Greenpeace is calling on the increasingly cloud-based IT world to make its energy sources as smart as its technologies. In a new report, How Clean Is Your Cloud? the organization takes a grounded look at the cloud phenomenon, offers suggestions for improvement and calls out the worst offenders as well as sector leaders.
Apple, Amazon and Microsoft each received a thumbs-down, as theyre all rapidly expanding without adequate regard to source of electricity and rely heavily on dirty energy to power their clouds, reports Greenpeace.
Yahoo and Google, on the other hand, continue to lead the sector in prioritizing access to renewable energy in their cloud expansion, and both have become more active in supporting policies to drive greater renewable energy investment.
Facebook, supporting and storing the data of more than 800 million users, was also acknowledged for its efforts; its newest data center in Sweden can be fully powered by renewable energy.
Akami, an Internet content-delivery service responsible for carrying what Greenpeace called a tremendous amount of Internet traffic, was also applauded. Its the first company to begin reporting its carbon intensity under a new carbon usage effectiveness (CUE) standard.
According to the report, the cloud is expected to usher in a fiftyfold increase in the amount of digital information by 2020 and half a trillion dollars in investment in 2013. Explaining that data centers, many of which can be seen from space, are the engines that drive the cloud, Greenpeace characterizes them as the factories of the 21st century information age.