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Cloud computing may have a silver lining, but it's apparently covered in soot.
The silver lining is that public clouds compel companies to share servers, storage, and networks and run fewer machines at higher utilization rates than they would if they bought capacity individually. But for environmental watchdog Greenpeace International, this is not enough. The organization has issued a report to remind everyone that the world's biggest cloud providers are often dependent on coal-produced electricity for their operations – and has gone so far as to rank their major data centers by their sootiness.
Google does a bit better, with a an aggregate of 34.7 per cent of its electricity for three operational data centers – in Dalles, Oregon; St Ghislain, Belgium; and Eemshaven, the Netherlands – and five others under construction. But the newer Google data centers are heavier on the dirty fuels, which is what has Greenpeace miffed. (See if those searches for Greenpeace International come to the top of the page, eh?)