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Cloud Computing is a Green IT Solution

If the 18th and 19th centuries were agriculture and manufacturing respectively, the 21st century is certainly known as the communications century. One of crowning achievements in business efficiency and speedy communications is cloud computing. However, in addition to increasing efficiency, cloud computing and green IT practices can also reduce greenhouse emissions saving millions per year in carbon emissions.

What does “Going to the Cloud” Actually Mean?
Cloud computing is a just a way to share resources and information over a network. The National Institute of Standards and Technology defines cloud computing as, “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications and services).”

Good for the Bottom Line, Good for the Environment
Economically, converting to cloud computing makes business sense. But cloud computing has another potential attribute, it is energy efficient and can substantially reduce carbon emissions.

It is estimated that by 2020 companies going to the cloud could save 85.7 million tons of carbon. According to the Carbon Disclosure Report (CDR) this savings in carbon is equivalent to the emissions of 16.8 million passenger vehicles. Financially, the energy savings alone would total more than $12 billion annually for the 2,653 global firms.

In addition, cloud computing can help companies with these other features:

  • Up-front capital investments (like infrastructure) is substantially reduced.
  • There are no additional hardware purchases or installation, so computing can be operational within hours, or minutes.
  • Since there are no administration headaches to worry about, your IT department is run more efficiently.
  • Companies will always remain cutting-edge with the latest updated cloud updates.

Evaluate Company Before Implementing
The Carbon Disclosure Report also offers valuable information to maximize cloud computing benefits for companies, as follows:

  1. Evaluate your enterprise-wide strategy. Firms achieve greater success implementing a cloud strategies after looking at an overall company investment approach, instead of combining a mix of cloud and non-cloud solutions. Targeted solutions increase efficiency.
  2. Look into the entire green IT estate. When creating a business case for cloud computing look into different elements of the existing IT model. The license fees may be transparent, but cost of supporting infrastructure and full time IT staff may not be quite so obvious. Figure out the entire spread of overall long-term cost and savings.
  3. Investigate the business process. Cloud computing offers a good deal of flexibility, so firms can provision or de-provision their services fast. Adopting a cloud model lets firms quick scale up or down as required, without spending additional money.
  4. Identify non-critical business applications. Firms repeatedly indicate they would not consider a public cloud where business critical data could be stored. However, they would be open to the idea of cloud computing for their less critical applications. Firms should make an honest effort into understanding applications which are non business critical and look into a public cloud solution.
  5. Synthesize Tools. Developers have normally used their own tools to develop IT applications. Firms should harmonize developer behavior so they all use the same tools, thus, facilitating a move to a cloud based platform.

The cloud computing service is a multi-faceted concept for all companies. No longer will firms have to employ their own dedicated green IT system with their own servers, applications and development platforms, instead, utilizing the cloud approach will save companies time and money. According to the CD Report, anticipated cost-reductions were as high as 40-50 percent when implementing an internal private cloud, instead of a dedicated IT platform.

[Photo courtesy of Telehouse.]