Archive for the ‘Green Hosting’ Category

Green Web Hosting

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Green web hosting is a new approach that many web hosting companies are taking with the way in which they are offering their services, providing businesses that are looking to cut down their carbon footprint with another way in which this can be achieved. Through a variety of different methods web hosting companies are able to reduce the carbon footprint of their web hosting services so that the use less energy without compromising the quality or the performance of the service that is being offered. Any web hosting company can take a few basic measures so that they can say that they offer green web hosting, but there are some specialist web hosting companies that go one step further and invest greatly in power generation technologies so that they are able to deliver a truly green web hosting experience to customers. Depending on how you go about it green web hosting may only be available at a premium, but most web hosting companies have now invested in power-saving equipment that uses less electricity whilst providing more power which will help to reduce their overall carbon footprint without having to increase the costs of their web hosting services.

What defines green web hosting?

Green web hosting is a type of web hosting that is defined by several different features that may differ between web hosting providers. These features consist of:

  • Power usage of equipment – the power usage of equipment can play a big factor in how green a web hosting company is because if they are using old and outdated equipment then this obviously wouldn’t have been manufactured to meet the current standards with regards to energy consumption – in order for a web hosting company to be able to provide green web hosting services, it is important for them to have invested in modern servers and networking equipment that are much more economical with the way in which they use energy and are able to provide a higher level of performance whilst using less energy – however, it is still going to be the case of the more powerful servers using up more energy than smaller, less powerful servers, but techniques can be applied to help stem the need for further servers such as the use of virtual machines
  • Where the energy comes from – one of the most important factors for web hosting companies to consider if they wish to promote green web hosting is where the energy that powers their servers and network equipment comes from because if it is provided by fossil fuel-powered power stations then this isn’t going to aid them with the promotion of green web hosting to any extent – many data centres are now adding wind turbines on their own sites as this will allow them to generate their any electricity, whilst any spare capacity can be sold back to the National Grid which will provide any data centre with the opportunity to generate an extra source of income whilst reducing their own electricity costs through the reduction in reliance on external power suppliers
  • Community involvement – some web hosting companies may choose to get involved with the local communities in which they are based with activities such as tree planting as these will allow the company to offset their carbon emissions to some extent by planting new trees that will be able to absorb the carbon dioxide produced by the web hosting provider’s activities – tree planting schemes can be costly and so for the most part web hosting providers don’t get involved to a great extent, but at the end of the day involvement in such schemes help to promote a positive company image and will aid them with the promotion of green web hosting services.

Are there any disadvantages to using green web hosting?

For individuals there can be some downsides to using green web hosting that need to be considered when weighing up the advantages of green web hosting. Such disadvantages may include:

  • Cost – because of the extra investment that takes place in more expensive technologies in order to allow web hosting companies to offer green web hosting services, the cost of green web hosting services can be more expensive than web hosting services that are hosted on older hardware appliances and less energy-efficient data centres and this can place green web hosting services outside the budgets of many smaller businesses that are simply looking to establish their web presence, as at this time it is generally larger businesses that are looking to develop their green presence in multiple ways as a method of improving their corporate image
  • Verifying green credentials – in some cases, particularly with smaller web hosting companies, it can be hard to verify the green credentials of the web hosting business because although some claim to be participating in tree planting schemes and using energy efficient hardware, verifying such claims can be very hard – however, most web hosting companies host their hardware in large data centres that usually put in efforts to offer green server hosting services meaning that if a web hosting company does claim to be using a data centre that offers green hosting then such claims are easier to verify than others.

In conclusion, green web hosting will allow businesses to reduce their carbon footprint which in-turn will allow them to improve their corporate image, especially to customers who are conscious of a business’s ethical and environmental policies. There are many different measures that web hosting companies can take to claim the green web hosting badge, but in order to offer carbon neutral web hosting services a web hosting provider will need to be actively engaged in community projects which involve growing trees and other environmentally tasks, whilst investment in modern servers and other hardware will need to take place to reduce a web hosting provider’s overall energy consumption. However, the investment will need to be passed on to the customer and so you may find that some green web hosting services carry an extra premium, this usually being with web hosting companies that specialize specifically in green web hosting.

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Green Hosting Explained

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

What is green web hosting?

Green hosting is the term that is applied to web hosting companies utilizing technologies that will allow them to become “carbon neutral” or reduce their overall carbon emissions in order to reduce the impact that they are having on global warming. There are a variety of different methods available and steps that can be taken to become a “green web hosting provider” and as the focus on global warming becomes ever more intense, more businesses are looking to improve their “green image” where possible and choosing green hosting is one way in which they can achieve this.

Electricity from Wind Turbines

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Using green energy sources is one of the main methods that web hosting companies are taking on board to help improve their green hosting image. Electricity from wind turbines is one of the most cost-efficient ways of achieving this to power data centre equipment including servers and routers because they are fairly cheap to install and yield better results when compared to other options. In simple terms, wind turbines deliver power to servers in the following way:

  • Wind turbines can be installed on the site of the data centre to reduce the need for the power to travel through the national grid as this can increase costs
  • The power generated is exclusively used for the data centre, any excess power generated can be fed back to the National Grid as this will provide the data centre with an extra source of income
  • The power can then be used to power the equipment that resides in the data centre, from servers to routers it is all covered and this is without the need for any modifications to the power supplies or the architecture of the power system.

However, the problem with wind turbines is that the generation of electricity is reliant on the weather conditions at the time because if there is no wind then there is no way for electricity to be generated. In such a situation any well-organized data centre will also have mainline power available for use if needs be. If a data centre can be built upon the idea of using renewable energy sources over traditional sources of energy then this will help to reduce the carbon footprint of the given data centre.

Energy Efficient Equipment

In an age where servers are becoming more powerful, people are becoming more cautious of their electricity usage and reliance on non-renewable energy resources. As power becomes more expensive, it is important for hardware manufacturers to develop new products and technologies that use less energy whilst still retaining the developments that have been made with faster processors and memory.

By adopting more energy efficient hardware in their data centres, web hosting companies will be able to reduce their monthly power bills whilst reaping the benefits of having access to more powerful hardware and routers. Such options for more energy efficient hardware may include:

  • Using newer processors that have been manufactured to specifically use less energy at the current generation of server processors, whilst maintaining performance and offering new benefits
  • Moving to use SSDs (solid state hard drives) that are based on more modern flash memory over existing disk-based hard drive solutions used by most server vendors.

Virtual Hosting

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Virtual hosting is another popular method being adopted to help save rack space and to reduce web hosting providers’ reliance on physical servers. Like VPS hosting, virtual hosting allows web hosting companies to purchase one powerful server and then merge existing servers into being separate virtual machines on the physical server. Virtual hosting is able to offer benefits such as:

  • Consolidation of multiple servers into one server, saving on rack space and reducing a web hosting company’s overall power usage because only one server will be in use instead of several
  • Virtual servers will be easier to manage over physical boxes because the daemon software that will be running on the virtual host node will provide you with additional software tools that will allow you to control the state of your virtual servers from the desktop
  • Money will also be saved if you are only purchasing one server over several because you will only be paying for the rack space used by one server in comparison to having to pay for the rack space that is being taken up by several servers.

In conclusion, green web hosting providers can achieve the status of being “carbon neutral” through the adoption of several different techniques that will affect their hardware arrangements as well as how their hardware is powered. The investment in renewable energy sources is long-term which is a reason for not every web hosting company being so keen on it as some will prefer to see instant results over long-term benefits. However, in an age where more businesses are becoming more interested in green technologies, it pays for web hosting providers to research green hosting methods.

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