Eco-friendly technology and enterprise cloud computing would seem to have little to do with one another at first glance. Touting cloud adoption as enabling more businesses to 'go local' would also seem to be antithetical to what cloud computing actually is, yet enterprise-class clouds are producing tangible benefits in these two areas. There are a number of infrastructure improvements that cloud computing provides by consolidating business critical resources and increasing virtualization.

Energy efficiency
Hosted cloud integration vastly reduces the number of resources that companies must devote to data storage. Companies will require less resources to do the same work and can better optimize the ones they do use. This can reduce a business' carbon footprint in addition to saving money. According to TechTarget, a business moving its HR applications to a private cloud could cut their carbon emissions by 25,000 metric tons over five years, all while saving $5 million in the process. That's the equivalent of getting 4,900 cars off the road for a full year.

Utilizing data storage centers in the cloud instead of storing data in house can also lead to huge environmental benefits, as well as increased operational efficiency and significant savings, TechTarget reported. In-house data centers are rarely operating at a level anywhere close to maximum efficiency because they're set up to be static. New machines, staff and other resources must be in place to handle peak data loads, but when information storage and sharing isn't operating at full capacity, it can mean a lot of extra hardware sitting around. Enterprise cloud data centers offer scalable solutions, so that companies aren't powering and using resources they don't need. Businesses will also never have to continue paying for resources that are just gathering dust.

Additionally, turning critical operations concerns over to an IaaS cloud ensures that the focused solutions of a cloud service provider can continue to increase time, cost and energy savings into the future. Data centers are huge energy consumers, reported Forbes, accounting for 1 percent to 2 percent of global electricity use. Because data centers are larger and CSP resources are more concentrated on their maintenance and improvement, it's likely that CSPs will purchase better servers, insulation, cooling and power management systems.

Higher utilization levels
Enterprise clouds leverage better data storage center assets and scalable models into much higher utilization rates, which will be crucial to keeping environmental effects and costs down as more data storage facilities are needed. Most corporate, in-house storage centers can only provide a 5 percent to 10 percent utilization rate, TechTarget reported. Enterprise cloud data storage solutions can utilize 60 percent to 70 percent of the servers' capacity.

Going local
Using local services and establishing partnerships with other community businesses can lead to lowered energy consumption, since transit and operational costs will decrease. Latency and other issues that can complicate cloud systems and cause higher energy usage as an overriding technique can also decrease. ZDNet also noted that as many companies become concerned about the issues of international computing with regard to regulations, localized private cloud storage could save organizations some headaches in the future.