How the Cloud Can Reduce Energy Consumption for a Small Business

Energy is a significant cost to any business, so it makes sense for companies to find ways to save energy and, thus, save money spent on energy bills. For many businesses, the biggest energy hogs can be found in the IT department – the servers that store data, and all the necessary heating and cooling and other operations to make sure those servers stay running.

A simple way to cut energy consumption (and energy costs) is to move data to cloud servers.

According to a report by the Carbon Disclosure Project, cloud computing can reduce a company’s energy consumption and lower carbon emissions. Reporting on the study, Forbes Magazine pointed out: “By 2020, the group estimates, large US companies that use cloud computing can achieve annual energy savings of $12.3 billion and annual carbon reductions equivalent to 200 million barrels of oil.”

Another study by Accenture found that a small business could reduce its energy consumption by up to 90% by utilizing the cloud.

“In its simplest form, outsourcing IT workloads to a cloud provider inherently means reduced energy consumption and investment in IT equipment,” said Antonio Piraino, CTO with ScienceLogic.

Piraino provided five ways in which the cloud lowers energy consumption for a company. They are:

  1. Operate workloads closer to saturation, thereby reducing work per week per hour
  2. Send apps to live in data centers that have been optimized for energy efficiency and low power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratios.
  3. The cloud service provider, by virtue of profitability factor, is always going to be incentivized to lower operating costs of the datacenter – with energy being key.
  4. Reduce manual, paper-oriented spreadsheets and tape-backups with digital archiving and redundancy. This reduces logistical carbon footprint otherwise produced by manual paper delivery of documentation.
  5. Moving workloads to where energy is readily available at any given time of day or night.

According to CDW’s 2012 Energy Efficient IT Report, companies want to do a better job at lowering energy consumption, and the number one way they are currently doing it is with virtualization.

“Cloud computing could become a game changer for energy-efficient IT, as cloud computing is about efficiency in every respect,” the report said.

More companies are realizing that cloud computing can provide greater efficiency as 62% of survey respondents agree with the idea that cloud computing is an energy efficient approach, a huge jump from the 47% who said the same thing the year before.

As the Accenture study found, companies willing to migrate to cloud computing will help improve sustainability goals, reduce the company’s carbon footprint, reduce energy consumption and be more cost efficient – a lot of wins for any company.

Author Bio: This post is by Rackspace blogger Sue Poremba. Rackspace Hosting is the service leader in cloud computing, and a founder of OpenStack, an open source cloud operating system. The San Antonio-based company provides Fanatical Support to its customers and partners, across a portfolio of IT services, including Managed Hosting and Cloud Computing. 

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