Caring about Cloud Carbon Commitments: A Look at VMware’s Zero Carbon Committed Initiative

Ian Moyse, Industry Cloud Thought Leader & Sponsored Influencer of VMware’s Zero Carbon Committed Initiative

Having worked in IT leadership a long, long time, engaging with businesses from small startups to the largest multi-billion-dollar global organisations, I have seen the levels of commitment to sustainability initiatives change over time.

It was not so many years ago that businesses liked the ‘press release’ kudos of a green initiative, but lacked the commitment, ability and information to execute on the dream. Today, the importance of committing to low-carbon and sustainable computing initiatives have become clear. While around 2% of the world’s emissions currently come from computing, predictions show a steep rise over the next two decades, making the current models unsustainable. We have witnessed the growth in use of computational resources since the 1970s, and with the emergence of technologies such as Web2.0 and cloud computing driving exponential growth in mobility, device sprawl and service augmentation, it will keep accelerating.

It’s therefore key that we find ways and deliver more effective ways to meet the needs of a growing technology demanding user base.

Cloud computing was thought to be a part of the solution, in that compute power was re-centralised, distributed and shared. However, data centres require large power sources to drive the large compute needs and periphery key needs such as high levels of cooling compound, which can reduce the carbon reduction benefits. With the massive adoption of new cloud services, energy use from data centres is expected to treble across the next decade. Add to this that computing technologies are reaching the limits in terms of chip size and processing speeds, and it’s clear we must deploy new approaches of low carbon computing optimisation and form collaborative foundations between the vendor and user. 

I particularly like how VMware, as a core player in the compute and cloud arena, demonstrates commitment and leadership for this important issue. VMware has a long history of empowering customers to reduce the environmental impact of their technology usage and hit its own carbon-neutral targets 2 years ahead of plan in 2018. Now, through the VMware Zero Carbon Committed Initiative, it connects VMware cloud services partners offering low carbon solutions to customers with sustainability goals.

These VMware Zero Carbon Committed partners have signed up to power their data centres with 100% renewable energy or achieve carbon neutrality on or before 2030. These partners are also VMware Cloud Verified, which means that they are on a virtualised VMware technology stack of compute, storage and network (SDDC). Moving to SDDC enables these partners to support a higher workload density without sacrificing performance, which greatly reduces the number of hosts, storage and load balancers needed. The density of virtual machines is managed and right-sized to reduce any clusters with low utilisation, shrinking the data centre hardware footprint and thus saving energy.

With partners such as Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Oracle, Google and a breadth of others committing to the initiative, it’s driving momentum and value to the growing number of businesses looking to support and invest in a more sustainable cloud journey. VMware is connecting the supply chain members and enabling a new wave of customers to achieve lower carbon impacts through its own commitment and delivery of a model for others to engage with. The full list of VMware Zero Carbon Committed partners can be found here

Through aligning our goals towards a more sustainable and carbon-friendly technology world, we can enable the growth users are demanding in an efficient, productive manner while not posing commercial barriers to green initiatives. In fact, being part of a validated zero carbon commitment now brings commercial advantage in a market demanding low-carbon cloud services. VMware’s promotion to its vast global audience opens up new opportunities for those vendors committing to this journey.

Boards now treat this as a serious decision factor and not the ‘nice to have’ tick box exercise of yesteryear. I expect and in fact recommend that cloud providers expand their reach and opportunity by joining the VMware Zero Carbon Committed Initiative


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