Architects and domain experts collaborate to build sustainability guidance for Azure
Published Oct 12 2022 09:00 AM 7,104 Views
Microsoft

On October 12 we’re announcing new technical guidance to help customers and partners achieve their sustainability goals using Azure – guidance to help you to plan your path forward, improve your sustainability posture, and create new business value while reducing your operational footprint. Get started today at https://aka.ms/waf/sustainability/docs.

 

This initial release focused on workload optimizations for green IT within the Azure Well-Architected Framework (WAF) is part of a broader initiative to help customers navigate the steep learning curve around how to meet and plan for evolving sustainability requirements and regulations in relation to the development, deployment, and operations of IT capabilities. 

 

As part of Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to promote sustainable development and low-carbon business practices globally, this guidance complements solutions such as the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability and Microsoft Sustainability Manager to help you optimize workloads in the cloud.

 

A story of employee engagement and activism in action

 

The story starts like most incubation projects – a group of people seeing a common unmet need and organizing to create a solution. In this case, many of us were fielding questions from customers around application efficiency, and how our customers’ applications could be optimized for energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. 

 

Building on the work of internal initiatives for sustainable software engineering as well as industry-leading guidance from the Green Software Foundation, a group of internal volunteers dedicated evenings and weekends to building this initial documentation set. This project quickly gained support across the company, and participation snowballed.

 

In translating the principles of the GSF into Azure guidance, our team wanted to cover not only the foundational elements of efficiency but also the larger opportunities for impact. In the words of team member Simon Thurman, a Sr. Cloud Solution Architect:

 

“Whilst some of the GSF principles are somewhat obvious, for example network utilisation – limiting calls, reducing packet size, …  Others are probably less so, such as demand shaping – running the application at a time and place that reduces emissions whilst still meeting the demands of the business. It is these less-known principles that make the guidance essential to meet the environmental targets that we all have.”

 

Key guidance areas

 

This offering guides our cloud customers on the overall approach starting with understanding drivers, through measuring current emissions, to actual design and implementation recommendations.

 

These recommendations are grouped based on the design area and customer stage, such as Application Platform design, Testing and Operations. In addition, specific segments like Networking and Storage are bundled as these are crucial areas which impact significantly on workload efficiency. This includes following the right caching techniques, storage compression, and network utilization.

 

Application design of sustainable workloads on Azure

 

Networking considerations for sustainable workloads on Azure

 

Application platform considerations for sustainable workloads on Azure

 

Data and storage design considerations for sustainable workloads on Azure

Testing considerations for sustainable workloads on Azure

 

Security considerations for sustainable workloads on Azure

Operational procedure considerations for sustainable workloads on Azure

 

 

Fig 1. Each recommendation in these design areas maps directly to the green software principles of the Green Software Foundation.

 

In the voice of our contributors

 

“There has never been more focus on sustainability, and I see this in my interactions with clients all the time. Businesses across all industries want to make a difference and this guidance will be pivotal to their success. It’s inspiring to know that we have the tools, technology, and guiding principles at our own fingertips to drive this change with them.”

- Tony Barker, Sr. Cloud Solution Architect

 

“In my view this guidance highlights the importance and impact of considering sustainability when designing solution architectures. Not only does it encourage the conversation of sustainability, but it also illustrates the positive influence the architecture team can have.”

- Simon Thurman, Sr. Cloud Solution Architect

 

“The amount of expertise that was brought together to form this guidance was overwhelmed by only one thing, the level of passion from all contributors. It was inspiring! Building teams and output goals around sustainability in your organization truly unlocks superstar engagement.”

- Chad Kittel, Azure Architecture Center

 

Our commitment to learning together

 

As we continue to work with industry partners such as the Green Software Foundation and our customers and partners, we’re learning more every day. We hope you’ll implement the guidance in your projects and bookmark the link: aka.ms/waf/sustainability/docs. Let us know what challenges you’re working to solve, and what additional guidance you’re looking for. We look forward to hearing from you.

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