Achieve your sustainability and environmental goals with the Cloud Adoption Framework

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This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: New blog articles in Microsoft Community Hub.

Your host Thomas Maurer and guest Tobias Zimmergren will discuss the sustainability guidance recently released in the Cloud Adoption Framework. Sustainability guidance has been published in several of the methodologies, given that sustainability as a topic touches all aspects of a customer’s cloud adoption. The following methodologies have sustainability considerations:


Tobias will talk about why Microsoft released the guidance and how the Cloud Adoption Framework guidance differs from the . He will also share some details on what's included in this guidance for each of the Cloud Adoption Framework methodologies and provide information on where you can get started.

What was the driving factor to create the sustainability guidance in the Cloud Adoption Framework?


One of the factors was cloud impact was measured traditionally with financial metrics. So, if you move to the cloud, if you migrate to the cloud; cost was the driving factor. Today, customers also want to know more about sustainability and they're really more carbon aware. Some common questions that come up are: How do I reduce my carbon emission? How do I make an impact on the climate, not just my wallet? This leads to; how does this intersect with cost management, cost optimization and general cloud economics discussions. This is something many companies are discussing now.


Who needs sustainability guidance?


For example, people in roles such as CFO or Chief Sustainability Officers now use sustainability as a goal today, which was something which wasn’t discussed before. So that means you also need to measure engagement. How do you do that and how do you know if you're on track? How do you define the teams and responsibilities to help track these things??

In WAF, the , the guidance that was published there, is about sustainability, workload guidance, so specifically for workloads. Now adding on to that with the guidance in CAF, the , has two broad themes. One theme is cloud economics with customers who come and say, “How do I drive cost awareness and cost optimization in my organization?” An outcome of that might be that if you drive cost optimization, you can also drive sustainability.

The other theme in CAF is compliance. So, if your organization is driving some kind of regulatory compliance management or you need to abide by specific laws or regulations, or if you're getting mandates from investors, whatever it might be, organizations now have different compliance requirements on them. In addition, you have green requirements saying that you should use renewable energy as an example. Often these discussions happen in hindsight or new requirements are added later in the project. The CAF sustainability guidance was created to address this as well. all the way from building the strategy, to operating when you're then later in the cloud. This has been rooted in the field with partnerships for sustainability. There are subject matter experts that Tobias and team works with at Microsoft including some members of the Green Software Foundation as well to help really drive awareness with this.


Differences between guidance for CAF and WAF.

Thomas mentioned to Tobias that Microsoft has already published some guidance in the Well Architected Framework around sustainability and wanted to know what is the difference in the CAF sustainability guidance. So how is that different from what we already have published in the well architected framework?

Tobias noted in the Well Architected Framework, to paint the picture, is they have architects, developers, workload owners, they need to design a more optimized system so they can really impact sustainability on the workload level. So, after you've deployed things to Azure or when you're deploying things to Azure, you can design them the right way with the right size, with the right SKUs and all these things to really have an impact on the carbon emissions. And in CAF what they wanted to do is to bring relevant guidance to the executives, IT decision makers, platform managers, IT operations team and anyone who's really managing the cloud estate. So, it's at a different altitude for a different audience. In the CAF sustainability guidance, they talked about a shared responsibility from decision makers to implementers, between cloud providers and the customer. Shared responsibility is often mentioned along with security. For example, if you work a lot with security, you know it's a shared responsibility between all parties and the same is true with sustainability.


For sustainability, Microsoft is responsible for the data centers and the relevant considerations of those and the customer is responsible for what they deploy into those data centers. A simple example of this is if you deploy an app service and you utilize only on average 5% of the entire CPU capacity, that means you can probably do right sizing because it's over allocated, so it's underutilized.

To minimize that or you draw down the SKU and the tier you're deployed on, you're going to save on carbon emissions as well. Hence, decision makers can impact how organizations adopt and adapt green software practices as well as push the organizational altitude forward for sustainability and that spans both CAF and WAF guidance.

What’s included in the CAF sustainability guidance?

Tobias noted at a high-level there are really two things: one is they have sprinkled sustainability all across Cloud Adoption Framework. Therefore, wherever you are in your cloud journey you will be exposed to the line of thinking of sustainability. So whatever decisions you make, sustainability will be right there and making you aware that when you make these decisions, to also think about the climate and the future impact that it will have.


The second item is they have also created net new guidance; so, a specific set of pages for some of the methodologies we have where we talk about specific recommendations across four of those existing methodologies.


  • Strategy: The first one that we use is strategy; they talk about the early stages in your strategies, building your green teams and setting up the goals for those teams and other objectives.
  • Plan: Then in the plan methodology; they talk about identifying your current emissions, designing roles and responsibilities. This would include nominating sustainability leads to help drive these things in your organization before you then really kick things off.
  • Govern: Then if you've migrated to the cloud or you're up and running in the cloud you also need to govern things. So, in the govern methodology, they talked about governance at large, but maybe with that sustainability lens, so slightly different than just normal governance. For example, you can use Azure policies to help drive sustainability outcomes as well by restricting what and where you can deploy things. If for example, you live in a part of the world that has a lot of renewable energy, you can also restrict where you can deploy resources to always say we only want to use renewable energy when we deploy these types of resources.
  • Manage: Then you have the manage methodology. For example, when you're up and running already in the cloud, this talks about what kind of considerations you need to look at. An example is, how do you monitor carbon emissions practically using cost as a proxy for sustainability? Because if you drive cost awareness and cost optimization, usually the outcome is you're lowering the tiers that you deploy on ultimately leading to less carbon emissions released into the atmosphere as well.


Sustainability is a continuous effort.

Just like with security, sustainability is a continuous effort. It never really stops. It's not like you drive a project and then you come over the finish line and drop everything. You have to drive this all the time. In the future Microsoft will be adding more guidance as we learn more about how things work with our customers and work with our partners. The next steps would also be to read the WAF guidance that was talked about below in Resources.


Recommended Next Steps

If you’d like to learn more about the general principles prescribed by Microsoft, we recommend Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for platform and environment-level guidance and Azure Well-Architected Framework. You can also register for an upcoming workshop led by Azure partners on cloud migration and adoption topics and incorporate click-through labs to ensure effective, pragmatic training.








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