drop-box, we can easily see that users need a different way to manage their data: a different way that will provide them with a huge and flexible storage capacity, but that also comes with a strong backup infrastructure.

On the other hand, an increasing number of publications are now moving away from print and into electronic editions for multiple reasons. One of the iconic examples is that of the Encyclopedia Britannica which will no longer be continued in the traditional printed form - a 32 volume edition that is the result of 244 years of work. Apart from the advantages that online editions bring (easily accessible compared to buying copies, and information can be updated in almost real-time) facts have shown that 85% of Encyclopedia Britannica revenue now comes from online sales and electronic editions.

So, behind all this exponential need for storage space lies a huge cloud computing infrastructure that need to ensure exceptional service level agreement. Most cloud-computing infrastructures occupy hundreds of thousands square feet space, that's usually backed up by a similar infrastructure in another physical location. While this may seem unbelievable, regrouping the entire infrastructure under one big roof actually reduces the environmental footprint of IT systems since one can implement a global strategy for preserving the environment. As an example, it's far easier to implement solar-power energy for the whole building than trying to have every user install solar-power at their house or office. For example, the Apple iCloud data center in Maiden, North Carolina, USA has implemented solar panels that cover the entire roof of this vast building. Another big cloud computing provider, Facebook is also implementing large-scale environment-friendly data centers and are setting up plants in Sweden.

My point being this - gathering together this rising demand for data storage by utilizing one major IT infrastructure under cloud computing solutions will give new opportunities to implement environment-friendly initiatives for IT solutions. And since there's going to be nothing but increase in the use of IT for years to come, cloud will help mitigate the environment impact of such exponential growth.

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Source: EzineArticles
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