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Microsoft Responds to Greenpeace Cloud Computing Report

Francois Ajenstat Goes on Record Regarding Company Efforts

Greenpeace dropped some big caca into the water with an announcement just before April Fools' Day about Cloud Computing and its effect on Global Climate Change. Apparently angered by Facebook's commissioning of a coal-fired power plant in Oregon to feed a hungry new datacenter, Greenpeace named Amazon, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Intel, and others in its report, which presented several "demands" of how these companies should be behaving with respect to their carbon footprints.

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I wrote an initial story about all this, then sent out inquiries to all the companies mentioned in the report for a reaction. Some companies--notably Rackspace and Cisco--have extensive material available on their websites regarding energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, and related issues. This is a big topic, one that will take me some time to cover fully. One thing is for sure, it's not as if these companies are waking up today, thinking "OMG, we hadn't even thought of this issue!"

Microsoft was the first to respond to my inquiry. The response came from Francois Ajenstat (pictured), senior director of Environmental Sustainability. This is his full statement to me:

“In planning for and running all of its operations and facilities, Microsoft takes into account its environmental impact, including energy use and carbon footprint as well as land and water usage. We, like every organization and citizen, rely on the available resources and infrastructure native to the region in which our facilities are located, and that includes local utilities.

"It’s important to note, datacenters and cloud-based services can help people reduce their impact on the environment.  For instance, unified communications technologies can help people reduce travel and home energy management services like Microsoft Hohm can help reduce home energy use.  In our own operations, Microsoft is committed to maximizing energy efficiency and to innovating in support of environmental sustainability.

"For example, our Quincy, Washington data center was designed to reduce its carbon footprint by using the available hydropower as its primary source of energy and in Dublin, Ireland we use the naturally cool outside air to cool the datacenter."

A Microsoft representative also urges people to look at the agenda for the recently completed CERAWeek 2010 conference. The company also published a Smart Grid survey on March 11, and produced a report last year on its Top 10 Best Practices for Environmentally Sustainable Datacenters; the report can be found under the Environment tab at www.globalfoundationservices.com.

I'll keep updating as I receive input. Meanwhile, readers, tweet me up at www.twitter.com/strukhoff with your opinions and questions. I'll incorporate it all into this ongoing story.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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