Cloud has become one of the most frequently used words of this decade. It has broken out from professional discussions of IT developers, entered the public sphere and even conquered films and pop culture – by no accident.
A countless number of our daily conveniences can only be provided with the help of cloud technology and datacenter support. Microsoft datacenters are operating around the clock to support a wide spectrum of critical services from remote work, video calls, the life-saving work of doctors to essential services like groceries and online banking and public administration. More than 90% of Microsoft’s total datacenter operations within the EU are used by commercial and government business.
All those moments – along with countless conveniences that pack daily life – nowadays happen with the help of datacenters. These warehouses contain tens of thousands of interconnected computer servers plus the equipment needed to ensure the servers are always running, always available. And Microsoft runs a whole network of datacenters across the world with a high redundancy rate resulting in a great resilience against power outage, equipment failure, natural disasters, terror attacks, even wars.
The pandemic gave great momentum to growth the penetration of the cloud and helped education and a good part of the economy survive during the lockdown period. Hybrid work owes its emergence and prevalence to it. Now cloud is expected to help overcome the energy crisis and ensure operation in highly insecure environments. Many of us likely take cloud for granted as a means for storing documents and streaming shows and many more. And by all indications, clouds will only be getting bigger.
According to a report, the global cloud computing market is expected to reach USD 1,55 trillion by 2030, registering a CAGR of 15.7% from 2022 to 2030. By 2025, more than 85% of organizations will run on the cloud and will not be able to fully execute on their digital strategies without the use of cloud-native architectures and technologies. By this year, Gartner estimates that over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms, up from 30% in 2021.
Of course, various regions of the world show different pace of progress in moving to the cloud. According to the latest DESI, more than 60% of enterprises in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands use cloud services, Italy and Estonia follow at more than 50%, with Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria bringing up the rear, the latter scoring below 15%. Therefore, there is room for improvement in cloud penetration in the CEE region, which – due to recent developments – has even become a pressing urgency.
Despite the role datacenters play in so many aspects of people’s lives, most people don’t give them a second thought – Bill Briggs points out in his recent blog post. Cloud and data centers are crucial to keep businesses competitive, organizations up and running, countries to stay sovereign, industry to be able to tackle the current energy crisis and operate sustainably. As Europeans brace for the possibility of a wintertime energy crisis, market researchers and energy consultants are calling datacenters critical enablers of modern society – including how they foster hybrid work schedules that reduce travel and allow office buildings to use less heat and electricity.
Cloud helps handle energy shortage.
Now, when energy prices are skyrocketing, governments and businesses urgently look for power saving and energy efficient solutions. Hybrid work schedules have again become preferred as they reduce travel and allow office buildings to use less heat and electricity.
Whatever innovations organizations come up with, cloud will more than likely be a must for implementing them. For installing intelligent maintenance control systems – like the ones that automatically regulate interior temperature of facilities or upgrade energy efficiency capabilities –cloud computing capacities and cloud-based AI solutions will surely be required. With cloud, there is no need for companies to have their own hardware facilities, their own datacenter heating or cooling, their own network, their own backup, their own technology infrastructure.
Cloud lends higher efficiency to the exploitation of renewable energy sources for power generation. For example, Vestas Wind Systems in Denmark has successfully used artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing to generate more energy from wind turbines by optimizing what is known as wake steering. It used Microsoft Azure high-performance computing, Azure Machine Learning to accomplish their project. Qubit Engineering also optimizes wind farm energy production with Azure Quantum, capturing more energy with the same physical wind farm assets.
However, the sheer shift to the cloud results in a significant reduction in energy consumption. In a 2018 study, Microsoft compared the embodied greenhouse gas emissions of four of its cloud computing products with those of on-site IT and data storage solutions. The results found that relying on cloud computing could increase a business’s energy efficiency by 22 to 93 percent. Most of this improvement in emission reductions was gained through decreased electricity consumption via datacenters running in the cloud. Much of the reduction in energy and carbon footprint came from improved IT operational efficiency, equipment efficiency and datacenter infrastructure efficiency. Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability has been designed to reduce harmful emission, but it is a perfect means to keep energy consumption under control.
Cloud as a shield over daily life
The number of organizations opting for a mobile-first, cloud-based operation grew significantly during the pandemic, which enticed hackers to launch more, mostly phishing campaigns. This development had put a higher focus on cybersecurity and made such large clouds as Azure even more demanded because they provided the protection companies required.
In such circumstances, Azure is the only real solution both in terms of efficiency and economies of scale. For security is so critical to Microsoft’s business that the measures put in place are generally much more robust than any internal security policy. Solutions providing effective protection against a wide variety of attacks like Azure Sentinel and Defender Exploit Guard have become key and indispensable components of any effective, multilayered defense infrastructure.
Now, when a new wave of cyberattacks are threating the secure operation of companies and government institutions, it is the cloud and data centers that provide seamless and safe operation even in crises-ridden areas. It is Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty that helps governments remain in the forefront of innovation and transform their public services digitally driving digital transformation in the entire economy. By this means, not just an economic downturn can be averted or at least moderated, but the economy can be put on a growth path as shown by the example of Estonia, where the ICT sector contributes enormously to the country’s GDP.
The overwhelming majority of data stored in Microsoft’s facilities is owned by and dedicated to customers, making these datacenters an important pillar of economic activity and creation of local economic surplus and inclusive growth.
You can read more on this topic:
Critical to our modern society’: How datacenters power everyday necessities – Microsoft News Centre Europe