(The Hosting News) – Efficiency is commonly touted by any company that looks to expand with a new data center. Not only does it help keep costs down, it lets a company’s network run more effectively while significantly cutting down on a facility’s carbon footprint.
The issue of cloud data centers was recently directly addressed in a new report unveiled by Greenpeace International on Tuesday. The environmental organization graded top companies on their data center initiatives in categories that included energy transparency, infrastructure siting, energy efficiency and GHG mitigation along with renewables and advocacy.
Emphasizing and explaining the issue’s importance in a Greenpeace blog post, staff member Casey Harrell said such cloud facilities “use lots of electricity, much of which comes from dirty, dangerous energy like coal and nuclear power.”
“This problem is growing fast. We found that if the cloud were its own country, it would rank fifth in the world for how much electricity it uses, and that electricity demand will triple by 2020!,” Harrell continued.
The company mostly applauded efforts from top companies including Google, Yahoo! and Facebook. “Google has been the most open in the industry about the importance of increasing not only energy efficiency within the sector, but also the need to move our energy sources to renewable energy,” the report stated regarding the Internet search giant.
Even though Facebook received a “D” grade for transparency, Greenpeace stated that the social network had made progress by taking “significant steps in putting itself on a path to being both a leader in energy efficiency, and powering its platform with renewable energy.” Facebook opened its Prineville, Oregon facility in April of last year and has plans for its first outside the U.S. in Sweden. Meanwhile, Greenpeace said Yahoo! was “in a position to help move the industry towards a clean energy future.”
While the above efforts received praise, the report contained scathing criticism of other tech giants including Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.
Discussing Apple, the report stated, “Given the lack of transparency, siting policy or a clear commitment to power the iCloud with renewable energy, Apple is finding itself behind other companies such as Facebook and Google who are angling to control a bigger piece of the cloud.” The popular maker of electronic devices including the iPhone received a “D” in all categories except infrastructure siting, for which it received an “F.”
However, Apple has already refuted Greenpeace’s claims, defending its iCloud data center. “Our data centre in North Carolina will draw about 20 megawatts at full capacity,” stated a representative for the company in a report from UK news source the Guardian. “We believe this industry-leading project will make Maiden the greenest data centre ever built,” Apple stated.
Greenpeace called on Windows creator Microsoft to focus on “the prioritization of installed and purchased renewable energy from the grid” while Amazon Web Services failed in all categories minus energy efficiency and GHG mitigation (where it scored a “D”).
Other sections of the report analyzed mobile power and global data center markets including those located in the United States, Europe and Asia. For more information regarding the matter, view the press release as a PDF here (greenpeace.org).