Businesses can cut their energy consumption by 91% by moving their on-premises applications to the cloud, research by US analyst firm Nucleus Research reveals.
The firm reached its conclusion after comparing the energy consumed by customers of Salesforce.com with the energy consumption of equivalent applications run in-house.
Salesforce.com customers saved the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil every hour, the study concludes. Businesses that move other applications into the cloud, could make similar savings.
"We looked at Salesforce because they have a diverse user base in terms of size, geographic location and how they use the application," said Rebecca Wettemann, Nucleus Research vice-president.
"Our view was that this was a good first proxy for customers looking at carbon consumption to estimate what the benefits of moving to the cloud would be," she said.
Cloud computing suppliers can get better deals on hardware, optimise their applications for the cloud, and load-balance so customers can gain access to computing power only when they need it, said Nucleus.
For organisations with a green IT mission, simply moving to cloud computing provides both a financial return and a tangible environmental benefit, the study concludes
Businesses need to identify what applications are best suited to the cloud, if they want to cut energy costs. Its best to avoid putting applications that have had a lot of customisation into the cloud.
"Those applications that are frequently used by a lot of users, those where you need remote or distributed access, those where you need a lot of flexibility to make changes, are likely to be candidates that generate green and economic benefits," said Wetteman.
Click here to read Nucleus top 10 IT predictions for 2011.