As the energy used by data centers around the world rapidly grows, so do the emissions they're responsible for -- currently 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. A new report issued by Pike Research indicates that cloud computing could make a huge dent in the energy used by data centers and the resulting emissions.
The study by Pike has some very positive figures. Energy use by data centers could be reduced by 38 percent by 2020 if companies continue to switch over to cloud computing at the expected rate. With that drop in energy use, emissions could be cut by 28 percent from 2010 levels. Energy costs could drop from $23.3 billion in 2010 to $16 billion in 2020.
There's still a lot to figure out when it comes to the exact benefits of cloud computing though. Greenpeace issued a report this year saying that emissions from cloud computing could triple by 2020, so the switch will need to be combined with other energy-saving efforts. But it's clear that cloud computing is a far better than the current, server-heavy, power-hungry data center model.
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