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Keith Walker, Master Inventor, IBM

Keith Walker, Master Inventor, IBM

By Keith Walker

Cloud. It’s the IT world’s darling. It’s fast, efficient, distributed computing that makes it possible to do everything from bank online to start a business. But despite all this goodness, could the cloud actually have a negative impact on…the environment?

After all, the actual “computing” has to happen somewhere and usually it’s in massive datacenters with thousands of power-hungry servers, network equipment and other infrastructure components.

Never fear, tree-hugging, EV-driving IT friends. IBM’s patent 8,549,125 gives cloud computing a “green” button that can distribute cloud service workloads to low-powered or under-utilized systems to minimize its environmental footprint.

But first a little background. Organizations need a way to deploy their business applications but don’t always have the ability or inclination to dedicate IT resources to the issue. So, they turn to cloud providers. From these cloud providers (such as IBM), they purchase things like server time, space, and storage capacity, all of which resides in the providers’ datacenters, and all of which is available “by the sip.”

These datacenters, however, treat all the applications the same. They’re up and running, sometimes because of need, as in the case of stock trading, or just to tackle a spike in activity, say, for holiday shopping online.

Adding an environmentally friendly option

cloud_routeOur patent lets companies route their requests to under-utilized servers or datacenters, or even to servers or datacenters powered by alternative energy sources. The idea is that if companies want to reduce their environmental impact, they could sign up for this option through their cloud provider. The cloud provider’s online set up wizard that walks IT administrators through questions such as how much capacity and bandwidth is needed, would also have an “environmentally friendly” option. The cloud service requests or deployments would then be flagged, indicating these services should be done with the lowest environmental impact available across the datacenter.

The cloud provider then routes the requests to the network devices, the server devices, even down to the code functions that will process that service to consume the least amount of electricity. It’s like purchasing a computer – you have the choice of buying a high speed hard drive, but do you need it for what you actually plan to do with the computer? Would something less powerful, but more energy efficient, meet your needs? Certain cloud services, or tasks within a service, don’t need a great deal of power, or can be done during off-peak hours.

The idea for the patent came from our team’s experience of buying energy from energy companies. They scale their service and price according to the energy – and kind of energy – they make available. For example, by paying a little more, they can guarantee a certain percentage of energy will come from renewable sources.

Why not do this for cloud services?

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4 Comments
 
August 15, 2014
2:07 pm

It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you shared this helpful
info with us. Please stay us up to date like this.
Thanks for sharing.


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May 10, 2014
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Posted by: Lola
 
March 11, 2014
12:09 am

environment friendly cloud service buyer is a good thought…but the complexity in energy efficient provisioning still remains the same especially around the distributed environment


Posted by: Rajesh Jeyapaul
 
November 12, 2013
11:16 am

Your idea has been in production with the greenstar network for several years now. See http://www.greenstarnetwork.com


Posted by: Bill st. arnaud
 
11 Trackbacks
 
December 31, 2013
5:24 am

[…] The work follows a patent IBM received in October for determining which facilities receive network requests based on those facilities’ environmental impact ratings. That sort of system could even be used if a customer wanted a workload to run only at a facility that draws on renewable…. […]


Posted by: IBM takes aim at cloud computing with lower carbon emissions | BaciNews
 
December 31, 2013
1:10 am

[…] The work follows a patent IBM received in October for determining which facilities receive network requests based on those facilities’ environmental impact ratings. That sort of system could even be used if a customer wanted a workload to run only at a facility that draws on renewable…. […]


Posted by: IBM takes aim at cloud computing with lower carbon emissions | Xcluesiv Cloud Technology Blog
 
December 30, 2013
11:36 pm

[…] The work follows a patent IBM received in October for determining which facilities receive network requests based on those facilities’ environmental impact ratings. That sort of system could even be used if a customer wanted a workload to run only at a facility that draws on renewable…. […]


Posted by: IBM takes aim at cloud computing with lower carbon emissions | Tech Auntie
 
December 30, 2013
10:55 pm

[…] The work follows a patent IBM received in October for determining which facilities receive network requests based on those facilities’ environmental impact ratings. That sort of system could even be used if a customer wanted a workload to only run at a facility that draws on renewable…. […]


Posted by: IBM takes aim at cloud computing with lower carbon emissions | My Website
 
December 30, 2013
10:41 pm

[…] The work follows a patent IBM received in October for determining which facilities receive network requests based on those facilities’ environmental impact ratings. That sort of system could even be used if a customer wanted a workload to only run at a facility that draws on renewable…. […]


Posted by: IBM takes aim at cloud computing with lower carbon emissions - The Headlines Now - Live News India, World, Business, Technology, Sports, Fashion, LifeStyle & Entertainment
 
December 30, 2013
10:00 pm

[…] The work follows a patent IBM received in October for determining which facilities receive network requests based on those facilities’ environmental impact ratings. That sort of system could even be used if a customer wanted a workload to only run at a facility that draws on renewable…. […]


Posted by: IBM takes aim at cloud computing with lower carbon emissions | VentureBeat | Cloud | by Jordan Novet
 
November 14, 2013
11:01 am

[…] From IBM’s blog: […]


Posted by: IBM has a patent to provide greener clouds — Gigaom Research
 
November 12, 2013
1:52 pm

[…] The cloud provider’s online set up wizard that walks IT administrators through questions such as how much capacity and bandwidth is needed, would also have an “environmentally friendly” option. The cloud service requests or deployments would then be flagged, indicating these services should be done with the lowest environmental impact available across the datacenter. ” – IBM Smarter Planet […]


Posted by: The Inspired Economist | Discussing the people, ideas, and companies that redefine capitalism and inspire positive change
 
November 12, 2013
1:30 am

[…] In a supporting blog, Walker goes into more detail about the idea behind the patent, stating that there would be an ‘environmentally friendly option’ on the CSP’s setup wizard. […]


Posted by: IBM patent offers greener cloud computing options | Xcluesiv Cloud Technology Blog
 
November 11, 2013
9:45 pm

[…] more about the new patent in Walker’s blog post or IBM’s press […]


Posted by: IBM patents a greener cloud
 
November 11, 2013
10:50 am

[…] patented cloud computing invention is similar to how energy utilities offer consumers ways to automatically access and pay for […]


Posted by: Made in IBM Labs: Invention Lets Companies Choose Greener Cloud Options - The Data Center Journal
 
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