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The Growing Role of Sustainability Operations in Enterprise

Jordan Rodgers

EMEA Business Development Director, Intel Granulate

Organizations have been leveraging the cloud for benefits such as agility, reduced costs and the ability to scale on demand. Factors like digital transformation and the astronomical consumption of data ensure the continued need for cloud technology. As cloud technology use continues to expand with more than 85 percent of organizations expected to embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025, there has been growing acknowledgment that reducing the environmental impact of workloads should be a main priority. 

While efforts to incorporate environmental sustainability into cloud infrastructure are at a relatively early stage, it is expected to remain a high priority and will require the use of cloud workload optimization technologies that maximize utilization while minimizing waste, ultimately reducing the footprint on the environment.

Challenges to the Cloud Technology Industry Becoming More Energy-Efficient 

Cloud service providers have made access to computing, storage and networking globally ubiquitous. In turn, digital organizations are consuming an increasing amount of computing resources to develop and deliver their services. Data is the foundation of these services and that data must be moved, stored and processed to deliver and enrich products.

The recent popularity of ChatGPT is a perfect example of using data and AI to develop new products, but they require significant resources to operate. However, with this exponential demand in infrastructure needed to implement AI and run big data workloads and other intensive applications, a prime challenge is determining how to use the resources as responsibly and efficiently as possible to lower energy consumption. 

CO2 Footprint Score

As the services running on cloud platforms have become the norm, how can the cloud technology industry become more energy efficient?

One element that is critical to sustainability in computing workloads is optimization, specifically optimizing runtime level resource management. This not only helps ensure that workloads have the required resources and can exhibit performance gains, but it also helps ensure that is done so in a way that reduces resource waste and energy consumption. 

Granulate Optimization Tools Help Organizations Reduce their Carbon Footprint and Energy Costs 

Organizations that run their business applications on the cloud have to contend with Scope 3 emissions, typically the most challenging type of emissions to measure but that can account for at least 95 percent of total emissions. Consider Spotify and the scale of their carbon emissions according to their 2021 Impact Report, which reported their Scope 3 GHG emissions were 99% of their total emissions. To lower carbon footprint and energy costs, organizations have to use the right solutions to optimize and use less fewer resources.

Runtime Optimization

Granulate’s runtime optimization solution improve application performance without changing the code and can reduce Scope 3 carbon footprint through reduced infrastructure needs. These optimizations reduce waste, which in turn minimizes required resources and energy costs.

Capacity Optimization

Solutions like Granulate’s capacity optimization which aids sustainability by providing an autonomous and continuous optimization of Kubernetes clusters to eliminate over-provisioning and reduce wasted resources. This kind of visibility and insight also informs long-term cloud infrastructure planning that can align with the organization’s sustainability goals. 

gCenter Sustainability Meter

In line with the business principle of “what gets measured gets managed,” measuring the carbon impact of using the services in question to drive data-driven decisions are also critical to sustainability in applications. Dashboarding provides application developers comprehensive visibility into the impact of their applications on carbon footprint that will take into account elements such as the carbon intensity of the local power grid.

This sort of visibility facilitates tailored action to those responsible for the application’s carbon footprint. It is a measurement for action rather than measurement for regulatory reporting as it provides actionable insight that can deliver real results. 

Continuous Profiling

Granulate provides a carbon footprint calculation on its dashboard to drive action by application owners and developers. Additionally, Granulate’s open source continuous profiling tool gives developers visibility into their application performance and removes bottlenecks and inefficient code.

Sustainability Has Become a Primary Factor in the Cloud Technology Industry

Sustainability has become a priority as the cloud technology industry strives to meet the demands of organizations who want to reduce their climate impact and developers who want to develop applications that have a minimal carbon footprint. 

Intel, the second-most sustainable company in the United States according to Barron’s Most Sustainable U.S. Company in 2023, has committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in its global operations by 2040.

As an Intel company, Granulate provides scalable, high-performance software that can help organizations optimize their cloud processes to reach their sustainability goals without making changes to their code. Organizations will continue to gravitate to technologies like Granulate that offer them the solutions that can help them efficiently become more sustainable.

CO2 Footprint Score

Advice for Adopting Sustainable Practices and Technologies in Cloud Infrastructure

  1. Develop a baseline and establish KPIs to make sustainability a unified goal across the organization. Establishing a baseline—reviewing and measuring the current impact of current cloud workloads and applications—is necessary for assessing performance. 
  2. Adopting workload optimization best practices to limit carbon emissions should be a priority once the environmental impact of the organization’s cloud workloads are fully understood. The optimization of workload placements, cloud architecture and deployment patterns are key here.
  3. Optimize resource utilization and make it a part of the company culture and align it with long-term sustainability goals. For example, the ability to consistently orchestrate Kubernetes resources to fit the actual usage, enables high utilization while maximizing energy efficiency.

The concepts of sustainability and continuous workload optimization are more closely linked than what is readily apparent. Organizations can position themselves to make their computing workloads as sustainable as possible by relying on Granulate’s solutions.

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