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The Green Green Grasp of Cloud

My Initial Thoughts on Greenness and Cloud Computing -- More to Come

I've been in London this week, meeting with several people and organizations about cloud computing and its potential to drive the global economy by bringing efficiencies to IT - in short, about its potential to be "green."

The topic of green quickly devolved into an asinine political discussion in the United States, with very little movement. In Europe, Green parties have more power than in the US, but would certainly like to have more. Meanwhile, writers such as Bjorn Lonborg, who try to strike a practical middle ground, seem to be scorned by both sides of the debate.

But I must ask, what is the debate? The root of the problem is the modern-day proclivity to tie green to climate change, immediately and inextricably. But those with long memories will know that when the modern ecological movement first got off the ground in 1970, the consensus was that the earth was cooling. Green in those days meant cleaning things up, not cooling things down.

If we can uncouple green from climate change, and focus it in an economics-driven manner, it seems we might make better progress. The fun fact that I like to roll out is this: the Philippines (with 90 million people) uses 3% of the electricity per capita used by the United States.

How will it ever be possible for the country to begin to approach developed-country living standards with a gap of this size? Looking at things in the simplest terms, it will simply not be possible for the country to produce 33X its current level of electricity.

Many people I spoke to this week said the global electrical grid would improve if humankind can solve the problem of capturing and storing electricity. This enormous problem merits the highest priority in research and development, it seems.

Meanwhile, the global movement toward a green grid and more efficient datacenters - epitomized by the Data Center Maturity Model pioneered by London-based Thomson Reuters executive Harkeeret "Harqs" Singh - is moving forward. And my team and I are working on a way - if possible - to work greenness into our Tau Index algorithms - can green have a predictive quality in economic performance of an economy?

I think that all members of the IT community can be thinking about not only the efficiency of their datacenters and the datacenters they use by proxy through public-cloud services, but also the devices they are bringing into their organizations, and the focus of the products and services they're developing. I'm working to produce a green IT event in Manila in a few months, and will keep everyone in the loop about it!

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More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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