From a business perspective, cloud computing is useful in a variety of ways. It can, for instance, allow you to more easily grant and control access to company data, enabling easier collaboration with remote, far-flung users. It can allow your employees to more easily work from anywhere there’s an internet connection. If you’re a hardware company, it can allow you to shrink computers to the point of near invisibility, even incorporating them into clothing or the skin, simply by offloading the processing function to the cloud and enabling some form of wireless connectivity. All of that is wonderful, but you may not have given thought to the idea that it might also be able to reduce your company’s electricity bill.

How Big Can The Savings Be?

A typical server boasts a 600 Watt power supply. They’re left running twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year. Multiply that by the number of servers you’ve got in your server farm, times the number of server farms you’ve got.

That’s your total power consumption.

How much do you get charged per KwH by your electric company? Armed with this information, you can come to an understanding of how much your servers are costing you in the aggregate, each year.

At the end of the day it comes down to how much are you spending on electricity to run your servers. If it’s something you’re heavily invested in, then the cloud can definitely save you a ton of money. However, if you’ve smaller scale, maybe you’ve got three servers stuffed in a closet at the back of the building, you’re not going to notice a lot of savings.

Having said all that, the savings, or the potential for them, isn’t the primary reason that people look to move their processing and/or storage into the cloud to begin with. Potential savings should, of course, not be ignored, and these should be rightly factored into any go/no-go decision you make. The practical considerations will, for most business, take center stage though.

In The Final Analysis

Potential savings should not be used as the primary justification for moving to the cloud or not. It’s a nice side effect, an excellent note in the “pros” column that might offset one or more “cons,” and if you’re on the fence about it, the savings could be the thing that tips the scales.

As a practical matter, however, the day to day impact on your business, the kinds of things cloud computing allows for, and how you can turn those things into a tangible advantage for your company are all elements that outweigh whatever savings you might realize. Come to grips with what those elements are, and precisely how you plan to use the cloud to grow your business, and you’ll be well on your way to deciding if it’s the right move for your company.

If you want to be on the bleeding edge of wearable computing, you’re going to need it. If you have a highly custom, very cloistered IT shop, it’s usefulness to you will be limited, even if it may yield some small amount of savings.

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