New Study Reveals the Environmental Benefits of Moving to the Cloud

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Environmental Sustainability Team

New Study Reveals the Environmental Benefits of Moving to the Cloud

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Today we released the findings of a new study that looked at the energy and carbon emissions associated with cloud computing.  Together with our partners Accenture and WSP Environment and Energy, we conducted a Lifecycle Assessment to provide a clearer picture of the environmental impact of moving certain applications to the cloud. There have been a lot of discussions and questions in the IT industry around this topic in the last several months, and our hope is that this study will help to move this dialogue forward.  


The analysis focused on three of Microsoft’s mainstream business applications – Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Sharepoint and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and compared them to their cloud-based equivalents: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Dynamics CRM Online. The study shows that customers who choose to run these applications in the cloud can reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions on a per-user basis by at least 30 percent versus running those same applications on-premise.  The benefits are even more impressive for smaller businesses who have the potential to realize energy and carbon savings of more than 90 percent.

As the study findings show, the environmental benefits stem from large datacenter operators like Microsoft who bring economies of scale and operational efficiencies beyond what smaller, resource constrained IT departments can achieve. Think of it like mass transit, where the energy savings from moving thousands of single-occupancy vehicles off the road has a significant environmental impact.  Several of the key drivers for lowering energy and carbon include:

·         Dynamic Provisioning – Large IT operations and datacenters enable better matching of server capacity to demand on an ongoing basis.

·         Multi-Tenancy – Large public cloud environments are able to serve millions of users at thousands of companies simultaneously on large shared infrastructure.

·         Server Utilization – Cloud providers can drive efficiencies by increasing the portion of a server’s capacity that an application actively uses, thereby performing higher workloads with a smaller infrastructure footprint.

·         Datacenter Efficiency – Through innovation and continuous improvement, cloud providers are leading the way in designing, building and operating data centers that minimize energy use for a given amount of computing power.


We think this study highlights cloud computing’s potential to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions of business applications.  It also highlights the key drivers for datacenter efficiency that any organization can consider.  We hope the study provides new insights for organizations looking for new ways to achieve their efficiency and sustainability goals.


To download a copy of the whitepaper, go here. 

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