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Reducing cloud emissions by 60%

Cloud usage and emissions are growing rapidly. It’s anticipated that over nearly two thirds of spending on application software will be directed toward cloud technologies by 2025. Across Thoughtworks, sustainability is top of mind, and this story outlines how one group from our internal IT function, TechOps, took inspiring action in 2022. 


The Talent Development Products team, whose tools support Thoughtworker learning and career growth, piloted a path towards sustainable cloud services. Thoughtworks’ carbon emissions targets, and the goal set by TechOps leaders to help achieve our Scope 3 reductions, ignited this journey. The team implemented our open source Cloud Carbon Footprint (CCF)tool to visualize their cloud emissions over time, and by product, to find reduction opportunities. 


The team used the tool to analyze and identify zombie workloads, then adjusted the cluster and configurations. For some high impact services, they also switched to more economic architectures. At the end of the program, they had achieved approximately 60% reduction in emissions across their four products which equates to a 46% reduction in cost.


The Talent Development Products team worked on its carbon reduction initiative in parallel with business-as-usual, spending 22 days over nine months through a small daily effort. The investment was paid back within four months after the end of the program. However, the team recommends a focused up-front effort, which would have identified the same carbon reduction and cost-reduction benefits and achieved a similar return on investment much faster. 


With such great results, implementing the recommendations from CCF has been recommended as a default across the entire TechOps portfolio. 


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