Moving on-premises workloads to Microsoft Cloud can improve your energy efficiency by up to 98%.

The climate crisis is one of the most important challenges we are faced with across the globe. As the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is being hosted in Incremental’s hometown of Glasgow, we are exploring the role technology plays in sustainability.

Microsoft’s sustainability commitment

Microsoft is a principal partner of COP26. The global tech giant has committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030 and is investing heavily into research and solutions that will empower organisations to reduce their environmental impact.

Microsoft released a study that compares Microsoft Cloud services with traditional, on-premises datacentre deployments. Although technology usage undoubtedly contributes significantly to carbon emissions, the results of the study showed that the Microsoft Cloud (Azure and Microsoft 365) delivers impressive sustainability benefits compared to traditional on-premises datacentres. The Microsoft Cloud can enable some organisations to reduce the carbon footprint associated with technology by up to 98%.

Technology’s impact on the environment

Cloud solutions enable organisations to collect, analyse and store large amounts of data in remote environments, improving organisational efficiency and agility. However, the datacentres that support the cloud consume large amounts of energy.

In the United States alone, datacentres consume about 70 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity each year, roughly 1.8 percent of the total electricity consumed in the country. When organisations review their carbon footprint, technology must be considered as a significant contributor.

Smaller footprint with the Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft’s whitepaper compared cloud services against a range of on-premises deployment scenarios to measure the impact on carbon emissions. Microsoft analysed four cloud services:

  • Azure Compute
  • Azure Storage
  • Exchange Online
  • SharePoint Online

The study implemented a life cycle assessment for all cloud services and their on-premises equivalents, to build a full picture of energy consumption and carbon emissions.

The study found that moving from an enterprise, on-premises datacentre to the Microsoft Cloud provided significant energy efficiencies, up to 98%!

The key features of Microsoft Cloud services that contribute to energy efficiency are:

  • IT operational efficiency
  • IT equipment efficiency
  • Datacentre infrastructure efficiency

These efficiencies translate into both energy and carbon savings. When Microsoft’s commitment to using zero-carbon electricity for its datacentres is taken into consideration, emission savings are increased further.

Why is Microsoft Cloud a more sustainable option?

When organisations run systems on-premises they are typically using energy without the efficiency features Microsoft utilise to provide cloud services. Microsoft’s large datacentres run with optimal carbon-efficiency, providing cloud services to multiple organisations.

The study shows that centralising energy usage with large economies of scale enables commercial cloud services to operate with greater efficiencies than smaller, on-premises deployments. Only cloud providers and private datacentres that use large volumes of renewable electricity will be able to achieve a carbon footprint comparable with Microsoft Cloud services, such as Azure.

Read Microsoft’s study for a full breakdown of the results: The carbon benefits of cloud computing – a study of the Microsoft Cloud.

cloud v on-prem

Developing your sustainability strategy

There are many varying factors that contribute to an organisation’s carbon footprint and sustainability journey. When it comes to technology and energy-usage, moving workloads to a Microsoft Cloud environment like Azure, can be an effective way to reduce carbon-emissions and empower your organisation to do its part in the fight against climate change.

Choosing the right cloud environment for your organisation can take time, but Microsoft Azure’s commitment to clean-energy and sustainable cloud technology provides assurance that your cloud service provider is investing in and prioritising protection of the environment.

Whether you organisation is already using the cloud for some processes or is just embarking on its cloud migration journey, Incremental can support. To get advice on best-practice migration methodologies and to discuss your cloud migration strategy with an expert, please get in touch today.