Breathe Easy and Live Green in the Cloud

December 6th, 2018
Elaine Wang
Elaine WangDesign Lead

Think, for a moment, about the massive costs associated with a traditional on-premises computing environment — both in terms of the immediate costs to your business and the long-term costs to the environment.

Even a small business is likely dealing with a significant computing investment in two key areas: hardware and physical space. The computer in your office doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s connected to a server, which itself represents massive volumes of equipment stored somewhere in the building.

This is equipment that you must pay people to install, configure, and maintain. This hardware costs large sums just to operate every day and needs to be properly cooled 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to guarantee maximum availability and uptime.

green energy from laptop

On-Premises Environments Drain Resources

All of these factors represent an immediate increase in your overhead — in other words, if you truly want to build the type of 21st century, “always on” business that you need to remain competitive, you’re going to have to pay for the luxury.

But these hardware investments also represent a significant blow to our already-fragile environment, too. According to one recent study, the average desktop computer uses between 60 and 300 watts of energy. Actual figures obviously vary depending on what that machine is being used for and how it’s configured, but it’s important to note that this figure doesn’t include the screen itself — just the tower.

For example, if you’re using that machine for eight hours a day and it consumes about 200 watts of power on average at a total energy price per kWh of $0.10. This means that a single desktop computer is costing your organization about $59 per year in energy.

Now, multiply that value by the total number of desktop computers in your office — and then remember that you’re not talking about monitors, peripheral devices or all of your networking and server equipment — and you begin to realize just what a pressing (and costly) issue you’re talking about.

All of this also increases your business’s carbon footprint, which means you’re emitting a significant amount of greenhouse gases every time you come into work in the morning. This places additional stress on the world’s already-increasing energy demand, which puts even more pollutants into the area and contributes to issues like climate change in a more pressing way than ever before.

Live Green in the Cloud

Making the jump to a sustainable cloud environment, on the other hand, essentially has the opposite effect. But more than just helping you save money on your energy costs and reducing your carbon footprint, the move also enables you to do far more with far less — creating something of a perfect environment in the best possible way.

First, your energy consumption declines. Studies show that sustainable cloud environments and similar techniques help to decrease your business’s overall energy consumption in terms of not only computation, but also storage and communications as well. This, while giving you access to all the resources you need — just delivered in an on-demand way over the Internet as opposed to forcing you to set up, configure and maintain everything in-house.

So even if you were only concerned about your business and nothing else, sustainable cloud environments can help you save an incredible amount of money almost immediately.

Next, your ability increases. By making all apps, data and other critical processes available in the cloud instead of locally, you’ll be able to enjoy a new era of mobility like never before. Your employees can be just as productive out of the office as they can inside it — even if they happen to be halfway around the country on a business trip at the time.

Every device on earth with an active Internet connection becomes their “work computer” and the importance of this for long-term productivity and collaboration literally cannot be overstated.

Run Lean and Mean

But the most important benefit — and the most relevant to this discussion — is the effect that a sustainable cloud has on the environment. This shift immediately allows you to save a large amount of physical space in your office and reduce your energy consumption at the exact same time — again, all while still having access to the same resources you always did.

This, in turn, causes your business to have a smaller carbon footprint, which reduces the greenhouse gasses you’re responsible for and allows you to do your part to help maintain the environment as well.

The best part of all, however, is that all the money you’re saving can also be funneled BACK into either your business to create a more sustainable office in other ways (thus generating even more savings in the future), or to support the types of environmental causes that your employees and your customers truly care about.

In the world of business, it’s rare that you get the opportunity to both “do the right thing” and “do what’s best by your company” at the exact same time. If the sustainable cloud only brought with it an immediate reduction in your overhead and a huge boost to your team’s productivity, that would likely be enough for most people.

But when you also consider that it lets you plainly do your part to help leave the environment in a better condition than the one it was in when we got here, you’re looking at a once-in-a-lifetime chance that is far too important to overlook.