Greener, cheaper Cloud not far away

Swinburne Uni develops algorithm to calculate Cloud electricity consumption

Uncertainty over the electricity-based costs associated with Cloud computing could be a thing of the past thanks to breakthrough research from Swinburne University.

Using mathematical algorithms and the results of pulsar survey simulations, the University has begun developing more cost-effective Cloud computing models for IT departments.

The project's leader, Professor John Grundy, said the research was initially based on the electricity usage of large scale telescopes, however the next stage will involve applying potential energy savings to business applications.

“We wanted to look at the cost and energy consumption side of Cloud computing because Cloud is still an evolving technology, so for companies selling Cloud services, the cost model is evolving over time,” Grundy said of the thinking behind applying the research to business IT issues.

Find our more about energy efficiency in How Green is my Cloud.

“How do we figure out how much it’s going to cost us to use our company data and how can we work out into the future if IT is going to cost more?”

The mathematical model works by factoring the size of initial datasets, the rates charged by a service provider, and has functionality to be altered to include the cost of the carbon tax.

Gundy, who worked on the project with Dr Jinjun Chen from the University of Technology Sydney, said the IT industry may be caught up in a Cloud frenzy, but there are still some major issues that need to be dealt with.

“We’re dealing with very large data applications and the enterprise is a different IT application, but there is a lack of decision making tools that help people make better decisions,” he said.

“...I’m very interested in smaller enterprises asking if they should move to the Cloud when no-one really knows about how secure it could be.”

Security issues in the Cloud might be one reason for government bodies to be hesitant in moving, according to Gundy, who said sensitive data could be compromised if it is stored in a vulnerable Cloud model.

“This is quite new technology and there is surprisingly low knowledge about the impact of it,” he said.

“If you’re the ATO, having an unpredictable model is sometimes criticised, but I’d much rather my tax, benefits and super were running on systems that are carefully maintained.”

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