Reduce CO2 emissions by switching to the cloud!

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Reduce CO2 emissions by moving to the cloud!

Companies are moving quickly to the cloud for reasons of innovation and cost. The sustainability aspect is also an important argument.

The advantages of the cloud are obvious. Companies no longer need to make large investments in hardware and software. By switching to the public cloud, companies of all sizes can benefit from numerous services without having to deal with the development of the associated applications. This not only creates the opportunity to save enormous costs, but also to react flexibly to market requirements and to create room for innovation.

But there is another advantage to moving to the cloud! The cloud can make an important contribution to reducing emissions.

Digitization and its impact on climate change are a much-discussed topic, and rightly so. Today, it is known that the share of digital technologies in global energy consumption has doubled. The preferred example of this is the migration of entire companies and their data to huge server farms and their operation gennnat. As a result, the IT industry and cloud providers in particular are becoming the focus of these debates. The German Federal Environment Agency also found that the global IT industry, with its hunger for electricity, produces as much CO2 as the entire air traffic industry. However, the debate is now more differentiated and there are more aspects in favor of migrating and hosting data in server farms than against it.

Large cloud providers with correspondingly large server farms/data centers have good to excellent carbon footprints. The decisive factor for their carbon footprint is not only the amount of energy consumed, but also the source. Data centers can be operated in a climate-friendly manner with electricity generated from renewable sources. It is true that the data centers of cloud providers consume a lot of electricity - but considerably less than if every company or public organization were to provide its own computing power with its own data center. In fact, recent studies have clearly demonstrated that larger cloud providers tend to be able to operate more energy efficiently than smaller data center operators. This is because sourcing computing power collectively via the public cloud allows power to be better distributed and economies of scale to be exploited.

Switching to the public cloud

Moving to the public cloud can cause carbon dioxide emissions as part of total IT emissions worldwide to drop by 5.9 percent, or nearly 60 million tons of CO2 per year. That's equivalent to 22 million cars removed from the world's roads. This is the result of a recent study by an Irish consulting firm.

From CO2-neutral to CO2-negative

Another study shows that the energy consumption of modern server farms is growing less strongly than previously assumed, despite a steady increase in performance. Leading cloud providers are operating ever-larger server farms, optimizing energy requirements in such a way that their power consumption has increased by only 6% over the past ten years, while computing power has increased six-fold. This is because large cloud providers are making greater investments in the latest technologies that increase energy efficiency, such as mass storage with high storage capacity, broadly expanded & fast networks, perfectly adapted latest air conditioning systems and optimized server farm locations. At the same time, the cloud providers are continuing to research sustainable cloud data centers and are relying on regeneratively generated electricity. For example, the providers Amazon Web Service and Microsoft have managed to be climate-neutral in their global activities in recent years. They have also made it their goal to be CO2-negative by 2030. Which means - instead of emitting carbon dioxide, remove it from the atmosphere. In fact, by 2050, all CO2 emitted since the start of operations is to be reclaimed from the atmosphere.

High pressure on companies

For companies, the primary focus is on the durability and profitability of their own business. However, the idea of a "green footprint" is becoming increasingly important for the profitability and image of the company. As a result, companies are facing a lot of pressure to solve this major socio-economic challenge and to move towards more responsible and sustainable business practices, while at the same time increasing their profitability.

Can this challenge be met?

Definitely yes, as using the offerings of major cloud providers that have completely optimized their infrastructure structures for sustainability and energy efficiency in recent years can have a double effect in terms of shareholder and stakeholder value, reducing costs and CO2 emissions at the same time. The carbon saved by migrating to the cloud can therefore make a major contribution to meeting climate protection obligations - ultimately leading not only to a greener balance sheet, but also to a greener planet.

So by using sustainable cloud solutions, there is an opportunity to create a positive impact on the environment while enjoying financial benefits as a business. In this regard, the sustainability and financial benefits of cloud migration depend on three key factors: the cloud provider selected, the workload optimization achieved in the cloud, and the level of utilization of cloud-based sustainability innovations. Thus, enterprises have to make a whole series of decisions that directly determine how sustainable the achieved solutions are and what value they add.

Our experience and further analysis shows what is directly impacting sustainability in terms of workload optimization when migrating to the cloud.

1.Migrations without major code customization,

2.Selective adaptation to use central cloud platform services,

3.Complete rebuild and optimization of application architecture towards native use of cloud services.

For example, several studies and analyses clearly show that CO2 emissions can be reduced by around 80% compared with conventional cloud migrations alone can reduce CO2 emissions by around 80%. The alignment of the applications in the applications in the cloud architecture also plays an important role. Through modern application development and technologies such as Kubernetes, Docker, serverless functions services, it is even possible to reduce this value to up to 98%.

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