UK government tells firms to migrate to cloud to cut carbon emissions

2nd September 2021NewsRob Batters

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Businesses should look to third-party providers to help implement the right solutions for sustainability

A new report from analyst firm IDC has found that the global tech sector could cut carbon emissions by up to 1 billion tons by 2024 by reducing emissions from non-cloud physical data centres.

This comes in light of UK government recommendations that businesses migrate to the cloud in order to cut their carbon emissions to help combat climate change. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has issued a series of steps for businesses to consider taking to help them pick up the pace of cloud migration and cut their carbon emissions.

The recommendations include a shift to green technology. As part of this initiative, organisations can make changes to the technology that they buy and use to run their operations, as well as auditing the on-site data they have stored. Removing redundant and unnecessary data can help businesses to minimise storage costs once they have migrated to the cloud.

The government recommendations come as part of a wider initiative to get businesses involved in tackling climate change. With their net-zero emissions campaign aiming for a reduced carbon footprint by 2030, they need organisations to throw their weight behind these efforts. New resources are arising to help the cause, like the BEIS-backed UK Business Climate Hub. The hub is helping businesses get involved by challenging its participants to become net-zero entities by 2050.

Migrating to the cloud could save the world 1bn tons of CO2 emissions by 2024 as the UK government tells firms to pick up the pace Click To Tweet

Progress under pressure

Businesses are finding themselves under increasing pressure to solve large socioeconomic challenges. More recently, this has included a shift towards more responsible and sustainable practices, while boosting profitability.

The three big cloud providers, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, have pledged to ramp up their use of renewable energy to power their datacentres. Recently, Amazon Web Services (AWS) claims it is on course to run all its operations by renewable energy by 2025. Similarly, Google Cloud has committed to running its global operations on carbon-free energy by 2030.

The BEIS has also recommended that businesses should buy repurposed, recycled and energy-efficient IT equipment. Tech giant Microsoft has already committed to building recycling centres on-site at every new and existing datacentre location.

From buying energy-efficient equipment to sourcing cloud providers, these small steps will be a key enabler in the reduction of carbon emissions.

Green IT solutions in 2021

The business case for sustainability and green technology

Previously, many businesses viewed sustainability as part of their corporate responsibility strategy, rather than their core business operations. Although green technology has been around for years, it’s now a more prominent factor for customers, regulators and investors; the recent focus on sustainability and better environmental practices has started to impact buying decisions.

Progressive businesses understand that sustainability can no longer be traded-off in favour of profitability; the two can and should go hand-in-hand. Businesses that operate with a sustainable mindset as part of their core strategy are identifying the changing needs and demands of society. In response to these changes, they’re creating successful business models for long-term carbon efficiencies and operational enhancements.

Businesses beginning their cloud migration journey will need to answer a number of questions; this will directly determine how sustainable their solutions are and the benefits they drive. Firms that choose wisely will gain unprecedented levels of innovation leading to both a greener planet and greener assets.

Cloud migration with third-party support

Third-party IT consultancy firms can offer a variety of services to help businesses. They can help with structured assessments to analyse existing capabilities, plot future requirements and map these to the appropriate resources in the cloud.

To ensure that the cloud infrastructure is cost effective and sustainable, the architecture should be rationalised at the point of migration. Third-party providers can help businesses to analyse existing infrastructure and design a compact cloud architecture. With this approach, firms could take full advantage of modern approaches, such as containerisation. This can minimise the size and cost of the stack needed in the cloud, as well as integrating back-up and recovery services.

Hybrid cloud platform migration and modernisation

For some businesses, running every system in the cloud is not viable for reasons of security, latency or regulatory compliance; thus it is usually necessary to keep some IT infrastructure in-house. However, there are solutions that businesses can implement to help improve sustainability and lower their emissions.

Third-party providers can help enterprises determine what will benefit from cloud migration, and what should remain on-premise. These assessments include projections of TCO benefits and any potential risk in migration – whether to a new platform in the cloud or a modernised platform in the existing data centre.

The goal is to help firms move their business-critical systems to platforms that require less maintenance and offer more sustainability. For example, a third-party software package running on modern hardware can significantly reduce ongoing costs. Alternatively, choosing a platform-as-a-service offering will eliminate the time and effort associated with patching, while a full infrastructure-as-a-service offering means no more concerns about owning and operating hardware.

Rob Batters, Director of Managed and Technical Services at Northdoor plc, said:

“Companies are rapidly moving to the cloud for innovation and cost-savings with sustainability as a major driver. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to sustainable cloud journeys and by looking to third-party consultants, businesses have the opportunity to fully understand the migration, design, and engineering decisions that will directly determine how sustainable their solutions are and the benefits they drive.”

If you want more information to understand whether your business could migrate to the cloud, take a look at our Cloud Readiness Assessment.


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