Singapore firms going to cloud may emit 76% less carbon

Photo by Lucas Law

The typical Singaporean enterprises and public-sector organisations that migrate compute workloads from on-premises data centers to cloud infrastructure could expect to reduce their energy use – and associated carbon footprint – by up to 76%, according to the Carbon Reduction Opportunity of Moving to the Cloud for APAC report by 451 Research.

Commissioned by AWS, 451 Research surveyed more than 500 private and public sector organizations across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, spanning a variety of industries across Australia, India, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. This includes over 100 survey respondents in Singapore. 

The report also found that cloud service providers who tap into the local renewable energy market to run their operations in Singapore on 100% renewable energy could further boost carbon emissions savings. 

If just 25% of the 1,300 Singaporean firms employing more than 250 employees put one megawatt of computing workload into the cloud, powered by renewable energy, this would save the equivalent of a year’s worth of emissions from 23,500 Singaporean households. 

“Customers in APAC who move compute workloads to the AWS Cloud can significantly reduce their carbon footprint, benefiting from the net effect of all our sustainability efforts,” said Ken Haig, AWS head of energy policy in Asia Pacific and Japan.

“APAC energy markets remain among the most challenging in the world for businesses seeking to source 100% renewable energy, but we continue to collaborate with private and public organizations to overcome these barriers and invest in more projects in the region,” said Haig. 

“In our survey, only Singaporean organisations outperformed the APAC average for both data centre server-level and facility-level efficiency,” said Kelly Morgan, research director on Datacenter Infrastructure and Services at 451 Research.

“While still low in terms of overall renewable energy penetration, the grid in Singapore is currently the least carbon-intensive in surveyed APAC countries,” said Morgan. “Yet, Singaporean organizations moving to the cloud could still see an average workload energy reduction of 76%.” 

The average server utilisation in APAC enterprises was just under 15%. By contrast, 451 Research shows that cloud operators use servers well above 50% to find the right balance between efficiency and application performance. 

The research also found that facility-level energy efficiency gains at cloud data centres, including the use of advanced power distribution systems and cooling technology, provided an additional 11.4% of energy savings. Cloud data centres perform the same workloads with five times more energy efficiency than APAC enterprises and public sector organisations.