Cloud computing is cost-effective in a number of different ways, helping companies save money as it improves productivity and increases efficiency.
- You don’t need to buy more server blades or racks when you need to expand storage space and processing power.
- You don’t need a big IT staff to keep everything running.
- Top-of-the-line cybersecurity packages are often priced out of reach of all but the biggest corporations but are available through a cloud computing provider.
Cloud computing has one other benefit: It can cut back on energy usage and costs for companies. You’re already using a lot of power with your office’s different computers, printers, and other peripherals, but your data center may be a large percentage of your company’s entire energy budget. And you may be needlessly spending money that you don’t have to.
According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, many IT departments over-provision their data centers by buying more computing and storage capacity than they actually need. These computers are running all the time, “just in case,” which requires the requisite cooling and ventilation costs to keep the computers operating properly. It’s like leaving your car running all day because you might have to go to an appointment.
A cloud service provider will only charge companies for what they actually use. If you only have to increase your processing power for two days every month, you’ll only be charged for those two days, not an entire month’s worth of processing power. But if you bought new servers to handle that spike in usage, you’re no doubt going to run them every day, which means you’re also going to pay for those other 28 – 29 days of non-usage.
Additionally, you’re going to have to replace those servers more quickly, since their constant running is going reduce their capacities eventually; even turning them off and on as needed is going to shorten their lifespan and won’t save you any money. (If anything, it will shorten the lifespan even faster.) But the cloud service provider manages their own replacements, and those replacement costs are built into your regular fees and spread out over the months and years you partner with that provider.
Of course, your data center’s power consumption is going to vary based on the number of servers, racks, cooling loads, and the size of your server room, but you can get an idea of how much everything costs with a calculator — your IT director should be able to figure this out for you, and let you know the costs per server, per rack, and per server room.
Once you know this, you should be able to determine what future expansion costs will also be.
In 2013, ZDNet calculated that it would cost $731.94 to run a single server for one year. And while the technology has improved in the last six years, it hasn’t improved so much that the costs have been slashed.
Still, let’s be generous and imagine it costs $650 per year to run a single server. You’ve already got 10 servers, so your energy costs are $6,500 for a single rack of servers. But now you want to add five more servers because you need some additional processing power a couple of days each month, so you’re looking at an additional $3,250 per year just to power those five extra servers. (And let’s not forget the increased cooling and ventilation costs.)
With a cloud computing plan, you could just expand your cloud computing power for those two days each month for a fraction of the cost. Even if it was $100 per month, you’re still only looking at $1,200 in total costs, compared to the $3,250 in energy costs. (That’s in addition to the actual purchase, installation, or setup of the servers.)
If you’re facing increasing energy usage and costs because of your in-house data center, you could save a lot of money and energy if you migrated to a cloud service provider for most of your processing and storage needs.