The fight against climate change and pollution are two of the main challenges facing today’s society due to the development in recent years of business models, infrastructures and technologies that are not sustainable in the long term with the planet’s carbon absorption capacity.
In the technology sector, Amazon highlights sustainability as one of its six pillars for the construction of architectures, that is, the need to design solutions that use resources in a more efficient and durable way over time, that perform their function without polluting or producing harmful impacts, wear and tear or pollutants in the environment.
Cloud Computing is one of the revolutionary technologies in the field of sustainability as it is a great advance over on-premise tools, has a smaller carbon footprint and is more energy efficient than traditional tools. Thanks to the cloud, greater energy reduction and efficiency is achieved in all the components that work together, achieving the maximum benefit from the resources provided and minimizing the total resources required.
What is the shared responsibility model for environmental sustainability?
There is a shared model of sustainability between the user and the cloud service provider, as both parties have their share of responsibility.
Some of the aspects for which the supplier is responsible are:
- The efficiency of its services.
- Shared architecture models.
- Optimization of cooling models.
- Use of renewable energy sources.
On the user’s side is the responsibility for the use given to the services. For example:
- Optimization of workloads and resources used: use the right size of the instances we work with and implement an effective design to ensure high utilization and maximize energy efficiency of the hardware. It is also important to shut down and minimize idle resources.
- Design and build of software applications, as well as code efficiency.
- Resource deployment and scaling.
- Storage: For example, moving infrequently accessed data to cold storage automatically with lifecycle configurations.
- Analyze the impact of our work: Measure the impact of cloud workloads and model our architecture to that load.
- Adapt to new, more efficient hardware and software offerings: Continuously monitor and evaluate new, more efficient hardware and software offerings.
- Using managed services: Sharing services helps maximize resource utilization, which reduces the amount of infrastructure required. Using auto-scaling services helps adjust capacity to meet the required demand.
Services we can use to measure our impact
Google has designed a set of tools to help report the carbon emissions associated with Google Cloud usage in order to take action to reduce carbon footprint. The Carbon Sense suite has features from various Google Cloud products, such as Active Assist and Carbon Footprint, to help users understand and reduce the consumption and emissions generated from their cloud usage.
AWS recently launched a new Customer Carbon Footprint Tool. It allows you to review your sustainability goals and is available to all AWS customers at no cost.
In Azure these metrics are available through the Emissions Impact Dashboard for Azure. The dashboard provides Azure customers with transparency into their greenhouse gas emissions associated with usage.
What actions are being taken by cloud providers?
Many of these decisions are geared toward innovation and long-term investments in energy efficiency and the development of low-carbon services. Many of the companies involved in cloud computing are pursuing goals similar to those set out in the Climate Action Agenda, an initiative launched at the Climate Summit in 2014 to get governments, businesses and individuals to work together to implement new deeds to promote climate action.
Amazon has committed to achieving 100 % of the energy used in the company’s activities being renewable by 2025 (five years ahead of the original 2030 target) and achieving carbon neutrality by 2040, 10 years ahead of the 2015 Paris agreement. In addition, in 2019, Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge, which is an agreement among a community of companies, organizations, individuals and partners committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040.
Historically, Google is one of the most environmentally committed companies. In 2007 it became the first company among the largest market capitalization companies to be carbon neutral, in 2017 it became the first of the US tech titans to use all of its energy from renewable sources and its fight against climate change is ongoing, as they plan to invest $5.75 billion in sustainable matters. Google’s goal is to be powered solely by uninterruptible carbon-free energy in all of its data centers by 2030.
By 2025, Azure will fully source its energy needs from renewable sources, meaning that all of its data centers, buildings and campuses will have contracted green power for 100% of the electricity consumed. Also, by 2030, they will replenish more water than they consume in their cooling systems. In addition, they are actively involved in more than 40 projects around the world to help make a local impact and improve environmental performance.
Cloud Engineer en Keepler: “As a technology lover, I have an innate desire to always be learning, improving, researching... and, of course, teaching. Currently, I am immersed in the world of software development oriented to Big Data technologies.”