Today while doing some research, I came across this article from 2009. I saw the title “Green IT: Off-site servers mean friendlier energy bill for insurance firm.” and thought “That sounds similar to an article we did several years ago.” Amazing, with all the content online, that one- it’s still out there, and two- I actually came across it. It definitely reinforces the notion that once it’s on the net, it’s always on the net. Sorta sounds like a twisted geek version of the “What happens in Vegas…”adage. After reviewing the article, I began to think about just how far we’ve come since 2009 and how, even then, we were an innovator in this region when it came to Cloud Services for the Small to Medium Sized businesses space. Fast-forward six years, and we have over 50x the cloud computing power and storage than we did in 2009, another co-location facility, thousands more systems under our management, and a mature (MSP) Managed Services Model that many technology companies similar to ours are only starting to adopt.
One of the main things that I took away from this article is how the value of transitioning to the cloud has become passé. As we evolve with the dynamic MSP/Cloud model strategic (both technological and business) logic has become the focus of these conversations. Many small to medium-sized business owners don’t understand the overall value of transitioning away from their traditional physical server environment. The folks in our industry are so deep in the weeds we often miss the first few chapters of our good read by starting the discussion with strategic benefits of MSP and Cloud offerings.
Here is the original article as it appeared in the Albany Business Review (you can go to the original link here, if you’d like):
Editor’s note: This week’s special section looks at ways companies are tapping technology to get greener. Included are several examples from the Capital Region.
Benefits by Design in Clifton Park slashed its power usage and reduced operating expenses by 20 percent when it moved its servers off site a year ago.
Steve Small, manager of Benefits By Design in Clifton Park, displays the company’s new… more
“Back then, technology represented half of our energy consumption,” said manager Steve Small, whose four-person company provides insurance coverage for the transportation industry.
This is a process called collocation. It allows companies to house their data off site and decrease the amount of hardware they need. It’s an alternative for businesses that don’t want to buy and manage their own server hardware, said Dan Bardin, chief operating officer of Tech II Business Services Inc. in Saratoga Springs, a technology consultancy that provides secure hosted services for Benefits by Design and other businesses. Collocation also eliminates the customer’s need for dedicated secure space, cooling equipment and special commercial and backup power.
“This is a very different way of managing your technology,” Bardin said.
He estimates that Benefits by Design saved between 50,000 and 75,000 kilowatt hours, or between $3,700 and $5,625, and reduced carbon emissions by 6.6 tons, since the company collocated its four servers at Tech II’s data center 12 months ago.
The transition and others like it have even bigger energy-saving implications: Because of advances in technology, Tech II powers hundreds of small business environments using the same amount of energy that Benefits by Design employed to power its technology. Then there are other benefits, like the gallons of gasoline saved because service and repair calls to Benefits by Design’s offices ceased, Bardin said. Collocation is only the first step in the company’s effort to lower its carbon footprint and its technology costs. Next, the company will move to total virtualization.
As the time drew near to replace the company’s four servers—a cost estimated at $40,000 or more—Small, the Benefits by Design manager, decided to shift to decommission its servers. The business will be completely virtual in about six weeks, Small said. “In addition to the cost savings, it will decrease our power consumption even more,” he said.
Virtualization is a model in which administrators configure software that allows a business to run multiple “virtual servers” on a single computer and reduce the number of physical servers. In this case, Benefits by Design is eliminating all but one of its physical servers, leaving Tech II to host and manage all of its programs.
“I think it makes sense that as you update and move ahead technologically, you take advantage of things that are green,” Small said. He also recognizes the fallout effects of housing equipment on site, such as gas for service calls and old equipment that winds up clogging landfills.
An added benefit: Eliminating its hardware allowed Benefits by Design to move into smaller space and reduce lease costs. “We used to have a separate room for IT,” Small said. “We now use a little room the size of a closet for our telephone and one server.”
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