Making sense of sustainability in an ocean of data

Making sense of sustainability in an ocean of data

By Michael Coates (pictured), Senior Solution Architect, Aiven


Did you know that the tech sector is responsible for the same volume of carbon emissions as the aviation industry? As cloud workloads and data centers grow, organisations need a tool to measure carbon emissions on a per-project basis in order to optimise the underlying amount of infrastructure resources used. Not being wasteful requires surfacing emission data for each project at regular intervals throughout the day.

Once information is surfaced, then organisations can act, for example by migrating the workload to a more sustainable datacenter or optimising the software architecture to make it less resource intensive – similar to what companies do today by moving their teams to more environment-friendly office buildings or smaller offices. Less resources used in the cloud reduces your emissions, and so too your costs. This is where sustainability becomes part of your business model.

In today’s evolving regulatory landscape, the transparent use of resources is no longer just a voluntary commitment. In Australia, the government will be enforcing mandatory climate-related reporting requirements which stipulates that enterprises must disclose climate-related risks and opportunities, in addition to greenhouse gas emission data across the value chain by 2025.

This mandate poses a considerable challenge for companies, as they grapple with the complexity of collecting, storing, and analysing substantial volumes of emissions data from diverse sources. Challenges surrounding the reliability and accessibility of accurate cloud emissions data further complicate the management of such data alongside these climate regulations.

Aiven is committed to not only helping companies manage their carbon emissions but also to meet Australia’s stringent ESG reporting requirements. We developed an implementation in Python of the Cloud Carbon Footprint, an open-source solution originally created by  Thoughtworks to calculate and reduce CO2 emissions internally, as well as those of our customers.

Some of our major customers from retail, energy, and transportation sectors who have established sustainability targets (SBTi or Net Zero pledges) are already using the tool to monitor their emissions and decide where to run those workloads in the cloud­. By integrating environmental objectives into their IT infrastructure design, they can measure their level of emissions before and after the migration through the Aiven platform or start directly with a new workload, running it in a more sustainable datacenter.

But we recognise this is only half the solution.

We also assist customers and other organisations in reaching their environmental sustainability goals by understanding the environmental impact of their use of Aiven services and reducing their environmental footprint. For example, we help them optimise energy sources by cloud vendor/region and reducing overconsumption.

As we look forward, integrating sustainability into cloud optimisation strategies is crucial for a greener, more efficient cloud computing landscape, especially in the face of climate change challenges today.