Boost efficiency and cost savings with new sustainability guidance in the Cloud Adoption Framework

October 26, 2023

Sustainability in a cloud estate can help ensure long-term operational efficiency, cost savings, and alignment with increasing global eco-regulatory requirements.

By aligning to sound sustainability practices, businesses can significantly lower environmental impact, future-proof operations, and derive competitive advantages in an eco-conscious marketplace.

In October 2022, we published new guidance on sustainability and cloud efficiency through the Azure Well-Architected Framework sustainability workload guidance, helping architects and developers design better and more optimized systems with sustainability in mind.

Today, we’re happy to announce the updated guidance around sustainability in the Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF), helping executives, IT decision- makers, platform managers, IT operations, and other relevant roles with their sustainability journeys.

Talking about sustainability end-to-end

The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) provides a comprehensive, end-to-end approach for organizations to successfully adopt and manage cloud technologies, ensuring that their cloud journey is seamless and efficient.

As organizations continue to evolve and adapt to new technologies and business needs, CAF serves as a constant guide, enabling them to revisit and reassess their strategies, plans, and implementations. This iterative approach ensures continuous improvement and alignment with business objectives, making CAF a vital tool for organizations throughout their cloud journey.

The demand for sustainable cloud environments and green software grows, and CAF plays a crucial role in supporting organizations throughout their end-to-end cloud journey, helping them adopt eco-friendly practices and align with sustainability goals.

Cloud Adoption Framework Strategy

Customers are increasingly evaluating the cloud’s contributions to their environmental goals, as it can help reduce carbon emissions and resource use. Moving from on-premises data centers to the cloud can help reduce up to 98 percent of carbon emissions. To achieve long-term sustainability goals, it helps to define cloud strategies that incorporate sustainability outcomes and benefits for your business.

  • Build green teams and set goals for the teams owning sustainability.
  • Sustainability for your company’s brand
  • Insights on regulatory compliance
  • Help in understanding your current emissions
  • Get guidance on recommended tools and resources
  • See examples of sustainability outcomes

To learn more, see Sustainability outcomes and benefits for business – Cloud Adoption Framework.

Plan

Prioritizing sustainability in your cloud and business planning is essential if you want to get a head start to reduce environmental impact, showcase Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment, and meet regulations quicker.

Diving into this section helps you understand the importance of:

  • Identifying your current emissions as you plan ahead
  • Design roles and responsibilities, nominate a sustainability lead, and define a clear RACI (Responsibility, Accountability, Consulted, and Informed)
  • Skilling to build a sustainability community and to dive into learning resources
  • Defining reporting standards, as well as some considerations on risk management

To learn more, see Sustainability considerations in cloud adoption planning – Cloud Adoption Framework

Govern

The guidance helps you set sustainability and cloud efficiency guidelines that can decrease expenses and align with compliance standards. 

With proper policy control, you can configure how certain aspects of your Azure estate should be restricted and used. Implementing governance for sustainability doesn’t have to be complex.

Here are some example guidelines to demonstrate how to promote sustainability, achieve cost benefits, and guide sustainability discussions within your organization.

  • Deploy to low-carbon regions to help your organization meet sustainability goals, reduce carbon emissions, and save costs.
  • Schedule workloads to run during low-carbon periods to reduce the carbon footprint
  • Restrict service tiers with policies, allowing only certain SKUs to be deployed to avoid over-provisioning.
  • Track workload consumption and notifying stakeholders and owners can help drive awareness of over-consumption and unnecessary carbon emissions.

To learn more, see Sustainability considerations in your cloud governance strategy – Cloud Adoption Framework

Manage

Getting sustainability alignment in cloud management and operations helps drive carbon awareness in your teams and can ultimately work toward achieving your sustainability goals.

Guidance in this section helps you further understand things like:

  • Monitoring carbon emissions
  • Using cost as a proxy for sustainability
  • Finding opportunities to schedule workloads
  • Monitor for services to retire
  • Removing unused data
  • Gather sustainability insights with the Emissions Impact Dashboard
  • Learn about demand shaping

To learn more, see Sustainability considerations in cloud management – Cloud Adoption Framework

Summary

The sustainability guidance in the Cloud Adoption Framework helps you understand end-to-end sustainability considerations in your cloud estate. With the introduction of sustainability guidance across methodologies, you get exposed to ideas of driving sustainability from multiple perspectives, regardless of where in your cloud journey you are.

Next steps in sustainability with Microsoft

Continue your sustainability journey with these additional learning resources.

  • Microsoft Well-Architected Framework—Sustainability workload guidance is a set of recommendations and best practices for designing workloads on Azure with relevant considerations for sustainability and cloud efficiency.
  • Microsoft Sustainability Manager offers a scalable solution centralizing data analytics for seamless, integrated, and automated sustainability management, catering to organizations at all sustainability levels. It streamlines manual tasks, facilitating efficient recording, reporting, and mitigation of emissions, water, or waste impact.
  • Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability helps organizations accelerate sustainability progress and business growth with a set of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) capabilities.

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