Go green or go home: Green cloud computing guide for service providers

You don't have to be a tree-hugger to get behind green cloud computing. Improving the energy efficiency of your data centers can lead to significant cost savings for your cloud services business.

As demand for cloud services continues to increase, so too does the energy consumption of service providers' data centers and, ultimately, their negative impact on the environment. Although some providers are actively trying to reduce the irreversible damage that high-carbon emissions their facilities wreak on the environment, most providers have other prerogatives that take precedence.

Environmental responsibility for its own sake might not be topping the priority lists of many cloud providers, but perhaps it should. Here's why: High energy consumption results in high operational costs, which eat away at overall profits.

Going green doesn't have to be a daunting task. SearchCloudProvider.com has many resources that can help you explore ways to improve energy efficiency in your cloud services environment without hassle.

Table of contents:

Four ways providers can improve cloud energy efficiency

Improving energy efficiency is an excellent operational strategy that has the potential to benefit both cloud providers and customers, which is why Internet giants such as Facebook and Google have invested in custom-built hardware that minimizes power usage. But not all providers have the means to follow their exact footsteps. Still, some service providers have found other ways to master the art of cloud computing energy efficiency, and they have some suggestions to help fellow providers do the same. Their expert advice includes re-evaluating hardware-cooling requirements, revamping storage architecture, virtualizing your data center and more. They also reveal where real savings are to be had in your new eco-friendly data center, so don't miss your chance to save big.

Cloud's dirty secret: Its effects on data center energy consumption

With fewer hardware devices to support, a highly virtualized cloud will lead to lower heating, cooling and overall power costs -- right? Not quite. Loading up more of virtual machines (VMs) onto fewer physical servers does have its benefits, but it doesn't do much good in terms of data center energy consumption. In reality, energy consumption can actually increase if consolidation isn't done properly, and just having more VMs together on fewer hardware devices isn't enough to offer you significant savings. With all these misconceptions in the market, it can be hard to know the truth about virtualization's potential energy and cost savings.

How can we make our cloud data center more energy-efficient?

An energy-efficient data center offers more than bragging rights; it saves serious cash -- but how is it done, exactly? Data center expert Marshall Bartoszek offers some valuable tips to cloud providers on strategies to go green, including how to measure power consumption, equipment advice, expert cooling techniques and more.

A look at the world's most innovative cloud data center designs

SearchCloudProvider.com got the chance to speak with Cisco Press author Douglas Alger about some of the noteworthy cloud data center designs he encountered while searching the world for the most innovative and groundbreaking facilities for his book, The Art of the Data Center. Check out our Q&A with Alger as he offers us a behind-the-scenes look at his discoveries, including insight on which service providers are finding the biggest savings with green cloud computing.

CloudCast Weekly: Green clouds on the horizon, SDN meets SLAs

Are green clouds feasible? In this podcast, our editors and reporters delve into how data center operators such as Interxion are using renewable resources to fuel their cloud services and whether customers are really measuring providers by the greenness of their data centers.

Cloud providers eye Facebook Open Compute for savings, efficiency

Amazon's low prices have put the pressure on other cloud providers to cut costs, but they cannot compromise service delivery if they want to maintain a market edge. This has influenced some providers to take a look at Facebook's Open Compute Project -- a set of guidelines for building custom, energy-efficient hardware -- with hopes of saving some money by slashing energy usage. Open Compute seems to have the potential to help providers remain competitive, but just how cloud provider-ready is it? Before you come down with a case of "green fever" and jump headfirst into Open Compute, it's wise to read up on why it might not be as compatible for every provider as it seems.

Green cloud computing quiz: Raise your energy efficiency grade

So, you've looked over our green cloud computing resources and think you know what it takes to go green in the cloud. Now it's time to test your knowledge. This quiz will tell you if you really know how to turn your cloud green and save you some green at the same time.

Green cloud computing quiz