By Nudge Sustainability Reporter Maikel Bouricius
Sustainability is everywhere, at least many of us do agree now it should be embedded within industry activities and so on. But a field which is almost unexplored and underdeveloped at the moment is the greenness of services we use every day. Software, cloud services and applications do not have green standards or labels.
This type of tools and services are increasingly part of our daily routine and it is perhaps the most innovative field of business at the moment. Did you imagine you could live stream your activities with Periscope 5 years ago? Follow online courses like you can with Coursera? Or expand your business that quickly as AWS is promising you?
But what we do not know is how large their energy footprint is or how sustainable those services are from an even more holistic perspective.
This is going to change, and I believe the green cloud services of the future will come from the Netherlands. Through an unique collaboration of enterprises, corporates, academia and not-for-profit organizations regional expertise is being developed in the region of Amsterdam. The Greening the Cloud project is the second project on the topic, after Cluster Green Software. The aim of the latter project was to identify key performance indicators on green software, create insight in the footprint of applications and collect best practices.
Greening the Cloud is going beyond that and will create insight of the footprint of cloud services, based on scenarios and cases provided by a group of 10 enterprises. The project is an initiative of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA), but is involving both universities from Amsterdam too (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciencesand UvA). All three academia have specialised researchers on the topic. The HvA even has created a hardware lab to measure the footprint of software. The VU University started a specialised Master track on Software engineering & Green IT.
This developed is in line with the development of green datacenters in the region and a logical next step. Amsterdam is worldwide known as an internet and datacenter hub. With one of the largest internet exchanges and more than 40 large datacenters the region is very well connected and being a home for several internet giants and service providers. Amsterdam has made it a key feature to be a home of energy efficient datacenters in the region. Many of them have implemented innovative technology to reduce energy consumption over the past years and continue to look for solutions to do so.
Both developments make it possible to ensure we will have a green cloud in the future. And most likely it will come from the Netherlands first. The biggest challenge is to involve tech leaders from around the world in the future and share the best practices.