Thanks to the Register which pointed me to a report from Greenpeace – How dirty is your data centre 2011. I’d queried the green credentials of cloud computing in March 2011, with ‘How green is my cloud‘, but this report, whilst establishing and supporting the potential value of cloud computing, looks at the dirty detail behind the silver lining.
The report ensures that we consider the entire chain of being from electricity production onwards, but focuses on sources of energy used by some big users, their transparency and alternatives. Great work, but there are obviously a number of other ways in which the cloud might impact upon the environment in comparison with other ways of delivery. In the same way one can have food miles, there is the possibility of data miles to be calculated comparing the cost of all that old tin and the energy used and the costs in recycling and replacing the kit after a suitable lifetime.