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Public cloud use linked to reduced carbon emissions and energy consumption, finds 451 Research

IT analyst house 451 Research claims European enterprises could dramatically improve their sustainability credentials by shuttering their datacentres and moving their business applications to the public cloud

Migrating business applications to the public cloud could lead to dramatic reductions in carbon emissions and energy use by European enterprises, suggests 451 Research.

The IT market watcher claims European businesses could curb their energy use by nearly 80% and cut their carbon emissions by 96% by shifting their on-premise applications into renewably powered public cloud datacentres located in the European Union (EU).

These figures are based on modelling created through similar 451 Research studies in the US and Asia-Pacific in 2019 and 2021, respectively, combined with the findings of a poll the company conducted involving senior stakeholders from more than 300 companies across France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Sweden.

The 451 Research study, commissioned by public cloud giant Amazon Web Services (AWS), said the energy savings enterprises could achieve by downsizing their on-premise application footprint could be attributed to the greater levels of power optimisation that are prevalent within hyperscale, public cloud datacentres.

“Cloud providers use server systems with great attention to power optimisation, integrating the very latest components. These servers run at higher utilisation levels, leveraging the cloud providers’ ability to share and dynamically allocate resources among multiple customers,” said 451 Research in its Saving energy in Europe by using Amazon Web Services report.  

“At the facility level, designs that use less energy for both cooling and power distribution boost efficiency for cloud providers in their owned and leased datacentre sites,” the report stated.

And the results are even more pronounced, said 451 Research, when public cloud providers rely on renewable sources of power to run their facilities.

“All of this translates into considerably less energy used to perform the same unit of work – such as processing financial transactions, running business operations, executing online orders, enabling government services or serving web pages – than would be required at a typical enterprise or government facility,” the report added.

On this point, the report found that – when compared to the computing setup of a typical European company – cloud servers are approximately three times more energy efficient.

“We were struck by how much opportunity there is for European businesses to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions by looking at their IT infrastructure”
Kelly Morgan, 451 Research

“We were struck by how much opportunity there is for European businesses to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions by looking at their IT infrastructure. If you think of the electricity consumed and emissions produced by tens of thousands of companies across Europe operating their own datacentres, this is an area that appears to be overlooked,” said Kelly Morgan, research director covering datacentre infrastructure and services at 451 Research.

Chris Wellise, director of sustainability at AWS, said the report served to highlight the potential for businesses to cut costs, curb their carbon emissions and become more energy efficient by moving more of their workloads to the cloud.

He went on to describe the work that AWS is doing to ensure its datacentres are run in an environmentally friendly way, on top of its commitment to ensuring that all its facilities will be powered by renewable sources by 2025.

“AWS is continuously working on ways to increase the energy efficiency of facilities and equipment, as well as innovating the design and manufacture of servers, storage and networking equipment to reduce resource use and limit waste,” said Wellise.

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