The practice of making cloud-based workloads as environmentally friendly as possible.
This encompasses a range of activities, including optimizing applications to run efficiently in the cloud and using renewable energy sources. Adopting green cloud measures can feed into sustainability efforts and save money.
What is it?
Green cloud encompasses a range of tactics that can be used to reduce an enterprise’s carbon footprint.
For some, simply moving to the cloud is seen as ‘green’, because the infrastructure is often far more energy efficient than on-premise data centers.
But cloud energy use is growing rapidly. And organizations have many other opportunities to reduce carbon emissions.
For instance, today, many workloads in the cloud haven’t been optimized for energy use. The relative ease with which teams can spin up machine learning applications in the cloud often means little attention is paid to energy use. Enabling your dev teams to use a cost-benefits-accuracy analysis could mean they’re able to choose a machine learning model that gives the good results, without consuming as much power as some of the alternatives.
And it’s not just energy-hungry applications such as machine learning that can be optimized for the green cloud. If you’ve just migrated on-prem workloads to the cloud, without re-architecting them, the chances are you’re using cloud resources unnecessarily. Running in the cloud has different network, storage and compute implications than the same app running on-prem. By optimizing for the cloud, you can minimize cloud utilization, saving you money and reducing emissions.
Finally, you may want to consider how your cloud provider powers its services. Do they simply offer carbon offsets, or run on truly renewable energy?
What’s in for you?
For some enterprises, minimizing environmental impact is reason enough to adopt green cloud practices.
Others might consider the reputational benefits with consumers and investors alike. Sustainability is a hot button issue — to the extent that your customers and partners may truly care whether you’ve embraced sustainable operating practices or are merely paying lip service to the ideas.
Finally, there are clear bottom line benefits to green cloud. By optimizing your workloads to run in the cloud, you will reduce the resources you use and save money. You’ll also be reducing carbon emissions.
What are the trade offs?
Getting insights into your cloud energy usage is fundamental to embracing green clouds. But once you have that information, what you do with it may start some internal debate.
To what extent are you willing to optimize workloads for the cloud? How do you balance the use of renewables and application performance?