Turning Your IT Green With Cloud Computing: Facts Every CEO / CFO Should Know

“Going green” in your company means reducing the overall environmental impact of your business. Typically there will be a number of areas that you will look at: inefficiency and energy consumption, materials (stop waste and use sustainable / renewable materials), and finally making sure to use “green” products, equipment and services. Some of the things you do will save you money; other things may cost you more.

Fortunately, there is one aspect of your business that you can change that will have the benefit of being “green” and also save you money: moving your IT to the cloud. Often times, you don’t focus on IT when you think “green” because companies may not appreciate the huge impact their data processing is having on their carbon footprint and bottom line.

Did you know, for example:

A midsize server has the same carbon footprint as an SUV that reaches 15 miles per gallon (Gartner Analyst, September 2006).

100 PCs left on with no energy saving settings will consume up to $ 11,000 of electricity per year (Global Action Plan 2007) and for each unit of electricity consumed about another half unit is required to dissipate the heat generated.

· Servers typically require as much energy to cool as they consume directly.

A typical PC has a carbon footprint of around 620 pounds of CO2 / year, which is the same as driving 611 miles (HP website).

So what is cloud computing? How can The Cloud help you green your business while saving you money?

Cloud computing is computing that is delivered over the Internet as a public service that delivers water or electricity. It can be accessed from virtually any device with an Internet connection. Computing power is located and produced outside the company on external servers, so the company must not own or operate computer hardware.

Moving your IT to the cloud is less difficult than most CEOs / CFOs imagine. It involves a relatively easy migration of vital business applications, desktops, and any custom server environment to new servers configured and running from a secure data center. Employees will access all their computing through a secure, encrypted Internet connection. Ideally, a company would replace PCs with Microsoft Windows virtual desktop environments, complete with Microsoft Office ™ software. Each user will be able to access their own 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 anytime, anywhere.

Once the transition is done, all your servers are gone, you don’t need a server room. Because you no longer need to power and cool these servers, you make big savings and you have reduced your carbon footprint. And as the new servers built for the company are virtualized in the secure data center, this enables great computing and energy efficiency which, in turn, translates into savings that are passed on to you, the company.

Once you’ve moved your IT to the cloud, the next greener step is to replace all PCs with thin clients. A thin client is small with no moving parts, no noisy hard drives or fans. Compared to the typical office PC, it uses one-tenth the power or less and has three times the life expectancy. It is simply a local terminal for connecting the keyboard, mouse, monitor, and network connection. Users have a normal desktop experience when connecting to their thin client without any reliability issues. By using thin clients, a business with 100 PCs can save energy costs of up to $ 5,000 per year directly without counting the HVAC savings from not having to deal with heat emissions from the PCs.

Now that 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 make the decision to allow workers more flexible working hours, for example by allowing them to work from home, telecommute. They could allow employees to stagger travel time to miss inefficient and tiring peak-hour trips, knowing that employees can efficiently start working at home at their desks. 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 important to ignore. By the end of 2012, Gartner projects that “20% of all companies will not own IT assets.” CEOs and CFOs should consider the option for their companies.

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