IDC: Using the cloud could save 1B+ metric tons of CO2 emissions

If enterprises adopt the operational models of hyperscalers, it would maximize the reduction of CO2 that can be attributed to data centers, but just moving workloads to the cloud would help a lot.

network servers / data center
Cookie Cutter / Getty Images

IDC has released a new study, the first of its kind, that predicts that cloud computing could help to prevent more than one billion metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the next three years.

The forecast uses IDC data on server distribution and cloud and on-premises software use along with third-party information on data center power usage, carbon dioxide emissions per kilowatt-hour, and emission comparisons of cloud and non-cloud data centers.

IDC's forecast includes upper and lower bounds for the estimated reduction in emissions. If the percentage of green cloud data centers today stays where it is, just the migration to cloud itself could save 693 million metric tons over the four-year time period.

If all data centers in use in 2024 were designed for sustainability, then 1.76 billion metric tons could be saved. IDC's projection of more than 1 billion metric tons is based on the assumption that 60% of data centers will adopt the technology and processes that underlie more sustainable, "smarter" data centers.

"The idea of 'green IT' has been around now for years, but the direct impact of hyperscale computing can have on CO2 emissions is getting increased notice from customers, regulators, and investors, and it's starting to factor into buying decisions," said Cushing Anderson, program vice president at IDC in a statement.

To continue reading this article register now

SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)