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AWS study claims firms can slash carbon footprint by moving to cloud

03 Dec 2019

Organisations can cut their carbon footprint by 88% just by moving their on-premise data center workloads to platforms such as AWS - or at least that’s according to a new study from 451 Research, which is also sponsored by AWS itself.

While AWS is doubtless touting its own strengths as a cloud platform, the study widely illustrate the wastefulness of on-premise data centers and how third-part cloud providers can cut down on overall usage.

“Enterprises want to be seen as responsible corporate citizens, and many have made sustainability commitments and achieved progress in multiple areas of their operations. Yet even with an emphasis on sustainability, running data centers and IT is not a core competency of most enterprises, many of which lack the expertise and resources to make major investments in infrastructure efficiency,” the report notes.

“Similarly, most enterprises are not prepared for the effects of climate change (such as extreme weather conditions, drought or floods) on their data center operations.”

The 451 research report states that moving on-premise workloads to cloud (specifically AWS) can lower a carbon footprint by 88% for median surveyed US enterprise data centers, and around 72% on average for the top 10 most efficient enterprises surveyed.

451 Research also found that enterprises report being pragmatic about their workload consolidation practices, however the average server utilization rate was only about 18%, leaving a significant amount of capacity completely unused.

“Companies want to be seen as responsible corporate citizens, and many have made sustainability commitments and achieved progress in multiple areas of their operations,” comments 451 Research principal analyst for datacentre services & infrastructure, Daniel Bizo.

“Yet even with an emphasis on sustainability, running data centers and IT is not a core competency of most enterprises and they lack the resources to make major, comprehensive investments in infrastructure efficiency.”

451 Research also found that more than 75% of respondents said the electrical efficiency of their data center was below 80%, citing outdated or underutilized equipment that does not work well at low load.

Renewable energy also plays a significant role in reducing overall carbon emissions.

Amazon Web Services says it will continue to enable new renewable projects as we work towards our goals of achieving 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% by 2030.

"AWS has a structural advantage stemming from its organizational design, which aligns data center facility and IT teams, engineering expertise, and custom hardware with the cloud business model that helps drive server utilization much higher than is possible for enterprises," says Bizo.