Toward a carbon-aware Cloud

A presentation at Devoxx Belgium in in Antwerp, Belgium by Olivier Bierlaire

“I have all my infra in the cloud, so I do not emit CO2.” The cloud holds a dirty secret: it generates greenhouse gas emissions on par with entire countries such as France or the United Kingdom (IEA, 2021). Infra & Cloud teams have the power to mitigate this issue. It all starts with a simple decision: choosing the right cloud region on platforms like GCP, Azure, or AWS. This choice can reduce emissions by a factor of 10! For example, Ireland has a carbon intensity of 400 gCO2eq/kWh, while the French network can go as low as 20 g. I will demonstrate how we can measure and drastically reduce these emissions, making our cloud “carbon-aware.”:

  • Address the issue of CO2 emissions in the cloud.
  • Present the regulatory and financial landscape that compels us to address this problem.
  • Introduce techniques to measure and estimate emissions using observability tools.
  • Discuss practical methods to reduce the carbon footprint of your cloud infrastructure.
  • Explain the concept of “carbon-awareness,” where infrastructure dynamically self-adjusts based on emissions.
  • Live demo showcasing a carbon-aware infrastructure. To illustrate this concept, I will demonstrate how an infra can seamlessly “move” a cluster of instances between regions based on the carbon intensity of the electrical grid, without any downtime or compromising service quality. All of this serves to demonstrate how infrastructure can dynamically adjust to emissions and become “carbon-aware”!