Cloud computing and virtualization deliver a host of benefits centered around
flexibility and reduced costs. There is also a perception that they are more
environmentally friendly options. While this may be true to some degree for
virtualization, in the case of cloud computing, it is often a misconception.
When an enterprise migrates to a virtualized infrastructure, it most likely
consolidates down to fewer machines. Often consolidation is one of the drivers.
Sometimes new (and, thus, typically more energy-efficient) hardware must be
purchased to accommodate the increased workload per machine. In either case,
fewer servers running ultimately means a smaller carbon footprint.
The same cannot be said for cloud computing. In cloud computing, at its simplest,
you’re basically transferring your computing needs, or part of your needs,
to a different location. Sure, the enterprise sending its data to the cloud
is reducing its own carbon footprint, but there is no net reduction.
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