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IBM Cloud Carbon Calculator Aims to Aid Enterprise Sustainability Efforts

IBM is using its AI expertise to improve sustainability initiatives by helping enterprises better understand the impact of cloud computing on the environment.

IBM is taking a big step forward in its "green" efforts with the launch of its new Cloud Carbon Calculator to help enterprises better understand and track greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cloud computing.

Enterprises of all sizes are increasingly implementing sustainability initiatives, and there is a strong role that cloud computing can play in that effort. There are offerings in the market already from AWS, Microsoft, and Google to help organizations track sustainability.

IBM's new calculator is specifically for IBM Cloud workloads and brings an artificial intelligence (AI)-based approach to provide an enhanced view of operations.

Key features of the IBM Cloud Carbon Calculator include:

  • It tracks emissions across various workloads down to the cloud service level for enterprise accounts.
  • It identifies GHG emissions hot spots and opportunities for improvement.
  • It leverages data for GHG emission reports.

Despite the current economy and financial pressures, sustainability remains a top business priority, according to Briana Frank, vice president of product and design, cross portfolio, IBM Cloud. She noted that a recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value reported that 42% of CEOs pinpoint environmental sustainability as their top challenge over the next three years.

"The IBM Cloud Carbon Calculator allows enterprises to access data based on emissions trends and patterns across cloud services and locations for IBM Cloud workloads," Frank said.

How AI Enables the Cloud Carbon Calculator

The IBM Cloud Carbon Calculator builds on IBM's deep AI expertise, Frank said.

The calculator uses machine learning and advanced algorithms to help organizations identify emissions hot spots. With these insights, clients can make more informed decisions about their emissions mitigation strategy, she said.

Frank noted that as businesses across the world look to advance their sustainability objectives, the AI-informed tool helps clients uncover parts of their IT workloads that are exceeding emissions goals. The calculator also allows enterprises to more easily track and visualize greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across various workloads down to the cloud service level.

IBMIBM Cloud Carbon Calculator

The calculator tracks electricity consumption at the physical and virtual machine level to determine energy consumption for all cloud services. Then, with advanced algorithms, IBM uses billing information to allocate the energy for a given service to specific accounts, correlated to how much of the service that account has consumed in a specific time period and for a given location, Frank explained. Finally, IBM also factors in power usage effectiveness (PUE) and carbon intensity (by location) to determine carbon emissions by account and by location for that time period.

IBM's Green Direction 

The Cloud Carbon Calculator complements IBM's existing portfolio of sustainability solutions and consulting expertise. Frank noted that IBM is also looking to increase the adoption of renewable energy sources to power IBM Cloud data centers globally.

"IBM Cloud's adoption of renewable energy directly contributes toward the company's corporate goal of sourcing 75% of the electricity IBM consumes worldwide from renewables by 2025," Frank said.

About the author

 Sean Michael Kerner headshotSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.
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