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Network-based cloud computing is rapidly expanding as an alternative to conventional office-based computing. As cloud computing becomes more widespread, the energy consumption of the network and computing resources that underpin the cloud will grow. This is happening at a time when there is increasing attention being paid to the need to manage energy consumption across the entire information and communications technology (ICT) sector. While data center energy use has received much attention recently, there has been less attention paid to the energy consumption of the transmission and switching networks that are key to connecting users to the cloud. In this paper, we present an analysis of energy consumption in cloud computing. The analysis considers both public and private clouds, and includes energy consumption in switching and transmission as well as data processing and data storage. We show that energy consumption in transport and switching can be a significant percentage of total energy consumption in cloud computing. Cloud computing can enable more energy-efficient use of computing power, especially when the computing tasks are of low intensity or infrequent. However, under some circumstances cloud computing can consume more energy than conventional computing where each user performs all computing on their own personal computer (PC).
Date of Publication: Jan. 2011