As cloud storage becomes more and more the norm for both consumers and businesses, concerns are being raised around the cloud’s energy efficiency. Companies like Apple with their iCloud service have fallen foul of campaigns from the likes of Greenpeace, who claim that cloud storage data centres have poor green credentials.
It’s a claim that Laura Yecies, CEO of leading cloud storage service SugarSync, strongly rebukes.
“It’s totally ridiculous” said Yecies, speaking to Tech Digest at the launch of SugarSync 2.0, the latest version of the company’s cloud storage platform.
“Cloud storage is not 100% efficient, but it’s much, much less inefficient than the computer that you’re using.
“Some of these articles are saying ‘Well some of these dirty cloud server farms are only operating at 20% capacity’. Well home computers are only running at 5% capacity. The reality is that the cloud is much more efficient than masses of computers spread all around.”
Yecies claimed that it was in SugarSync’s best interests, both financially and morally, to be as green as possible.
“Companies like SugarSync, we are trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible,” Yecies continued.
“It’s in our interests to minimise the use of power, and to minimise the use of resources. An interesting fact is that when we buy a server, typically the useful life of a server is three years. Over those three years we pay more in power than we did for the server. So we’re very conscious of acquiring efficient servers; I’m better off getting a more expensive server that’s more power efficient. Does any home consumer even think about that when buying their hardware? No; maybe when you buy a refrigerator, but not for computers. Servers are marketed, sold and bought all around energy efficiency.
“For me as a server customer, running a data centre business, my biggest expense is power. We’ll run out of space at our centres not because of physical space but power requirements.
“Electricity consumption for data centres in the US is 2 or 3%, but consumers through their homes use way more than that. But all of it does need to get more efficient.”