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Green Clouds on the IT Horizon

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
June 8, 2010

Personally, I must admit, I've always been a little skeptical about corporations adopting the word "Green". I don't believe many companies truly fully adopt the "Green" termbeyond the marketing department, and for basic economic reasons. The reality is that corporations are mostly motivated by revenue generation and new "Green" technologies are expensive and an economic luxury that won't bebroadly adopted across all businesses until they really reduce costs and drive economic efficiency.

Don't get me wrong. I know every right-minded person cares about the environment and wants to adopt "Green" technologies. I personally have been lookinginto adding solar panels to my home; measuring how much roof space I have, checking county permit laws, figuring out the layout of the panels, and calculating how many Kw I can generate daily if I had solar. But then I look at the price and wham!, reality smacks me in the face. I can't afford it!

Fortunately, being "Green" has merged with economic reality in the world of Enterprise IT, and that merger is happening in the Cloud.

I don't think many IT organizations really track their real total resources they use to run their IT operations and realize just how much is wasted and inefficient.

Fortunately,, Appian's business partner in providing Cloud-based BPM, spelled it out in detail in a great presentation by James Hamilton called "Cloud Computing Economies of Scale".

The proposition is simple. Companies can greatly reduce cost and consumedresources by taking advantage of the economies of scale in joint data centers provided in the Cloud. As Mr. Hamilton points out, the savings in both resources and cost are huge (an order of a 7 fold or more savings for your typical medium sized organization and still significant for the largest of enterprises).

If you are really interested in learning how to cut the costs out of your IT operations and truly run a "Green" enterprise IT, I suggest watching the full 62 minutes of his presentation. Mr. Hamilton traces each electron from the power plant all the way to the circuit boards on your server and identifies all the places resources are wasted. He also traces the detailed costs of every component in your corporate IT operations, from the servers to the people, and clearly shows how huge savings can be achieved by moving into the Cloud.

When you add to the fact that many major cloud data centers like Amazon's are powered by non-polluting hydro-electric power, the choice becomes obvious: The future of Green IT is in the Cloud.

Malcolm Ross

Director Product Management