3 Ways to Reduce your Software Carbon Emissions – Part 1 of 2

  • Veröffentlicht am 1, Dezember 2023
  • Geschätzte Lesezeit: 3 Minuten

Have you ever wondered how much CO2 the entire internet produces? According to websitecarbon.com, the median webpage access produces around 0.8g of CO2. Scaled up to the 4 billion internet users, this corresponds to an equivalent CO2 weight of 7 jumbo jets!

Gartner reports that the IT industry has an equivalent CO2 output as that of the aviation industry. This is the equivalent of 1 billion tons of CO2, yearly. Yet the intense ecological scrutiny of the aviation industry, is not manifested in the IT industry.

CO2 is a leading cause of global warming, therefore, all industries need to scrutinize and reduce their production of this greenhouse gas.

Below I describe three cloud best practices with examples that save you expenditure and help reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. Disclaimer: This article will focus on Azure as Avanade specializes in Microsoft technologies.

1. Improve Energy Efficiency By Migrating From On-Premise To The Cloud

Even with a “lift and shift” approach which means that applications, systems, workloads, and data are moved from on-premises to the cloud with little or no changes, significant energy savings are still made. A 2018 study found that the Microsoft cloud is as much as 93 percent more energy efficient and as much as 98 percent more carbon efficient than on-premises solutions.

By moving workloads from on-premise to the cloud, sizeable reductions in emissions are realized. While the cloud has its own emissions, they are much lower than would otherwise have been, if hosted by on-premise infrastructure. This is because cloud data centers endeavor to use sustainably produced electricity and optimize hardware utilization that no on-premise approach could reasonably match.

Azure data centers have excellent sustainability credentials, so why not make use of them?
Once workloads have been migrated to the cloud, there is a strong correlation between cloud expenditure and CO2 production. Reduce cloud resource expenditure and you will yet further reduce the consumed electricity and corresponding CO2 output. Which brings me to my next point.

2. Upskill and Develop Carbon Aware Software

Deploying to the cloud does not make it automatically sustainable. Reducing emissions is a shared responsibility between the cloud provider and the implementor of those services. My recommendation: Your cloud developers or architects could start with the green software foundation training course. An aspect of this training speaks of software carbon intensity and developing “carbon aware” software by using the carbon aware sdk. Separately, you can also establish and track the software carbon intensity (SCI) score for your application which is a measure of the carbon production for a given workload.

3. Improve Hardware Efficiency By Conducting A Sustainability Assessment From The Microsoft “Well Architected Framework”

The sustainability review takes around 30 minutes to complete and generates a report containing your score and recommendations. This details how to maximize utilization and minimize waste on topics such as application design, compute, storage and networking.

An example recommendation would be to evaluate moving to platform as a service (PaaS) from infrastructure as a service (IaaS). This is because virtual machines (IaaS) typically have a 10 times higher CO2 footprint than an equivalent service running as platform as a service (PaaS).



Take Away Message

The 3 principles to reduce carbon emissions are energy efficiency, carbon awareness and hardware efficiency. Avanade can assist you with architecting your cloud services to be financially and CO2 efficient using our modern architecture, modern engineering and cloud adoption workshops.

Look out for my upcoming second part on this vital subject, which will be a closer look into more technical aspects of building a sustainable cloud strategy.

What are your thoughts or best practices around the cloud? Let me know!

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