“Going Green” in your company means reducing the overall environmental impact of your business. Typically there are several areas that you will be looking at: energy inefficiency and consumption, materials (stopping waste and using sustainable/renewable materials), and finally making sure you use “Green” products, equipment and services. Some of the things you do will save you money; other things may cost you more.
Luckily there is one aspect of your business that you can change that will have the benefit of being “Green” and will also save you money: moving your IT to The Cloud. IT is frequently not focused on when thinking “Green” because companies may not appreciate the very large impact that their data processing is having on their carbon footprint – and their bottom line.
Did you know, for example:
· A medium-sized server has the same carbon footprint as an SUV achieving 15 miles to the gallon (Gartner Analyst Sept 2006)
· 100 PCs left on without power save settings will consume up to $11,000 of electricity per year (Global Action Plan 2007) and for every unit of electricity consumed around another half, a unit is required to dissipate the heat generated.
· Servers typically require as much energy to cool them as they directly consume.
· A typical PC has a carbon footprint of around 620 lbs of CO2/yr, which is the same as driving 611 miles ( HP Website).
So what is Cloud Computing? How can The Cloud help you make your company greener and at the same time save you money?
Cloud Computing is computing that is delivered over the internet rather like a utility service that delivers water or electricity. It can be accessed by pretty much any device that has an internet connection. The computing horsepower is located and occurs outside the business on external servers, so no computing hardware needs to be owned and operated by the business.
Moving your IT to the cloud is less difficult than most CEOs/CFOs imagine. It involves a relatively straightforward migration of vital enterprise applications, desktop systems, and any custom server environments onto new servers set up and run from a secure datacenter. Employees will access all their computing over a safe encrypted Internet connection. Ideally, a company will replace PCs with virtual Microsoft Windows desktop environments, complete with Microsoft Office™ software. Each user will be able to access their desktop using a PC, tablet, laptop, Thin Client, or virtually any Smart Device with a network connection. People will enjoy a truly mobile work environment and can access their desktop directly at any time and from anywhere!
Once the transition is made, all your servers are gone, you don’t need a server room. Because you no longer need to power and cool these servers, big savings are made and you have lowered your carbon footprint. And as the new servers created for the business at the secure data center are virtualized, this allows for great energy and computing efficiencies which in turn translates to savings that are passed on to you, the company.
Once you have moved your IT to The Cloud, the next greenest thing to do is to replace all PCs with Thin Clients. A Thin Client is small, has no moving parts, no hard drives, or noisy fans. Compared to the typical office PC is uses 1/10th of the energy or less and has three times the life expectancy. It is simply a local terminal for plugging in the keyboard, mouse, monitor and network connection. Users have a normal desktop experience when connecting with their Thin Client with none of the reliability headaches. By using Thin Clients, a company with 100 PCs can save energy costs of up to $5,000 a year directly without counting the HVAC savings made from not having to deal with the heat emissions from the PCs.
Now your company’s IT infrastructure is in The Cloud, it is easier for your employees to work flexibly. Anyone with an internet connection and the correct secure link will be able to access their desktop exactly as if they were in their office. CEOs could decide to allow workers more flexible work schedules, for example allowing them to work from home, telecommuting. They could allow employees to stagger travel time to miss inefficient and tiring peak time commutes, knowing that the employees can start work efficiently at home on their desktops. These options are Green options and help reduce the company’s CO2 footprint.
The move to Cloud Computing is underway. The Green and cost-saving benefits of moving your IT infrastructure to The Cloud are too substantial to ignore. By the end of 2012, the Gartner project that “20% of all companies will own no IT assets”. CEOs and CFOs would be wise to look at the option for their companies.