Change is a given in the Information Technology (IT) world and a growing trend in the IT industry is cloud computing. A new study by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) examines several financial benefits of cloud computing, including an environmental benefit: reduced energy consumption.

So what is cloud computing? According to Investopedia, cloud computing is “a model for delivering information technology services in which resources are retrieved from the internet through web-based tools and applications, rather than a direct connection to a server. Data and software packages are stored in servers.”

The new study, “Cloud Computing: The IT Solution for the 21st Century,” was conducted by independent analyst research firm Verdantix and sponsored by AT&T. Verdantix staff interviewed employees of several multi-national firms that have been using cloud computing services for at least two years and although the primary motivator for choosing cloud computing was cost savings, the study shows that other benefits were also realized.

The additional benefits identified include:

  • Reducing or avoiding up-front capital investments
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved automation and process efficiencies
  • Reduced carbon emissions due to reduced energy consumption
According to the study, companies surveyed will be increasing their cloud computing budgets from 10 percent to 69 percent of their total IT budget by the year 2020. This rapid adoption of cloud computing technology could lead to an annual energy savings of $12.3 billion and reduce carbon emissions by an amount equivalent to eliminating the use of 200 million barrels of oil each year.

Andrew Winston, author of "Green to Gold" and "Green Recovery," discusses the energy savings benefit of cloud computing in the report.

“With analysis like this showing dramatic energy reductions, I am optimistic about the role that the cloud can play in a low carbon economy — it makes business and environmental sense. It can help companies decrease their carbon emissions, improve operational efficiency and decrease capex on IT resources.”

Learn more about the environmental benefits of cloud computing and some barriers to adoption by downloading the report from the Carbon Disclosure Project website: Cloud Computing: The IT Solution for the 21st Century (PDF).

Photo: NetIq’s Flickr

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