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How Energy-Efficient Is Cloud Computing?

PhysOrg.com (10/08/10) Lisa Zyga

University of Melbourne researchers have found that cloud computing is not always the most energy-efficient option. Although previous studies on energy consumption in cloud computing have focused only on the energy used in the data center, the Melbourne team found that transporting data between data centers and home computers can consume larger amounts of energy than storing it. “The most important conclusion in our analysis is that, when comparing the energy consumption of cloud-based services with that of a typical desktop PC, we must include the energy consumption required to transport the data from the user into the cloud resources and back,” says Melbourne researcher Rod Tucker. “Without careful consideration of the power consumption of cloud services, their growing popularity will become a significant contributor to greenhouse gas production.” The researchers found that power for transport can be as low as 10 percent and 25 percent at low usage levels for private and public storage services, respectively, and nearly 60 percent and 90 percent, respectively, at high usage levels. However, the researchers predict that cloud computing technology will continue to become more energy efficient.


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