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The Green Case for the Cloud: Environmental Benefits of Cloud Computing

By Katie Sloane | Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

When considering going cloud, numerous quantifiable benefits come to mind, predominantly: cost savings, simplified management, ease of access, increased efficiencies and improved computing capabilities. Beyond these commonly denoted advantages is an inherent benefit that tends to be unremarked in the case of cloud adoption.

The green, or eco-friendly, aspect of the cloud is one of the most overlooked, multifaceted advantages of cloud computing. Let’s examine the green proposition for the cloud, an untapped solution for hedge funds and investment firms.Green cloud computing, eco-friendly benefits of cloud computing, hedge fund technology

Reducing a Firm’s Carbon Footprint

Global warming has been a hot topic for years, but that’s no reason for us to get cold feet when considering going cloud. A study found that for larger, established firms cloud adoption can cut energy use and carbon emissions by 30 to 60 percent in comparison to on-premise IT infrastructures. In the circumstance of mid-sized firms, carbon emissions and energy consumption can be reduced by a staggering 60 to 90 percent, and for smaller and startup funds, typical e-waste reduction surpasses 90 percent. The greatest impact, however, is contributed by cloud service providers.

Data Center Efficiency 

Today, more than ever, sustainability is transforming business operations and spearheading the collaborative effort to achieve an eco-friendly, low carbon society. Cloud providers are the leading drivers in emission savings, reducing technology’s impact on the environment through resource virtualization, continuous innovation and robust data centers. The scope of solutions spans security monitoring systems, computing technology and storage efficiencies, to name a few. Energy is typically lost in translation due to server underutilization, causing servers to sit stagnant and build e-waste. Data centers that utilize cloud technology require less equipment to monitor systems and manage workflows, freeing up energy typically vacuumed by machines and reducing the total physical server footprint. Furthermore, such environments provide the flexibility to expand your technology infrastructure as your fund grows.


Dematerialization or the substitution of high carbon physical products with virtual equivalents and activities helps to improve energy efficiency. For example, an international company that flies employees periodically for face-to-face meetings could instead host a virtual meeting, saving money, time and energy. Virtual meetings are made available via applications, such as Microsoft Lync, which delivers unified communications and enables users to seamlessly conduct online meetings, send instant messages and collaborate with colleagues. Overall, the solution offers firms the opportunity to improve communications and stimulate collaboration and helps alleviate some of the hindrances faced by those firms experiencing expansion.

Saving Green

Migrating to the cloud means fewer machines and less hardware, which translates into lower cooling and space requirements. The end result: lower energy costs and freed up capital that firms may allocate to other projects. From a global economic standpoint, the Smart 2020 report estimates that within five years, information technology-enabled energy efficiency will translate into approximately $946.5 billion worth of cost savings. Firms are constantly being pressured to cut costs, the crux of paradigm shifts in how firms operate and unfortunate downsizing. Cloud computing not only allows firms to reduce capital and operational costs (CapEx and OpEx), but presents an opportunity to streamline management and focus on revenue generating projects, rather than daily IT tasks and issues. What does this mean moving forward? The green case for the cloud unveils a compelling opportunity to contribute to something much bigger than the tumultuous business climate. Cloud computing presents firms with the ability to help mitigate the consumption of energy, reduce their carbon footprint and move toward a greener, smarter future. Undoubtedly, cloud adoption and improved efficiencies will become increasingly ubiquitous with enduring advancements in cloud technology and growing green awareness.

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Photo Credit: Google, Eze Castle Integration

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