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It’s convenient, fast, and reliable, and it’s catching on fast.

There’s been a lot of talk about the advantages of cloud computing. Advocates of the cloud make a convincing argument, and let’s face it, cloud computing pretty much speaks for itself once you try it out. It’s convenient, fast, and reliable, and it’s catching on fast. You’ve probably heard that it’s also energy efficient, which is an exciting prospect as you consider the state of the environment and where technology is headed in the near future.

Cloud computing is growing and will eventually become the hosting platform of choice for businesses of every size. That’s just the way things are headed. That’s why a recent article put out by CNET caught my eye. The article reveals the results of a recent study which was sponsored by Microsoft and conducted by Accenture and WSP Energy & Environment, a sustainability consulting company. The results of the study, which tested the performance of three Microsoft applications both on the cloud and with standard on-premise IT, offered further evidence that “computing is more efficient when it’s concentrated in the ‘cloud’.”

Savings were between 30 and 90 percent, according to the study, and it was found that the greatest energy and greenhouse reductions could be achieved by small businesses with few than 100 users. Larger corporations also stand to benefit.

These are encouraging findings, especially, as is pointed out in the article, since the growing demand for IT has results in the need for more data centers. The EPA reports that data centers in the US consumed 1.5 percent of the total electricity in 2006. That number is only destined to rise. It’s a catch-22 for companies that are only try to accommodate growth, and cloud computing is  welcome resource to improve efficiency, cut costs, and ultimately reduce the impact on the environment.