March 11, 2009

Computing in a Weak Economy - Cut Costs to Stay Afloat

Times are changing. Companies are losing money on deals that were once profitable. We are cutting back on spending, laying off employees, eliminating projects, raising prices, and losing morale daily. Many are starting to worry that the quick recovery might not be quick, and the consumer outlook doesn't look good. What can a company do to stay afloat in a recession?

Well, we do need to take a look at spending patterns and cut some spending, and we might need to adjust pricing as well as creatively improve morale around the office. But we can use the simple fact that technology is always advancing to our advantage.

Now is the time to upgrade your hardware, improve software and process efficiency, and renegotiate contracts. Why? Well, the technology has improved, companies know about the recession, and they will give you a deal to get your business. It works both ways - in a recession, more than ever, your customer loyalty will matter. Help your customers get through this now, and they will return the favor.

Looking for specific examples to help you cut costs using new technologies? Consider the following ways to save money and improve the efficiency of your business:
  • Virtualization. With many companies still entering this market, and some established players going strong, this is a technology that is here to stay. Check out Xen or VMWare to download a free virtualization solution today!

  • Open source software, especially Linux, has come a long way in terms of features, ease-of-use, and stability. Consider replacing some development or web servers with Centos or Ubuntu. And remember, open source does not mean "unsupported" - if you get stuck, there are enterprise level support options for most products. Check out Sourceforge for an up-to-date list of many open source projects.

  • Consolidate workloads. The above two solutions will help with this, but the important step is determining exactly what your technical people and your technology products are doing, and evaluating whether these tasks can be done with less. You may need to refactor code, restructure or eliminate projects, and even optimize business processes. Server optimization, network redesign, and in-house technical experience will help you here.

  • Cut expenses. Renegotiating contracts is important - your bandwidth and hosting costs could drop significantly. Re-evaluate whether you really need all those licenses. Consider short projects that will show a return, or at least savings, within a year.

  • Rethink your power usage. Track the cost of your power. Turn computers (even some server) off at night. Use super-efficient 1U Twin servers to cut your power use. Decrease the resources necessary for your applications. Increase the temperature in your datacenter. Maybe even use the heat generated by your equipment to heat your office.

Feel free to add your own suggestions on how a business can save money in a recession - we could all use the tips!


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