Green Computing – Office365 #greencomputing

English: PS20 and PS10 in Andalusia, Spain

English: PS20 and PS10 in Andalusia, Spain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cloud computing offers an amazing amount of energy saving, below I will describe the reasons why.

Office 365 and the Microsoft Cloud infrastructure offers effectively ‘collaborative computing’, Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in their datacenter infrastructures from which they lease this as a service (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS). The requirements for companies of all sizes to purchase, maintain and refresh their own infrastructures moves the financial aspect from a capital expense to an operational expense. This switch to operational expense allows companies to focus on innovation rather than maintain and administer. For a growing business this is ideal as a extremely well planned infrastructure refresh may still not last the porjected timescale due to unprecedented growth or infrastructure no longer able to cope with improving resources, drastically reducing the life-span of the expense. With Cloud computing , and in this case Office 365, the idea of ‘leasing of’ or ‘subscribing to’ a service allows businesses to concern on the operational costs and maintenance without having to plan for major upgrades and changing the way the company moulds around these new upgrades.

Adding new users?

Simply purchase an additional subscription.

Require more file storage?

Purchase additional cloud storage (without worrying about the infrastructure requirements that you would find with on-site equipment)


In the energy efficiency scenario, Microsoft are effectively paying the bill when it comes to their hosted cloud infrastructure. Servers consume a huge amount of power, along with the disaster recover equipment this can amount to a massive expense for any company, by moving to the cloud you can increase your power savings in terms of ‘green motives’ or simply the cost of energy.

Microsoft have greatly invested in their datacenters and with that utilise cutting-edge technology with regards to power consumption and green initiatives. At this kind of scale (1000’s of servers/hosts) Microsoft are able to utilise extremely advanced technologies, I will try to give you a good example of this below;

Imagine at 5:30pm, users are logging off their PC’s, laptops and are shutting down their machines, the server room however doesn’t have this advantage of being turned off, they need 24/7 power and no doubt a backup routine is deployed during the evenings. No shut down or home time for the servers, so they are sat there churning away, perhaps a little less ‘stress’ than during the day.

With the cloud computing scenario, time and power savings mean everything, in these huge scales, running hardly used servers is effectively throwing money away as well as annoying the environmentalists. In this scenario resource scheduling becomes amazingly effective. so we go back to our 5:30pm shutdown, but on this occassion the technology hosting the Virtual infrastructure kicks in, instead of sitting there half used, it will begin to migrate VM’s that no longer require resources to the same host, so although as a whole they may be using quite a lot of resource, it will enable hosts to be powered down and be sat in a ‘power saving’ state awaiting resources requirements to increase and as such power up from their slumber. Again, getting to the scale of this, you could effectively save power on as an example, 100 hosts – these hosts being the beefiest and most cutting edge servers available, are going to have requirements for a large amount of power, effectively turning these off when not used, is a god send to the idea of cloud computing. Why leave the light on in the attic if you have no intention of going there?


So that is effectively how these datacentres work from a green perspective, but from the company utilising this infrastructure, what do they save?

  • Downsize or offset office space.
  • Downsize onsite infrastructure requirements.
  • Expand the ability for users to work remotely (or globally dependent on your requirements)
  • Support the mobile workforce.
  • Reduce consumables use (printing, ink, paper, file storage costs).
  • Reduce hardware (desktop computers/server systems/UPS’s/cabling)

Server 2012 Migration scenarios #migration

Cloud computing comes to NERSC

Cloud computing comes to NERSC (Photo credit: Berkeley Lab)

Migration projects involving servers can be categorized in a number of ways, depending on whether you are deploying a new infrastructure, upgrading or consolidating an existing infrastructure, or implementing a new infrastructure such as moving to the cloud. Other variables also include whether you are fully upgrading your entire infrastructure or only some of the server(s). There are also other scenarios such as managed or unmanaged environments, and whether the infrastructure is small or large.

You will find there is no single process for migrating a server but by utilising one or some of the follow migration best practices you will find your upgrade will be successful.


Windows Server 2012 has many possible migration scenarios, below I have briefly covered the main ways to move to Server 2012;

  • GreenField – Scenario where there is no current infrastructure, for example a new start up company.


English: Main components of a Service within a...
English: Main components of a Service within a Service Oriented Infrastructure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • Forest Upgrade – Schema upgrade on current infrastructure using ADprep.exe command-line utility.


  • Mixed Environment – New hardware with 2012 and upgrade functional level within a legacy OS environment.


  • Server Consolidation – Using virtualisation to consolidate multiple physical servers to virtual hosts.


  • Private Cloud – Software as a Service (SaaS) / Platform as a Service (PaaS) / Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Utilising AD and System Center 2012.


  • Public Cloud – Hosting provider maintains a shared pool of resources – all customer data is fully isolated from others. Services such as Office 365 and Windows Azure offer this public cloud technology.


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