Gmail Makes You 80 Times Greener, Says Google - InformationWeek
Cloud // Software as a Service
01:38 PM
Connect Directly
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Gmail Makes You 80 Times Greener, Says Google

Google pushes study that finds Gmail almost 80 times more energy efficient than in-house email.

Gmail Add-On Boosts Support Features
Slideshow: Gmail Add-On Boosts Support Features
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
In its ongoing quest to convince businesses and individuals to abandon the archaic practice of operating their own servers and shift their IT operations to the cloud, Google has frequently asserted that cloud computing is more cost efficient than servers run on-premises.

Now Google can argue that the cloud is more energy efficient, too. Citing its own research, supported by related findings from the Carbon Disclosure Project and from a consulting professor at Stanford, the company says that Gmail is almost 80 times more energy efficient than in-house email.

Google green engineering product manager David Jacobowitz explained in a blog post that Gmail's superior energy efficiency is due to the fact that cloud-based services come from optimized data centers that utilize their servers more fully than in-house systems. Small businesses, he says, seldom build systems that operate as efficiently.

Google's report notes that for a 50-person office, choosing Gmail instead of a locally hosted server "can mean an annual per-user power savings of up to 170 kWh and a carbon footprint reduction of up to 100 kg of CO2." The gains for larger organizations, the report said, are smaller--enterprises already benefit from economies of scale--but still appreciable.

At a commercial rate of $0.10 per kWh, that translates to a savings of $17 per employee annually. That makes the already low price of $50 per user per year for Google Apps for Business look even more competitive.

Google also ran the numbers for YouTube and found that the server power required to play a minute of YouTube video comes to about 0.0002 kWh of energy. "To put that in perspective, it takes about eight seconds for the human body to burn off that same amount," wrote Jacobowitz. "You’d have to watch YouTube for three straight days for our servers to consume the amount of energy required to manufacture, package, and ship a single DVD."

However, the cloud math for businesses may be more complicated than solving the email equation for a green variable. What's the cost of surrendering control and having valuable data guarded by a third party? That answer isn't obvious for every organization.

And the clear merits of cloud computing become muddier when "greenness" is defined not just by energy efficiency, but by whether the energy comes from a clean source, a consideration Greenpeace supports. The IT industry's "failure to commit to clean energy in the same way energy efficiency is embraced is driving demand for dirty energy, and is holding the sector back from being truly green," the environmental group said in a report in April.

See the latest IT solutions at Interop New York. Learn to leverage business technology innovations--including cloud, virtualization, security, mobility, and data center advances--that cut costs, increase productivity, and drive business value. Save 25% on Flex and Conference Passes or get a Free Expo Pass with code CPFHNY25. It happens in New York City, Oct. 3-7, 2011. Register now.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll