The IT energy crisis is upon us. Information and communication technologies (ICT) account for 8-10% of the European Union’s electricity consumption and up to 4% of its carbon emissions! So what role can have cloud computing on the quest for greater energy efficiency, you may ask. A number of European research projects funded under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme are proactively finding solutions to improve energy efficiency in cloud computing.
Potential benefits of Cloud Computing for end users
Lower computer costs.
A high-power computer is not needed to run cloud-based applications. Since applications run in the cloud, a desktop computer does not need the processing power or hard disk space demanded by traditional desktop software, or even a DVD drive.
With fewer programs using the computer’s memory at the same time, it will perform better. Desktop computers that use cloud-based services may boot and run faster because they have fewer programs and processes loaded into memory.
Reduced software costs.
Instead of purchasing software applications, cloud computing applications can often be obtained for free. An example is the Google Docs suite for consumers.
Instant software updates.
Updates to a cloud-based application generally occur automatically and are available on logging into the cloud. When accessing a web-based application, the latest version is usually instantly available, without need for an upgrade.
Improved document format compatibility.
All documents created by web-based applications can be read by any other user accessing that application. There are fewer format incompatibilities when all users are sharing documents and apps in the same cloud.
Unlimited storage capacity.
Cloud computing can offer virtually limitless storage. A computer's current hard drive space is small compared to the storage space available in the cloud. Note however that large scale storage is generally not available for free, even in a cloud environment.
Increased data reliability.
Unlike desktop computing, in which a hard disk crash can destroy personal data, a computer crashing in the cloud should not affect the storage of data, as typically cloud services provide multiple layers of security (see however Section 4.2 below for a discussion of data security in a cloud environment).
Universal document access.
Documents stay in the cloud, and can be accessed from wherever with an Internet-capable device and an Internet connection. Documents are instantly available independent of location, removing the need to carry them when travelling.
Latest version availability.
When editing a document from one location (e.g. at home), that edited version is identical to the document accessed from another location (e.g. at work).
Easier group collaboration.
Multiple users can collaborate easily on documents and projects. Because the documents are hosted in the cloud, not on individual computers, an Internet connection is all that is needed to collaborate.
When changing computers or moving to a portable device, existing applications are still available. There is no need for a special version of a program for a particular device, or to save a document in a device-specific format.
Source: Fielder A. et al., Cloud computing, Study prepared for the European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, 2012, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/studiesdownload.html?languageDocument=EN&file=73411. p.36.
Brazil and Europe have a long-standing, international relationship, including joint investments in IT through coordinated calls. Cloudscape Brazil 2015, 1-2 December 2015, celebrates some of the success stories to date, sharing insights on co-operation results tackling social challenges leveraging an EU-Brazil federated cloud infrastructure.
More and more small businesses are using the cloud to access markets more quickly, scale and grow without initial up-front costs needed for tradition IT infrastructures. Organisations that are not using the cloud need to start their cloud journey as soon as possible, particularly small and medium-sized businesses.
The panel of experts included Gino Thielemans, Head of IT Supervision, National Bank of Belgium; Noémie Papp, Legal Adviser, Consumer Affairs and Coordinator Digital issues, European Banking Federation; and Bruno Schroder, National Technology Officer, Microsoft. It was moderated by Florian Damas, Alcatel-Lucent, and Vice Chair, Cloud Council, DIGITALEUROPE.
For the past few years everyone has marked-out a constant increase in public and private clouds. Whether to adopt a public cloud approach (off-premise IT capability or application, provided by others) or go for private cloud (on-premise enablement of cloud possibilities with existing IT) has always been an incensed topic for debate throughout the IT industry and the business.
Today, the Internet of Things is rapidly building connections between devices, starting with wearables, cars and appliances. A recent report from Gartner forecasts that, “4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020.”
What does it take to achieve the triple win envisioned by the Commission: a better quality of life for European citizens, innovation and growth for a competitive EU industry and more sustainable healthcare systems for society? This particular workshop afforded participants an opportunity to hear the Commission’s views and those of major players in this field.