Ludvig Millfors

Responsible for Strategy & Tech

Going to the cloud because the environment, your customers and your organization are worth it

2018-apr-16 10:20:00

We are amid one of the greatest migrations the tech world has ever seen. The service delivery world is booming and will grow even faster given the maturity of easily applicable AI functions. There are some solid drivers for the migration that often get “clouded”. Let’s open the discussion about what should be additional reasons for your migration decision.  I truly believe that it is not just cost.

The Sustainable Tech Perspective

As you likely already have noticed the data era is putting an enormous pressure on your computing capability. You are computing data that you likely never thought you would add to your business. You are trying to save information that you might find useful in the future, growing the need for database storage and availability.

You are also likely to implement advanced algorithms to create new value to your customer experiences or to increase efficiency in your internal processes. In other words, your datacentre capability will likely need to expand dramatically.

How fast is your energy footprint growing?

Besides putting pressure on having modern and effective hardware, this trend will have a huge impact on your energy consumption and footprint. While you will be very busy making sure your in-house datacentre delivery is up and running, you will soon realize that your energy footprint is growing equally rapid.

According to greenpeace.org research shows that:

“The IT sector is consuming 7% of the global electricity supply already, almost half of that through an ever-expanding international network of giant data centers.”

Given the growth of data, the implications of the world’s future energy impact by data is alarming. It is fairly safe to assume that large cloud service delivery organizations will need to compete by offering the most energy efficient services.

Besides the fact that energy comes with a cost, I believe that we as consumers need to become selective on the services provided from a sustainability perspective. We need to demand and pressure service providers to show and take pride in their energy efficiency. There are numerous KPIs that should be presented from a sourcing perspective.

Power Usage Efficiency to measure your energy use

The most common KPI is PUE (Power Usage Efficiency). This indicates how much energy a service uses for provision of the service. If you are at 1, all energy consumed by a datacentre is used to run the data service. A good measure today is between 1,06 and 1,2. Above a value of 1, additional energy is used to cool servers, light rooms or to power other overhead functions.

The datacentre can approach 1 by employing modern technology to cool servers and reduce energy used for overheads. The impact of how we generate a computing hour will be enormous. According to DigiPlex, a true role model for efficient datacentres:

“Even watching a one-hour episode of a streamed television show has the carbon footprint of a 100-meter car journey, and our individual Internet email contributes 1.2 kilograms of CO2 to the atmosphere every year.”

The role of the datacentre’s location

Another major ingredient in how a data service is produced, is where the datacentre is physically located. Its geographic location can affect what kind of energy is used to power the datacentre. Is it green energy that is sourced?

A country with a cool climate and high levels of non-fossil energy production is likely a very good location. What is the cost of energy in the region? There are some additional KPIs that one can ask the vendors to produce giving you an idea of where they are in terms of priorities. If they struggle with presenting these facts that will tell a story on its own.

Digital contribution to climate change

Our digital lives contribute to global climate change. An article in the Wall Street Journal highlights how consumers should be aware of this and soon. Mr. Murphy of DigiPlex:

“As streaming, Internet banking, social media use and technologies like the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence become more common so we create more data, and so we will consume more power to store and process it. “Globally, data centers emit 2% of greenhouse-gas emissions already. Last year, they consumed more power than the U.K. as a country.” 

(Read the complete Wall Street Journal article online here.)

The conclusion in this perspective is that very few in-house datacentres will be able to compete with the designated providers due to scale and synergies. The Sustainable Tech perspective needs a direction towards efficient Datacentre providers and to leave efficient production to professionals.

Naturally, it requires us to become more aware and picky as consumers on KPIs such as PUE. This will help making energy efficiency a competitive advantage for the producers.

It is a Matter of when, not if

If you already have joined the great migration, you have not only started to realize cost-effective capabilities to consume and scale computer power. You have not only increased your capability of storage for your growing digital journey needs. You have probably done a great deed. You can likely go to the market claiming you are provisioning sustainable technology or Green IT.

If your current cloud vendor does not take pride in offering the greenest service, don’t fret. Once you have migrated you can easily move to a different greener provider. In addition, you have also likely taken measures to ensure your customers that the security package is top notch.

In the natural word, the great migration moves bidirectionally with the rain. The herds return to greener pastures once season calls for it. We have seen some organizations move services back to in-house when the cloud services did not provide the efficiency expected. We hope and believe that this gets chalked up as lessons learned and part of a temporary adjustment.

Then again, all services might not be ready for cloud. I believe the value of Cloud services is worth a premium to enable effective energy consumption as well as top rated security. To you as an organization as well as to your customers.

A Solid Migration Roadmap

If you are still trying to figure out if a migration adds value to your organisation, the answer is likely yes. It is most likely the best alternative if you consider all the perspectives. Are all your services ready to migrate? The answer to that is likely no. Some must be prepared and carefully analysed. Some might have code that is not immediately suitable for a cloud service. It can be code that exposes security risks. Some might have code that could affect performance. Yet some are perfectly ready to just move.

Knowing what services are ready for a move can be identified and, when needed, corrected as a part of a migration roadmap. Also, remember, even in a heavily cloudified or hybrid delivery model, you must make sure that it can be governed. You might find yourself with several different cloud suppliers. It really does become a new complexity of maintaining a good and healthy governance capability.

If you are uncertain of how, what and when you will join the great migration, don’t hesitate to augment your current abilities with external support. Today there are very powerful tools employed by various consulting companies that can make the decisions fact-based and enable a fast and safe move.

Give us a holler if you are ready to go sustainable and secure powered by the cloud. We guarantee that we can help you bring both order and value to your migration wherever your starting point might be.

Sincerely,
Ludvig

Tags: Digital_Transformation Hållbarhet IT-strategi CFO CIO Big_Data