Sustainability and carbon benefits of Cloud Migration

With the rise of cloud migration, organisations, governments, institutions, and people now have instant access to practically infinite computing capacity, allowing them to gather insights and make discoveries in industries like healthcare, agriculture, and retail that were previously unimaginable. The exponential increase of IT infrastructure raises concerns about the effects on the environment even as the cloud unleashes the tremendous potential of humanity.

Sustainability and carbon benefits of Cloud Migration

We are committed to thread sustainability into every cloud migration project we are involved in. By aiming to supply IT services with a lower environmental impact, we are equally committed to expanding the advantages of the cloud beyond our operations to our customers.

The Clouds Impact on Sustainability

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Massive amounts of data can be gathered, analysed, and stored using cloud computing, which also lowers the total cost of ownership for IT and boosts business agility. Data centres that service the cloud nowadays use a substantial, and increasing, amount of energy.

Societally, switching from numerous on-premises servers to a handful of sizable data centers offers the chance to lower overall IT energy usage and associated carbon emissions.

With this in mind, Microsoft commissioned a study to compare the energy consumption and carbon emissions of four applications in the Microsoft Cloud with their on-premises equivalents:

Microsoft Azure Compute

Microsoft Exchange Online

Microsoft Azure Storage

Microsoft SharePoint Online

Together, these cloud services use roughly half of the energy used in Microsoft data centres. The study took into account the entire life cycle for the computing scenarios to provide the most complete and accurate picture possible (from manufacturing to end-of-life)

kgCO2e = kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Microsoft Cloud: grid power includes emissions associated with data centre electricity consumption before taking into account the purchase of renewable electricity.

Microsoft Cloud: renewables reflect zero emissions for renewable electricity purchased for data centres.

The residual emissions are primarily from life cycle emissions not associated with data centre operations. 

Microsoft selected these cloud applications as they account for close to half of the energy consumed in Microsoft data centres.

The results show that the Microsoft Cloud creates around 88% less carbon emissions than physical server deployments on-premise or in colocation in enterprise data centres. Virtual server carbon emissions reduce by around 58% on moving to Azure.  Even better, when taking into account renewable energy purchases, the Microsoft Cloud carbon reduction rises to around 98% for physical servers and and 92% for virtual servers compared to on-premise or non-cloud data centres. 

Four main drivers contribute to the smaller energy and carbon footprint of the Microsoft Cloud.

  1. IT operational efficiency
  2. IT equipment efficiency
  3. Data centre infrastructure efficiency, and,
  4. Renewable electricity

We hosted the Cloud for Sustainability webinar on 09 November 2022. The presenters included;

  • John Curran (Blue Planet Consulting Managing Director),
  • Peter Rose (TEKenable Technical Director),
  • Aisling Curtis (Microsoft Strategy and Sustainability Director) and,
  • Ritika Adlakha (Microsoft Technical Specialist – Business Applications)

The panel discussed the importance and environmental benefits of migrating to the cloud. The webinar also included a demo of the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability platform.

It is inevitable that demand for cloud migration services will rise, and we strive to responsibly support this expansion.

With this in mind, Microsoft commissioned a study to compare the energy consumption and carbon emissions of four applications in the Microsoft Cloud with their on-premises equivalents:

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