Greening the Cloud

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Greenhost is always looking for ways to make IT more sustainable. Greenhost joined the "Greening the Cloud" coalition a project to do research on the energy usage of servers.

In collaboration with three other hosting providers and students of the University of Amsterdam and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences we will do a series of research projects to make cloud computing cleaner and more efficient. On June 10 2015 we had a meeting to discuss the ideas and experiences of all involved.

Greening cloud computing is not an easy job. Reducing your energy footprint poses challenges on many different levels. As computer networks consist of layers stacked on top of each other, the energy usage can be controlled on any of these different layers. From the brick and mortar infrastructure of our data centre to tiny little adjustments in a web-page, and everywhere in between, there are options to reduce energy consumption. To get a grip on where to start and what to do, we first need to have good measurements.

At Greenhost we measure a lot; CPU usage, RAM usage, bandwidth, disk operations, etc. Most of these are also visible to clients in the service centre, and are already available as metrics to help you optimise your website. You can also see the statistics of your site there; how many people have visited and when. But how do these numbers correlate to each other? There is a big difference between the amounts of energy that sites use for each visitor. If you have videos, huge images, and all kinds of scripts on your front page, your site will draw more resources than a static HTML page with caching turned on. Also, the kinds of sites our clients have vary wildly; from small personal blogs to huge news-sites with thousands of visitors and web-shops shipping hundreds of items each day. Good measurements are necessary to prevent us from comparing apples and pears.

presentation pictures
Mart gave a presentation on the plans of Greenhost

The aim for Greenhost in the Greening the Cloud coalition will be to get the numbers right and tell you, as a customer, how well your site is performing in comparison with sites that are somewhat similar. So we can say, for example, "your site is performing better than 63% of all the WordPress websites on our platform." Of course we want to add tips and tricks so you can make it to the top 1% performing websites.

We are now drafting a research goal for the Greening the Cloud coalition and will keep you informed by means of this blog and our newsletter. In the meantime you can check out the coalitions website at and follow @GreenCloudNL