The term ‘out of sight out of mind’ is particularly apt when it comes to cloud technology - often tempting users to adopt the resource in a way that leads to waste and inefficiency. In fact, IT waste for the average enterprise is as high as 45%, which just goes to show how important sustainable digital solutions are when it comes to both optimising company profit and saving the environment.
This is why companies are increasingly turning to FinOps and GreenOps - two different, yet complimentary, operating models that help companies to control their cloud costs while simultaneously helping operations to become more efficient and sustainable.
👉 In this article we’ll explore the meaning of FinOps and GreenOps, why they work best in tandem, and how Greenly can help you to achieve greener IT.
Digital carbon footprint
The ICT sector (information and communication technology sector) has seen huge growth over the last decades and now accounts for around 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions - which is why from an environmental perspective it’s crucial that we take steps to reduce carbon emissions.
One element of a company's IT structure that might not be an obvious contributor to carbon emissions is its cloud services.
The name ‘cloud’ is a bit of a misnomer, because instead of existing somewhere ‘up there’, it exists down here - in concrete buildings, full of servers that require continuous cooling and consume huge amounts of water and energy. In fact, cloud consumption is so energy intensive that it’s even overtaken the aviation industry when it comes to global carbon dioxide emissions.
What’s worth noting however, is that not all cloud operations are created equal, and some offer a much more environmentally friendly option than others.
This is why it’s so important for companies to both carefully select their cloud provider, and implement strategies that minimise the carbon footprint of their cloud usage (something we’ll get into in more detail shortly).
The importance of the Public Cloud
The public cloud is an IT model where public cloud service providers make computing services - including compute and storage, develop-and-deploy environments, and applications - available on demand to organisations and individuals over the public internet.
The public cloud (also known as the traditional cloud) has the ability to significantly reduce an organisation’s carbon emissions when compared to an on-premises data centre (ie. a group of servers that are privately owned and controlled). In fact, companies could see a carbon emissions saving of as much as 90% compared to on-premise server storage.
And while this is a great contribution to sustainability in and of itself, it’s not the end of the story. Because, even though the cloud improves efficiencies through the development of more sophisticated technologies - the more advanced these technologies become, the more heavily we rely on data servers and networks.
Not only this, but cloud services also tend to be over-provisioned, ie: oversold, under-used and over-programmed. Translation = used in a way that is, at times, wasteful and repetitive.
This is why it’s important that organisations also adopt ongoing sustainability initiatives when it comes to the running and management of their cloud services. FinOps and GreenOps are two operating models that can help to achieve this.
What do we mean by FinOps and GreenOps?
FinOps is an operational and cultural shift that combines technology, finance, and business in order to maximise efficiency and optimise the financial performance of cloud computing infrastructure.
Cloud computing is a primary operating expense for many businesses which is why an increasing number are implementing FinOps. Through the promotion of shared responsibility for cloud costs, companies can get a better understanding of their cloud computing expenses in order to optimise these costs, maximise profits, and increase their competitive advantage.
GreenOps is an operating model that combines business practices and technologies aimed at optimising the efficiency of the cloud while also minimising its environmental impact.
GreenOps encompasses everything that an organisation does to reduce the environmental footprint of their cloud usage. It involves the development of strategies that aim to improve sustainability while also promoting business objectives such as: waste reduction, the transition to renewable energy, the development of a company culture of sustainability and environmental responsibility etc.
Actual actions that organisation might take under the banner of GreenOps are relocating resources to a country where renewable energy is used, switching off resources during ‘idling hours’ (ie. hours when the resources are not in use), creating energy optimised frameworks for workloads, and using cloud-native solutions.
Why FinOps and GreenOps go hand in hand
Although FinOps and GreenOps are two different approaches, they actually go hand in hand and compliment one another in a very effective way - allowing companies to both optimise their cloud usage and expenditure, while simultaneously minimising their environmental impact.
In fact, FinOps is actually one of the biggest contributors to GreenOps, because by ensuring that cloud resources are used in an optimal fashion, not only are cost savings achieved, but energy usage and carbon emissions are also reduced - it really is a win-win situation. This is why FinOps is an essential framework for businesses who want to become more sustainable.
FinOps can help an organisation to select the most energy efficient cloud service providers, while also ensuring that a company continues to push for improvement when it comes to sustainability.
FinOps and GreenOps complement one another so well that it’s even recommended that FinOps and GreenOps teams create common work areas and dashboards that allow for collaboration and mutually beneficial decision making.
The two approaches allow for a more holistic approach to sustainability while also making good business sense. By controlling the cost of cloud services, pushing forward innovation, and delivering on sustainability commitments, companies can achieve business advantages beyond cost savings. These actions help companies to attract customers, employees, and investors, who are increasingly concerned by ESG considerations and a company’s efforts to reduce their environmental impact.
How Greenly can help?
Achieving sustainability within IT can be a lot more complex and challenging than you’d think. It requires collaboration with other departments in the business (such as financial, and procurement departments), as well as a wider cultural shift within the company itself.
Not only this, but the digital space is awash with greenwashing claims, which combined with a lack of accurate data and the general complexities of the IT world, can make implementing FinOps and GreenOps models challenging. This is why many organisations turn to companies such as Greenly to help make the transition.
Greenly can help companies to cut through all the greenwashing and misleading sustainability claims within the digital industry and assist with the transition to a sustainable IT model.
Greenly’s leading technology and tech expertise allows companies to accurately measure the carbon footprint of their digital emissions - including their cloud usage. This allows companies to get a detailed breakdown of their digital emissions, with granular details that show information such as cloud emissions by location, cloud provider, and at the instance level.
Not only this, but with over 100 different software integrations, Greenly is able to provide an accurate overview of your cloud usage and emissions in real time, all while maintaining a high level of automation - which makes the process as quick and pain free as possible!
And once our clients have been armed with all the information they need on their carbon footprint and digital emissions, Greenly’s experts also have the knowledge to support the implementation of next steps and a net zero strategy.
Greenly is able to provide expert advice when it comes to the best Green IT solutions. We work with multiple cloud providers and can help companies to select the most sustainable option for their business needs.
Don’t want to take our word for it? Then why not trust one of our 1000+ satisfied clients.
The bottom line
Given the growing carbon footprint of digital services such as the cloud, it’s never been more important that companies take stock of their own IT carbon emissions. Not only is this crucial in terms of sustainability, but given the increasingly stretched financial climate, the resulting cost savings are not to be ignored.
FinOps and GreenOps are two complementary approaches that any company, wishing to reduce their carbon footprint, should look to implement.
By reducing the usage of cloud resources through FinOps, organisations are also able to reduce their ICT carbon footprint - a win for the environment! However, this also has another benefit - which is the reduction of operating costs, something that most companies can’t afford to miss out on.
What about Greenly?
At Greenly we can help you to assess your company’s carbon footprint, and then give you the tools you need to cut down on emissions. Why not request a free demo with one of our experts - no obligation or commitment required.
If you’d like to learn more about a specific industry, Greenly can help by providing an in-depth industry study, created by our climate scientists.
Green-Tok, a newsletter dedicated to climate green news
We share green news once a month (or more if we find interesting things to tell you)
A recent study reveals that New York is sinking, but rising sea levels and climate change may not be entirely to blame. Why is New York City sinking, and is it due to climate change itself? What could be done to protect the future vitality and viability of New York City?