Hybrid cloud’s carbon footprint: The intersection of technology and sustainability
In the ever-evolving world of IT, adopting hybrid cloud has become the norm. Businesses of all shapes and sizes have embraced the hybrid cloud model for its incredible flexibility, scalability and cost efficiency — but what about its sustainability?
In the midst of a digital transformation initiative, I found myself on a unique journey, thanks to an unexpected question from a forward-thinking client in the healthcare industry.
As a consultant specializing in cloud solutions, I was accustomed to helping organizations transition to hybrid cloud environments. However, this time, I was met with a query that piqued my curiosity. “How do we measure the carbon footprint across our hybrid cloud infrastructure and more importantly, how can we benchmark it and work towards its reduction?” asked the client.
It was an inquiry that I believe merits more attention than it is currently receiving: The intersection of technology and sustainability.
The world is progressing towards a net-zero future and businesses must adapt swiftly. While reducing emissions is vital, time is not on our side when it comes to climate action. The Corporate Net-Zero Standard published by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) will help companies reduce their carbon footprints effectively. It provides a clear blueprint for organizations that want to set a net-zero target and develop a strategy aligned with the latest science. This is where benchmarking is so important.
Understanding the hybrid cloud landscape
However, before you can benchmark consumption, it’s important to have a deep understanding of the hybrid cloud landscape. Hybrid clouds typically combine third-party public cloud services from one or more different vendors with your company’s own private cloud infrastructure. This duality adds complexity to the undertaking, because, by definition, the carbon footprint of hybrid cloud is attributable to many different sources.
Even if you have a data visualization platform ready to ingest and interpret the carbon emission data from every corner of your hybrid cloud estate, it’s still not that simple.
For more enterprises, getting reliable, accurate carbon footprint data is a formidable challenge. Each cloud provider has its own taxonomy, data format and units of measurement. It can be like trying to piece together a jigsaw puzzle with mismatched pieces. One cloud provider might report on virtual machine (VM) usage, while others focus on the overall cloud consumption. This data puzzle demands careful and meticulous assembly.
Overcoming data diversity
To tackle this data diversity, it is essential to standardize and normalize the information from various cloud providers like AWS, Azure, OCI and VMWare. This involves creating a unified framework for data collection and reporting, and requires close collaboration with each provider to bridge the gaps in data format and taxonomy. Once these incompatibilities are overcome, it is possible to aggregate carbon footprint data for the private cloud along with the hyperscalers and public cloud providers you are working with.
Once the data puzzle fits together, you should have a comprehensive view of your carbon footprint through a single pane of glass. This is a breakthrough moment for any enterprise. The first step towards net zero is being able to see your environmental impact across the entire hybrid cloud infrastructure, regardless of the provider.
Empowering decision making for sustainability
With this unified view of your carbon footprint, you unlock the power of predictive analytics to forecast trends in carbon emissions.
Viewing the carbon footprint of your IT infrastructure through a single pane of glass is a breakthrough moment for any enterprise — and the first step towards net zero.
This capability empowers your decision makers to proactively shape and drive sustainability initiatives — choosing based on the cloud workloads, and selecting those that generate fewer carbon emissions. Imagine the possibilities when you can predict the carbon footprint associated with new features and updates, enabling agile, eco-conscious development practices across your DevSecOps pipeline.
As we explore the evolving landscape of technology and sustainability, it's clear that innovation and collaboration will be our guiding stars, but no enterprise should feel like it must navigate this journey alone.
At Atos, we have developed a comprehensive set of digital decarbonization tools like MyCo2Compass, a carbon data collection platform that combines data sets to create new insights for net zero acceleration.
We believe that working together, forward-looking enterprises can not only optimize their hybrid cloud environments but also contribute significantly to a greener, more sustainable future. With determination and data-driven insights, we can reduce our carbon footprint and leave a positive impact on our planet for generations to come.