IBM secures green cloud patent

IBM is now able to operate cloud data centres more efficiently thanks to it being granted a new patent covering the concept of an energy efficient cloud.

The company stated the invention, called US Patent 8,549,125, will help it to promote green cloud computing and reduce the amount of energy that is used at cloud data centres and providers.

“We have invented a way for cloud service providers to more efficiently manage their data centres and, as a result, significantly reduce their environmental impact,” said Keith Walker, IBM master inventor, told CloudPro. "The efficient, distributed cloud computing model has made it possible for people to bank, shop, trade stocks and do many other things online, but the massive data centres that enable these apps can include many thousands of energy-consuming systems."

IBM added that the invention works in a similar way to how energy companies offer customers ways to access greener electricity automatically in order to cut back on the impact the customer is having on the environment.

The cloud is automatically programmed to channel requests through network devices, systems and software in the most energy efficient way possible. The patent allows cloud service providers the option to alter setup wizards so any service requests that can be performed more efficiently will be flagged up. An alert will then state they should be carried out with the lowest possible environmental impact across the data centre.

“It’s like purchasing a computer – you have the choice of buying a high speed hard drive, but do you need it for what you actually plan to do with the computer?” Walker said. “Would something less powerful, but more energy efficient, meet your needs? Certain cloud services, or tasks within a service, don’t need a great deal of power, or can be done during off-peak hours.”

IBM was actually awarded the patent back on 1 October and has only now decided to make details of it public.