With energy prices soaring and corporate cost-cutting at full tilt, it's almost impossible to avoid the topic of energy efficiency. Just about every product is trying to convince us how green it is. That's excellent, but how many of us have actually sat down and done the math to see what our IT operations consume and what they cost us?
In my experience, very few. But try running the numbers, and you'll quickly discover that going green actually does pay.
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Let's focus on that nasty little energy hog, the desktop PC. The potential energy cost savings of desktop virtualization are quite high, yet few organizations have moved to VDI, Citrix/Terminal Services, and other forms of SBC (server-based computing) on a large scale. It's still about 100 times more likely to see a desktop on an employee's desk than it is to see a thin client.
So how much could you save? Imagine a typical enterprise with 1,000 employees running conventional desktops during business hours (10 hours a day, five days a week). Employees have their own standard desktop that they sporadically use for half the day. The other half of the workday, the box sits idle, and at night it goes into suspend mode.
Excluding the monitor and other peripherals, our example enterprise will spend roughly $41.25 per year to power and cool each desktop. Doesn't seem like a big deal, right?
Not so fast -- that $41.25 suddenly looks a lot bigger when you consider the whole fleet of 1,000 desktops over the expected three-year lifetime of those desktops, adding up to more than $123,000. That could be as much as 15 percent of what it cost to actually buy the desktops in the first place. If our enterprise were a 24/7 shop that leaves its desktops on and in use constantly, that figure would balloon to nearly $400,000 over three years -- approximately 45 percent of the acquisition cost of the desktops.
Now we're talking real money. Even if you don't believe in conservation or saving the planet, think of what else you could do with that money. Maybe hire another employee? Or how about some more SAN capacity?