The four pillars of green cloud optimization
Your IT organization will need to drive much of your green cloud efforts. To succeed, they’ll need to consider these four criteria when looking at cloud providers and cloud locations:
Energy source. This means using cloud infrastructure powered by renewable energy rather than fossil fuels — or use Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to “neutralize” fossil fuel emissions by matching out each “dirty” megawatt of electricity a data center uses with a “clean” megawatt represented by an REC. There is also work being done to make data centers run directly off of wind and solar power, as well as progress towards Pausable Data Centers that shift workloads to different times of the day to take advantage of weather patterns.
Energy efficiency. Cloud infrastructure that has high energy efficiency when measured through PUE (power usage effectiveness). Typically, that’s achieved through innovative approaches to cooling.
The cloud customer IT organization’s can control how they configure and use the cloud, optimizing the following:
Number and size of servers. Servers are what physically consume energy; by reducing the number of servers you use, you reduce your carbon footprint. Organizations can optimize the performance of their applications and reduce unnecessary storage, but it will still have the same cost and energy usage unless they also reduce the number or size of servers on which their tech estate is running.
Number and size of requests. Cloud services generate significant network traffic, thanks to the requests and responses made. To minimize traffic, you can use or optimize caching so there is less distance to transfer the data from a local edge server to the user. Additionally, you can reduce the amount of data being transferred by dynamically reloading only the components that are needed and prioritizing mobile-first user experiences since smaller devices and screen sizes require less data.
Time for action on cloud
As we’ve seen, there are many reasons for firms to embrace green cloud, from bottom line savings to brand enhancement. But even for converts, success can depend on cultural changes.
Today, many dev teams are measured on the speed at which they can deliver. Unless you’re willing to make sustainability part of their KPIs, the likelihood is that it will become an afterthought.
Given the cloud's accelerating energy use, there’s no time to waste. The business case is clear. The tools you’re dev teams need are maturing. Now all we need is commitment.
If you’re interested in knowing more about your cloud carbon footprint, why not check out this tool?