Cloud computing gets boost as energy costs skyrocket

Cloud computing

The increase in cost of power and cooling in data centres is encouraging the move towards cloud computing, according to US researchers.

In a conference call yesterday, Dr Jonathan Koomey from Stanford University claimed that rising power and cooling costs makes it more economically viable for companies to hold data in large centralised hubs.

The claim followed a study commissioned by Intel and Microsoft exploring trends in servers when it comes to power consumption in the data centre.

Dr Koomey said in the call: "Half of the total cost of these facilities [data centres] is cooling and power distribution. This wasn't true 10 or 15 years ago. The implication is the need to have larger centralised facilities to take this cost."

"This gives the advantage to people doing cloud computing, making it more economically viable to do computation within the cloud instead of your own data centre."

There were three benefits to the cloud computing model according to Dr Koomey.

The first was that cost per computation would be less as it would be spread over more users.

Secondly he believed the servers would be better utilised, or be able to handle more "diversity".

"An example of the diversity effect is geographically," said Koomey. "Companies would have peak demands at different times depending where they were based. This means the servers would be utilised throughout the day [and night] rather than all at the same time."

The final benefit he saw was the end to arguing over the budget split between hardware and power within a company's IT department as that decision was passed onto an external company.

The full report, entitled "Assessing trends over time in performance, costs and energy use for servers," is available to download here.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.