Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Greenpeace Report on Cloud Computing Veers Toward Incoherence

The Dutch Organization Seems to be Doing Badly at Trying to do Good

A new Greenpeace report, entitled "Make IT Green: Cloud Computing and Its Contribution to Climate Change" has just been released. It encourages Apple, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others to be responsible in what power sources it uses for its new data centers.

It frets that Cloud Computing--defined in this report exclusively as the Consumer Cloud of gmail, etc. and all the stuff that people might download to the new Apple iPad--will have an enormous, deleterious carbon footprint.

Register Today and Save $550 !
Explore Sponsorship Opportunities !

Specifically, it excoriates Facebook for commissioning a new data center in Oregon that burns coal. This seems to have been the precipitating incident that drove Greenpeace to write this report. The recent Apple iPad announcement serves as a nice foil in the group's argument as well.

The report reads to me as an attempt to grab some low-hanging fruit for the purposes of a much larger, more serious issue. After all, it's easy enough to pick an Apple from the tree or face off with some other famous company to grab some publicity.

Not Written by Writers
A few statements in the report jumped out at me:

* "...the iPad received more media attention than any other gadget in recent memory." I guess that depends on one's definition of recent. It seems the iPhone received a lot of attention, as did the iPod, and well, any announcement that Apple has made since 1984.

* "Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs finally showcased his company’s latest creation before a rapt audience in San Francisco. From their smart phones and netbooks, the crowd feverishly blogged and tweeted real time updates out to a curious world." I'm not sure why the "finally" is there, but the cliche-ridden nature of this purplish prose makes me think its author should enter the next Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for bad writing (the contest's website notes its location as the place "where WWW stands for wretched writers welcome.")

* "(the) iPad...is a harbinger of things to come." Yeah, in the way that the sixth inning of a baseball is a harbinger of things to come. The iPad is just the latest in a long line of personal-computing devices that stretches back at least to the Apple Newton in the 90s, or maybe the crude dynabooks of the 80s.

Haphazard Inelegance
OK, so I think the report was badly written. That doesn't necessarily undercut any important message it might have. But I found its selective naming of names to be haphazard. For example, I wasn't sure why the Rackspace logo was thrown into an inelegant little graphic early on.

A nice fat quote from Michael Dell about how IT can drive not only an efficient economy but a green one was featured prominently, and confused me further, as it appeared without any apparent connection to whether Michael or the company that bares his name was considered to be a good guy or a bad guy by the standards of Greenpeace.

I sent out inquiries to the companies whose logos were featured prominently in the Greenpeace report: Amazon, Yahoo, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft. I also contacted the many other companies whose names were dropped into it.

I'm writing this story from Asia, so it was the middle of the night for most of these people when I contacted them, but I'll continue to update this report as I hear back.

Microsoft was the first of the big guys to respond. Francois Ajenstat, senior director of Environmental Sustainability at Microsoft, said in part, "In planning for and running all of its operations and facilities, Microsoft takes into account its environmental impact, including energy use and carbon footprint as well as land and water usage."

He continued, as follows: "For example, our Quincy, Washington data center was designed to reduce its carbon footprint by using the available hydropower as its primary source of energy and in Dublin, Ireland we use the naturally cool outside air to cool the datacenter." We have a separate story with Microsoft's full response.

Many of these companies also have extensive material available on their websites about their programs with respect to energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, and related good-corporate-citizen issues. Rackspace takes things a step further, and has a Greenpeace Initiative prominently featured at its site.

A Sub-Par Chart
I was also confounded by a chart that broke "ICT" (what Euros and Asians call IT) into several "sub-sectors."

The sub-sector chart appeared as a non sequitur to me. All of a sudden, there was HP! And Dell! Intel! And Ericsson (huh)? There was a telecom category, but NO companies mentioned! Oh yes, SAP was in there, too.

The companies were grouped in color-coded fashion, with numerous sub-topics scattered across it in the manner of a roomful of people thinking out loud, or perhaps chimpanzees trying to create Shakespeare.

The Numbers Missed It by Thiiiis Much
Then there were the numbers in this report, which themselves came from a study called Smart 2020. The study's were The Climate Group and The Global eSustainability Initiative, both Europe-based organizations. The problem with reports like this is they have an agenda going in. It doesn't matter if one agrees with said agenda, but it does matter that such a report will be written through the prism of that agenda.

The Climate Group says it doesn't have an agenda, yet its website says the group wishes to "set the world economy on the path to a low-carbon, prosperous future." You see, that's an agenda.

Even so, I would feel more confident in analyzing, dissecting, and reporting on the numbers in this report if not for yet another pesky statement that jumped out at me:

"While the Smart 2020 report did a very credible top-down analysis of global data centre consumption, it is important to compare this with a bottom-up approach. Based on the 2007 bottom-up analysis conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the estimated electricity consumption of US data centres is 1.7 times larger than the top-down analysis by the Smart 2020 report estimated for the US and Canada combined."

How's your weight these days, Roger? "Well, I'm around 200 to 340 pounds. I'm keeping good tabs on it."

What's the dosage of this powerful medicine, Doc? "Oh, between 10 and 17 milligrams, something like that."

Hey, what kind of mileage will I get on this new car? "Between 20 and 34 mpg." (Actually, that one's close to the lies what car manufacturers tell you.)

What's the escape velocity of the earth, fellas? It's important we get these folks in orbit? "Hmm, it approaches zero at some point, you know. But on the surface, I'd say somewhere between 8 and 12.6 kps."

The issue of global climate change is indeed a serious topic. It requires a much more serious report than this latest effort from Greenpeace, in my opinion. Has anyone else read it? What do you think?

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...