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Billing consumers could help make cloud computing more energy-efficient: study

February 20, 2019 / ANDREW LYLE

Cloud computing services would be more energy-efficient if users were billed directly by providers, according to a new University of Alberta study.“In 2015, data centres consumed more energy worldwide than the entire United Kingdom consumed in the same year,” said Abram Hindle, author of the study and a U of A computing scientist. “That’s more energy used than a nation of 65 million residents. The costs are significant.”Cloud servers and mobile devices consume energy as they process information, and the excess heat they generate requires even more energy for cooling systems to avoid hardware failure.The cost of all that energy is invisible to end-users of cloud computing services, Hindle’s study shows. And until customers start seeing that energy—and paying for it—there’s no incentive for cloud computing providers to make their energy usage more efficient.“When I see my water use has skyrocketed, I check to find out why and tr...