Cloud Powered IT as an Energy Efficiency Enabler: A feasibility Study for Austrian public sector
By tjoa - Posted on February 21st, 2011
The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is growing in an alarming rate and the goals declared in the Kyoto protocol are far away. The role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is undoubted for reducing CO2 emissions. This role is recognized by scientific community, international bodies and national and international policy makers. The direct footprint of ICT amounts for 2%-3% of total global emissions and 10% of emissions in OECD-countries. ICT offers a huge energy efficiency potential across the economy and can deliver emissions savings up to 15%. As 75% of ICT footprint is due to its usage, optimization of usage is the area that must receive the most attention. ICT is a contributor to CO2 emissions and global warming but more importantly it is a key technology for fighting against global warming. The key enabling technology for achieving energy efficiency and resource optimization is Cloud computing which are centralized and highly scalable services that could lead to further capacity to virtualize or consolidate resources with breakthrough gains in energy efficiency. Underutilization is the main reason for energy inefficiency of current local solutions. Most of the servers are consuming energy but are utilized under 6%. In other words, the energy is consumed but 94% of resources are wasted. In public sector the situation is not different. According to Vivek Kundra, the CIO of the USA, federal servers are utilized about 7%. Even at a very low load the power consumed is about 50%-70% of the peak power. This utilization rate and subsequently the energy consumption can be improved significantly by Cloud technology. Imagine the energy saving of a single fully utilized server instead of 16 servers, each 6% utilized. Because of this impact the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has identified Cloud computing as a high priority research area. The international trend is also clear. More and more companies such as AOL, Starbucks, Canon and providers of renewable energy such as blueEnergy are turning to Cloud. One of the major application areas of Cloud technology is public sector. The Obama administration and other governments in Germany, Switzerland, UK, Japan, Taiwan and Korea as well some other countries have recognized this opportunity and are pushing the Cloud agenda forward, not only because of its cost saving potentials but also because of its impact on the environment. This potential has been recognized in Austria but unfortunately actual steps have not yet taken. Lacking actual steps means risk of losing technological competitiveness and the strategic markets of tomorrow. Public sector has requirements such as reliability, availability, business continuity and data security and therefore is a representative case for other sectors.In this project we envision to conduct a feasibility study for Cloud powered Austrian public sector in order to make the first steps in the right direction. The experiences and results from this project can be applied to other sectors such as finance and heath. The study will not only cover technical issues but also environmental, energy savings and cost reduction issues. This project will evaluate possible applications of Cloud computing in public sector, its costs, energy saving potentials and associated risks in addition to the technical issues. The results can be used as a basis for decision makers to make the right decision and choose the right technology.