3 Steps Toward a Sustainable Cloud Strategy

3 Steps Toward a Sustainable Cloud Strategy
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Environmental sustainability is quickly becoming a significant corporate issue. Organizations committed to minimizing their environmental effect must concentrate on making their IT projects with a sustainable cloud strategy. 

It takes time, effort, and money to change cloud service providers. To prevent being forced to work with the wrong sustainability partner, firms must immediately conduct a thorough examination of providers’ existing environmental sustainability activities and roadmap.

Discuss the sustainability objectives of cloud service providers

The most important question IT leaders must ask is how to make a sustainable cloud environment. The answer should touch on the activities of the service provider and those of its supply chain. It must also address how the provider may assist the organization in using and configuring the services it consumes

Inquire about the environmental sustainability pledges and objectives of potential cloud service providers and the anticipated deadlines. 

Assess resource effectiveness, renewable energy utilization, and energy efficiency

Consider metrics in light of numerous factors while evaluating the sustainability of cloud service providers. Think about a cloud data center’s power use effectiveness (PUE) first. Talk to providers about their existing PUE measures and potential sustainable technologies that might enhance PUE. 

Next, find out if cloud service providers have received third-party certifications for energy efficiency. This can show how capable and dedicated a supplier is to sustainability objectives.  

Since water is crucial for cooling data centers, measuring water usage effectiveness (WUE) is equally crucial. WUE is based on metered flow from utilities and monitors all water sources utilized to cool data centers. 

Inquire about greenhouse gas emissions

Finally, IT leaders need to comprehend how cloud service providers track and control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

The GHG Protocol, which categorizes emissions into three scopes, is the global norm for reporting greenhouse gas emissions. When seen in the context of cloud services, they are: 

  • Scope 1: Direct emissions from equipment that the business owns and uses to emit greenhouse gases. This usually only includes standby diesel generators for IT. 
  • Scope 2: Grid electricity generating emissions related to power distribution and air cooling in data centers. 
  • Scope 3: A broad classification of emissions under indirect management by the firm. These include the packaging and outside network services, as well as the embodied carbon of all the tangible items and services that were acquired. These can account for up to 50% of the provider’s overall greenhouse gas emissions for cloud service providers. 

The most direct control over Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions is exercised by cloud service providers. When attempting to minimize emissions, they will start here, usually by implementing energy-efficiency initiatives and utilizing renewable energy sources. 

However, Scope 3 upstream emissions have the most influence on the overall balance of GHG emissions linked to the provision of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud services. 

Ask cloud service providers how they manage and/or reduce their Scope 3 emissions.  Review Scopes 1, 2, and 3’s emission reductions during the last five years to ensure they are making a sincere attempt to cut emissions. Favor vendors that have goals and deadlines that are quite similar to those of the company. 

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