How the Cloud Can Help Enterprises Become More Sustainable

The cloud can play a key role in helping organizations, and the cloud itself, become more sustainable. Here's what you need to know.


October 23, 2023

2 Min Read
windmills in the clouds

The cloud helps organizations become more sustainable by reducing their carbon footprint and related costs while opening a pathway to increased innovation and productivity. Yet many IT leaders still aren't adopting the practices that will allow them to achieve their sustainability goals.

To help their customers, cloud providers should focus on sourcing clean energy, whether it's through their own capital investments or by partnering with energy providers, says Brett McCoy, banking cloud leader at Deloitte Consulting, via an email interview. "Cloud providers must continue to innovate and utilize specialized hardware that can perform specific workloads with high levels of efficiency."

Cloud customers face a different set of sustainability challenges. The best way to drive sustainability is by establishing a GreenOps function with the goal of driving down emissions, McCoy advises. "This must be done across the technology stack, focusing on architecting and utilizing low carbon cloud regions, refactoring high emission workloads, and providing transparency to the broader organization on goals and progress," he says. "We see GreenOps functions being successfully established in conjunction with FinOps functions to drive down both emissions and spend."

Related:IBM Cloud Carbon Calculator Aims to Aid Enterprise Sustainability Efforts

All clouds aren't created equally when it comes to maximizing sustainability objectives says Bernie Hoecker, a partner and enterprise cloud transformation lead with technology research and advisory firm ISG in an email interview. He notes that it's important to fully understand the cloud provider's sustainability offerings before committing to the service. "This is especially important if a firm is required to meet compliance and regulatory requirements for their industry and/or country," Hoecker says.

Seeking Sustainability

Many cloud clients have spent decades creating IT environments that weren't built with sustainability as a top priority, Hoecker observes. "These aging infrastructures continue to expand as the demand for computing power grows at a rapid pace." The cloud gives such organizations the chance for a fresh start. Sustainable cloud environments can lower costs by allowing customers to decommission data centers and consolidating hardware and software footprints. …

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