Economic conditions are tough, right now. Sky-high energy costs, inflation driving up wage costs and raw material prices, customers suddenly cost-conscious to an almost unprecedented degree: profit margins are under intense pressure. So not surprisingly, businesses are looking to make savings. The good news: reducing IT costs can often be achieved through methods that not only reduce spending, but also improve efficiency. Let’s take a look.
Consider the Cloud
Many organisations use Cloud-based services, such as Salesforce, AWS and OneDrive. But some businesses’ adoption of the Cloud isn’t so progressed with many still preferring to run their own servers, and server-based applications.
But running those servers is costly in energy terms, and expensive in maintenance and support terms. It’s also capital-intensive: buying on-premise servers calls for capital expenditure. Cloud-based servers are often cheaper, more powerful, and are paid for out of operating expenditure.
Better still, many Cloud providers offer further savings when businesses sign-up for ‘reserved instances’, essentially, a commitment to use at least a fixed amount of Cloud time each month, as opposed to ad-hoc ‘on demand’ usage.
And as most businesses essentially use their servers, whether Cloud-based or on-premise, to support business-critical services and systems, buying reserved instances is an easy way to make savings without compromising performance.
Virtualised machines are another way to exploit the Cloud to make savings. What exactly is a virtualised machine? Simple: it’s a piece of IT equipment that doesn’t physically exist, but is created virtually, emulated in the Cloud.
Virtual desktops are the easiest way to understand the potential of virtualised machines. Because especially when it comes to so-called power-users, the cost of powerful desktop machines can quickly mount, even more so when software is taken into consideration.
The alternative? Equipping those users with less powerful, inexpensive desktop machines, and then using software emulation in the Cloud to create a far more powerful desktop environment, complete with software. Users get a faster, more powerful desktop experience, and businesses benefit from buying inexpensive local physical desktops.
Energy savings also result from virtualisation. Instead of having physical devices powered up, running 24/7, and requiring cooling, think domain controllers, for instance, a single virtual host could house 10–12 such devices, for the same running cost as one physical device.
Likewise, Cloud-based software emulation can create virtual versions of specialised servers and data warehouses, thereby usefully cutting costs when it comes to running expensive SQL databases and ERP systems such as SAP. Not so long ago, hardware constraints meant that this wasn’t possible with such resource-hungry applications: performance would suffer too much. No longer. So it’s time to look afresh at virtualisation in the context of databases and ERP systems, and again, there are benefits other than lower costs: with virtualised machines, it’s much easier to perform Cloud backups, for instance.