Is Public Cloud Computing Green – Or at least Greener than Traditional IT?

Unfortunately, there isn't a simple answer to the "Is Public Cloud Greener" question as the only real answer is "it depends".  At the core of the question is that assumption that because you're theoretically using fewer physical machines more effectively, that you are thereby greener or more efficient.  However, even if we stay with that assumption, when you dig into the details of what being "greener" really means, you'll see that there's still no easy answer.

In order for cloud to be greener, it has to accomplish two things at a very high level:

  • Use less power, people, and resource than it's none cloud equivalent to do the same work
  • And, use power that is at least as clean, if not cleaner than the power you were using

While many of us make the assumption that the first bullet is true, we really have no way of knowing whether the second one is, unless the provider offers this information in some verifiable and transparent way.

The above discussion and the detail that supports it are covered very well in a recent blog/presentation done by a friend and fellow Data Center Pulse member Tom Raftery.  I highly recommend spending a few minutes with Tom's blog and presentation if you'd like to increase your understanding of the nuances of setting expectations with SPs, and creating or managing sustainable and green IT solutions.

Great job Tom, keep up the good work.



More thoughts on green IT

Hi Mark, I found more on green IT here I'll certainly check Tom's blog.

Wow - thanks!

Wow Mark,


I'm seriously humbled by your praise here - many thanks.


Tom Raftery