OnApp has announced a new “greener cloud” initiative to help minimize cloud infrastructure CO2 emissions, and reduce the impact of OnApp clouds on climate change.

OnApp cloud management software powers cloud services for hosting companies, MSPs and Telcos in 93 countries. OnApp’s green initiative includes a new energy rating scheme for these OnApp cloud providers; a commitment to pay the carbon offset cost for all cloud compute infrastructure managed using OnApp software; and an upcoming grant scheme that will enable environment-oriented start-ups to apply for funding to help bring their ideas to fruition.

“Cloud computing has a negative impact on the environment, and as one of the world’s enablers of cloud, we’re part of the problem,” said Ditlev Bredahl, CEO, OnApp. “We’ve built more than 5,000 clouds since we launched in 2010. It’s time we started to take responsibility, so we’ve been collecting data and analyzing infrastructure across the global network of OnApp clouds — and now we’re offsetting the total CO2 generated by OnApp compute infrastructure, as well as helping cloud providers understand how they can reduce those CO2 emissions.”

The new energy rating scheme aims to give OnApp cloud providers an easy way to see how their energy consumption compares to other providers, and how much CO2 their cloud produces, and get suggestions on how to improve those figures. The rating itself is based on the number of active compute nodes in OnApp clouds; the hardware they use and published energy consumption figures for that hardware; average utilization rates; and an average energy to CO2 conversion ratio.

The same calculations are being used to sum the total energy usage for all compute nodes managed by the OnApp cloud management platform, globally. Using that figure OnApp will offset the CO2 generated by its customers’ clouds.

OnApp clouds already give service providers the means to minimize their carbon footprint, by optimizing utilization of compute nodes; by enabling them to provide cloud storage using software-defined storage and disks in the compute nodes already powered up, rather than a power-hungry external storage array; by replacing networking hardware with OnApp’s software-defined networking system; and by enabling cloud providers to use spare capacity in other OnApp clouds, via the OnApp Federation, rather than deploying new servers of their own.

“When it comes to choosing your cloud infrastructure, the same advice applies as it does to all kinds of products,” added Bredahl. “Ask yourself three questions: first, do you really need it? Second, is there a more efficient, environmentally friendly way to get what you need? And third, is the infrastructure you use wasting resources you don’t need — is it overkill for your workload? Through our product development and our supporting green initiatives, we hope to make it easier for cloud providers and consumers to choose wisely.”

OnApp has also announced plans to support environment-oriented start-up companies via a new grant scheme. Details of the scheme will be revealed in the near future.