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How Green is Your Cloud?

I’m sure you are familiar with the Five Pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. Did you know there is now a 6th? - The Sustainability Pillar.

The Five Pillars - a recap

The Five Pillars of AWS Well-Architected are:

  • Operational Excellence: ensures the running and monitoring of your platform delivers business value, while continually improving processes and procedures.

  • Security: includes the ability to protect data, systems, and assets to take advantage of cloud technologies to improve your security posture.

  • Reliability: ensures your platform is resilient and recovers quickly from failures -to meet business and customer demand.

  • Performance Efficiency: ensures you are utilising the correct workloads for the requirements and ensuring efficiency as business needs evolve.

  • Cost Optimisation: ensures you are selecting the right number of resource types, analysing spend over time, and scaling to meet business needs without overspending.

So what can a 6th Pillar reasonably add?

The 6th Pillar (P6)

P6 is about efficiency in the Cloud - overall consuming fewer Cloud resources (and hence energy), and therefore running your Cloud with a lower carbon footprint.

AWS is responsible for the sustainability of the Cloud. But it is the customer who is responsible for sustainability in the Cloud.

In practice, P6 helps developers and cloud architects to deploy Well-Architected Design principles for sustainability in the Cloud. It will:

  • surface the trade-offs,

  • highlight patterns and best practices, and

  • avoid anti-patterns.

Or, in plain English:

  • Ensure your environment is right-sized and has the elasticity it needs, for example consider using Amazon ElastiCache - a fully managed in-memory data store and cache service which copes with demand variability, improves performance and is much more energy efficient that disk-based databases.

  • Ensure you are using the latest technologies as these will certainly be much more efficient than what you are using now. It’s Moore’s Law in action: we can always do more with less today than what we did in the past.

  • Consider using AWS managed services like Amazon RDS instead of running your own RDS instances on EC2. Using an AWS managed service will ensure high utilisation and optimisation - and hence is more energy efficient.

There are many practical ways to engineer a Cloud environment for efficiency. At PolarSeven we have a proprietary Play Book to review your environment for possible improvements, and a simple six step process around this:

  • Identify targets for improvement

  • Evaluate specific improvements

  • Prioritise and plan improvements

  • Test and validate improvements

  • Deploy changes to production

  • Measure results and replicate successes

Stay Proactive

Once your environment is Well-Architected against the Six Pillars, we can help you keep it Well-Tuned - and just like a well-tuned car it creates fewer emissions that way.

p7-Managed with our integral ProactivePlan is not just your average managed service. On a monthly basis, we review your environment against Pillars 5 and 6 - Cost optimisation and sustainability to ensure you are getting the best value from your Cloud Services and running them as efficiently as possible.

Which is good for you and the planet.

If you would like to know more how we can help you be more sustainable in the Cloud, book a free consultation or callback, and our cloud professionals can discuss your unique circumstances and offer advice and solutions that will work for you.


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