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GeSI’s new report on Cloud – a timely complement to Alcatel-Lucent’s work in CloudBand and Nuage Networks

Katrina Destree Cochran | July 8, 2013

By Katrina Destrée Cochran (@KatrinaDestree) Director, Sustainability & Stakeholder Engagement, and Philippe Richard, VP, Green & Energy Efficiency, Corporate CTO.

The Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI), our leading trade association just published a report on cloud computing, with particular emphasis on the how cloud’s enabling technologies contribute towards a low-carbon economy. The report was launched at an EU Sustainable Energy Week event in Brussels, in the presence of Directorate General of Energy, Mr. Philip Lowe. Alcatel-Lucent holds a seat on the GeSI Board and in this capacity, provided comments on the industry perspective of cloud computing. The parallel was made between ICT’s enabling role of reducing other sector’s carbon emissions (GeSI’s SMARTer 2020) and with this report, the cloud’s potential to reduce the sector’s direct carbon footprint.

The report was jointly funded by GeSI and GeSI member, Microsoft and received key contributions from Harvard University and Imperial College. About one-half of the report is dedicated to the methodologies used for the following figures: with 80% market adoption rate in the selected 11 countries, cloud can reduce 4.5 million tonnes of CO2e emissions abated, yielding approximately USD 2.2 million in economy-wide savings in energy expenses. The report was blind peer reviewed and was quite well acclaimed for its complete and transparent methodological approach, assumptions and data sets.

GeSI’s methodology (2010) was used as a basis for calculations. The shift to cloud computing focused on the greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of cloud based email, CRM and groupware.  The report identified policy barriers and policy instruments to consider for selected countries. In addition, a survey of representatives of associations (range of sectors) over a period of a year, yielded unique insights on the assumptions on cloud adoption, potential economic savings, confidence in vendor’s offerings and overall, readiness to switch to cloud based services.

At the EU Sustainable Energy Week event, Alcatel-Lucent made the connection between ICT’s enablement potential, noting the specific 35 solutions indentified in the SMARTer 2020 report (within six sectors, power, transportation, manufacturing, service and consumer, agriculture and land-use and buildings) and, how with cloud, the change levers (digitization and dematerialization, data collection and communication, system integration and functional optimization) would achieve more efficiency (reduction of operating expenses). We noted the allocation of emissions within ICT’s direct footprint may change (eg. data centers may increase, but then end-user devices emissions would decrease), the overall effect would be the net reduction of ICT’s direct footprint (both operating expense  reduction for the user and environmental benefits from GHG abatement).

The relevance of GeSI’s report on Cloud, is a timely complement to Alcatel-Lucent’s work in CloudBand and Nuage Networks.

Communications service providers have recognized the potential of the cloud and NFV to dramatically change their network and service infrastructure and reduce their operational cost including the cost of energy. With the cloud, service providers can better utilize computing resources and reduce spare capacity. Customers expect a reduction of energy consumption by 50% or more. But virtualizing individual network elements is not enough to realize the promise. Service providers need a coherent platform for NFV that optimizes the usage of the cloud resources. Alcatel-Lucent with its CloudBand solution is at the forefront of this evolution and works with Tier 1 service providers around the globe on making the cloud and NFV a reality.

Alcatel-Lucent has a long lasting commitment towards energy efficiency. This commitment has been recognized by many key stakeholders. In 2012, Alcatel-Lucent has been named Technology Supersector Leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and one of the top 25 performers in the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Caring for Climate initiative. On top of improving year over year the energy efficiency of its network products, Alcatel-Lucent is also committed to propose solutions to exploit the potential of the cloud through its CloudBand and Nuage Networks offers. Thanks to these offers, we aim at supporting our customers developing in a more flexible and efficient way their applications and services on the cloud. We also aim at facilitating the development of the Software Defined Network (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV). Thanks to this, more and more telecommunication applications and functions will benefit from the cloud flexibility and its energy efficiency.

Download the GeSI report, “The Enabling Technologies of a Low-Carbon Economy: A Focus on Cloud Computing”.

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