AWS Leads by Example with a Robust Green Architecture and Sustainability Program

by Ankur Chawla, Senior Solution Architect, Rackspace Technology


Gartner identifies cloud sustainability as a key emerging technology, emphasizing its potential to drive economic, environmental and social benefits. Public cloud services are seen as powerful tools for centralizing IT operations and improving computing efficiency.

As climate concerns rise, Gartner predicts that carbon emissions from hyperscale cloud services will become a top consideration in purchasing decisions, urging cloud providers to prioritize sustainability efforts alongside carbon footprint measurement and advanced grid management software.

Data centers, which account for 2% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Climate Neutral Group, can benefit greatly from cloud technology as they shift toward more eco-friendly alternatives. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has already launched various initiatives to lower both, their direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and offer environmentally sustainable cloud solutions to its clients.

Today, a focus on environmental sustainability is no longer an option. It's a responsibility that extends to every corner of our lives, including the digital realm. Cloud computing has become an integral part of modern business operations, offering scalability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. However, it's imperative to make conscious choices when using cloud services so you can minimize the environmental impact.

In this blog, we'll explore how you can architect your way to a greener cloud on AWS by adopting eco-friendly best practices and optimizing your infrastructure.

Leverage AWS's green initiatives

AWS has taken significant steps to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainability. One of its most notable initiatives is the use of renewable energy for its data centers. By choosing AWS regions powered by renewable energy sources, you can directly contribute to a greener cloud. AWS also provides a Carbon Footprint Calculator to help estimate your environmental impact and track your carbon reduction progress.

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Right size your resources

Optimizing resource use is crucial for sustainability. Over-provisioning instances can lead to wasted energy and resources. AWS offers tools like AWS Trusted Advisor and AWS Cost Explorer to help identify underutilized or oversized resources. By rightsizing your infrastructure, you not only gain the opportunity to reduce costs but also help minimize energy consumption.

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 Use serverless computing

AWS offers serverless computing options, like AWS Lambda and AWS Fargate, which automatically scale resources based on demand. With serverless architectures, you can lower the need to provision and manage servers, which can lead to significant energy savings.

Use energy-efficient instances

AWS provides a range of instance types optimized for various workloads. Selecting the appropriate processor for your applications is a crucial aspect of sustainability because more efficient and faster processors enable you to accomplish the same tasks while consuming less energy. AWS offers a wide range of processor options, including Intel Xeon scalable, AMD EPYC, GPUs, FPGAs and custom ASICs designed for accelerated computing.

The latest processor from AWS, known as AWS Graviton3, is not only highly energy-efficient but also outperforms any other processor on AWS in terms of CPU performance per watt. It can provide up to 40% better price performance compared to current-generation x86-based instances for various workloads. Shifting your workload to Graviton-based instances can enhance the performance efficiency of your applications. When considering the transition to AWS Graviton-based Amazon EC2 instances, it's important to take specific factors into account.

For machine learning workloads, opting for Amazon EC2 instances, which are equipped with purpose-built chips, like AWS Trainium and AWS Inferentia, offer the advantage of developing and running machine-learning models with greater energy efficiency and higher performance per watt compared to GPU-powered instances.

Leverage AWS's global network for content delivery

Amazon CloudFront, AWS's content delivery network (CDN), helps reduce latency and improve user experience by caching content closer to end-users. This not only helps improves performance but also reduces the energy required for data transmission over long distances.

Implement data lifecycle policies

Data stored in the cloud can accumulate over time, leading to unnecessary storage and energy consumption. Implement data lifecycle policies using AWS S3 to automatically delete or move data to lower-cost storage tiers when it's no longer needed.

Reduce network latency

Minimizing network latency can lead to more efficient data transfers and reduced energy consumption. AWS offers services, like AWS Direct Connect and AWS Global Accelerator, to help optimize network performance and reduce the energy required for data transmission.

Monitor and optimize continuously

Regularly monitor your AWS infrastructure using tools, like Amazon CloudWatch. Set up alerts to notify you of abnormal resource use or performance. Continuous monitoring allows you to improve your ability to identify and address inefficiencies promptly.

Leverage AWS Well-Architected Framework

The AWS Well-Architected Framework provides best practices for building secure, high-performing, resilient and efficient infrastructure for applications. By following this framework, you can help ensure that your architecture is not only environmentally friendly but also meets key technical standards.

Your architecture can forge a greener future

Architecting a greener cloud on AWS is not only environmentally responsible but also economically advantageous. By adopting eco-friendly practices, optimizing your AWS infrastructure and leveraging AWS services like AWS Lambda, Amazon S3 and AWS Well-Architected Framework, can help you reduce energy consumption, lower operating costs and contribute to a more sustainable future.

AWS's commitment to sustainability, coupled with your conscientious efforts, can help make a significant impact in achieving a greener cloud environment. Embrace these practices and become a part of the solution in building a more sustainable digital world.

At Rackspace Technology, we’re prepared to help you leverage AWS services to optimize your sustainability program. We are multicloud and hybrid cloud experts, working with our customers on specific sustainability strategies within each hyperscaler and private cloud.

Learn more about our AWS Services