With an ever growing climate emergency, businesses are looking to the use of technology to tackle climate change and help them operate more efficiently.
When making decisions on what technology an organisation should adopt, the conversation should include environmental impact, as well as the other drivers such as financial benefits. Business decisions can’t be made solely on environmental impact but fortunately, if you want to make your IT network ecosystem greener, cost reduction and environmental upsides go hand in hand.
Few organisations have the resources to be able to match pledges such as Microsoft’s ‘negative carbon by 2030’ statement. However, there are four changes which can achieve a leaner and greener IT network ecosystem:
Cost Benefit: There are well known benefits to cloud technology, not least in your ability to transform from traditional hardware infrastructure. Reduction in maintenance and upgrades, as well as energy consumption, will bring cost saving benefits.
Environmental Benefit: With multi-tenancy cloud, resources are shared so the energy for heating and cooling systems is used more efficiently. Instead of carbon guzzling physical components, virtual appliances can also be built. If co-location is necessary where public cloud doesn’t fulfil requirements, look for data centres actively using renewable energy sources.
Eliminate shadow IT and duplication
Cost Benefit: Avoiding duplication can simply avoid two bills for the same thing. There are also costs associated with shadow IT which can be avoided, using network interconnection platforms to gain full network visibility. This avoids data governance breaches which come with costly fines.
Environmental Benefit: Removing duplicate workloads will naturally reduce energy consumption. Cloud-delivered applications often take the form of shadow IT due to their speed of deployment and simplicity to transact across the business. A network interconnection platform brings full visibility, creating the opportunity to retire duplicate applications and legacy hardware.
Support remote network access
Cost Benefit: With the majority of the UK’s workforce at home during the pandemic, most businesses have confirmation that productivity is increased with flexible remote working. There’s a reason why the phrase ‘new normal’ has been done to death, with remote access now being the de facto option for businesses going forward. The reduction in office space overheads will bring cost savings to organisations shifting their operations.
Environmental Benefit: Pollution levels have almost halved in places where people are no longer commuting. Remote workers tend to use less paper, plastic and other disposable products. Employees will also approach energy usage in their homes differently, as they’re paying the bills.
Reassess your redundancy
Cost Benefit: Most modern services have robust redundancy mechanisms built in to the products, meaning you can decommission in-house systems. Service providers offer network uptime as an SLA of 99.9% availability. If this is suitable for your organisation the cost to buy rather than build is far more attractive. However, ensure the risk and impact of downtime - even at 0.1% of the time - is fully assessed for service and customer impact.
Environmental Benefit: Even when not in use, redundancy mechanisms use a large amount of energy. It’s critical for your business to have a failover for network traffic in the event of a failure and new technologies provide a smarter, cleaner safeguard.
This isn’t always a one size fits all approach. Shifting workloads to cloud, changing redundancy systems or replacing hardware should be done with great care, with the risks understood just as fully as the potential benefits.
By Francis Bell, Head of Product at Cloud Gateway
This insight is part of techUK's Cloud Week 2020. You can find related news and insights here.