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Researchers are now compiling hard numbers that prove running enterprise applications in the cloud actually does complete a data center triple play by reducing costs, use of electricity and carbon emissions.

A new study conducted on behalf of Microsoft, Accenture and WSP Environment & Energy released Nov. 4 shows enterprises running business applications in the cloud can cut energy consumption and carbon emissions by a net 30 percent or more as opposed to running that same software on their own infrastructure.

Large data centers, such as those run by Microsoft, IBM, Google, Yahoo, Fujitsu and others, can benefit greatly from economies of scale and operational efficiencies beyond what corporate IT departments can achieve, the study reported.

Benefits can become even more pronounced for a small business moving to the cloud, where the net energy and carbon savings can be more than 90 percent, the study said.

The study results focused on three widely deployed and commonly used Microsoft applications—Exchange, SharePoint and CRM software.

The study assessed the carbon footprint of server, networking and storage infrastructure for three different deployment sizes (100, 1,000 and 10,000 users), finding that the smaller the organization, the larger the benefit of switching to the cloud.

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