Making applications more sustainable with Cisco

Global greenhouse gas emissions in the tech sector are significant as they are on par or larger than that of the aviation industry. Building applications more sustainably and reducing cloud carbon footprint have become increasingly important as part of organizations’ operational goals. For instance, ebay aims to source 100% renewable electricity for all eBay-controlled data centers and offices by 2025. Organizations have started to practice green coding, with some even re-coding their applications with older programming languages as research into the speed and energy use of programming languages found that C was the most efficient in speed, reducing energy and memory usage and providing another potential opportunity for energy savings.  

Moving to net zero is the goal  

Moving to net zero is the goal, but it’s easier said than done. Over 1,000 organizations have set net zero goals, but so far, only 4% have met the UN-prescribed targets for roaching those goals. According to Intel Advisory Board – The Sustainable CTO (2023): 

  • Seventy-five percent (75%) say IT-related emissions are one of the hardest aspects to improve. 
  • Eighty-percent (80%) claim that technological innovation will play a significant role in their whole organization’s transformation to a net zero business model.   
  • Believe that the CTO’s role is pivotal to a successful net zero transition, and the CTO has the potential to become the greatest driver of sustainability in the organization. 

The move to net zero will likely start from the top, as Gartner expects that by 2027, 25% of CIO’s compensation will be linked to their sustainable technology impact.  

Cloud carbon footprint and the future of sustainability reporting 

Measuring cloud carbon footprint is one of the ways to gauge how sustainable an organization’s IT infrastructure is. And soon, it won’t just be something that they will do of their own volition to build a more sustainable future for generations to come, it will be required.   

It’s expected that in the near future, mandated reporting laws and regulations, starting in Europe, will require companies to report on their cloud carbon footprint – including what they’ve used from third-party cloud providers.This will require companies to invest in reporting tools and platforms to measure everything across clouds.  

Currently, most third-party cloud providers don’t provide real utilization metrics for cloud consumption to their customers – instead they provide an aggregate usage formula across their entire customer base consisting of cloud provisioning vs. actual usage. Individual customers can then use that formula to guestimate their actual cloud consumption based on what they’ve provisioned – but with overprovisioning being common, the data most likely would not be accurate.

Cisco is helping organizations build sustainable applications

Cisco’s holistic approach to environmental sustainability includes how we operate our business, how we engage with suppliers, and how we help customers and communities reduce their environmental impact. Migrating applications to the cloud gives organizations the financial and environmental benefits of economies of scale, and many cloud providers now use renewable energy sources 

Cisco Full-Stack Observability (FSO) gives organizations the tools they need so they don’t lose visibility when migrating applications to the cloud, giving them the confidence to do mass-migrations – thus helping them to instantly become more sustainable. For instance after adopting Cisco FSO solutions, Carhartt moved 96% of their applications to the cloud 

Cisco also provides cost optimization solutions that help organizations reduce their cloud consumption whether it’s public, private or hybrid cloud – helping them lower their cloud carbon footprint and reachtheir sustainabilitytargets. 

Cisco’s application resource and workload optimization solutions help streamline application performance so that organizations are using the least amount of energy necessary to deliver the best customer experience. Additionally, Cisco works with technology partners to build tools on our Cisco Observability Platform that empower organizations with environmental impact metrics for regulatory reporting and more 

While corporate sustainability is just in the beginning stages, Cisco looks forward to playing a part in this planet’s sustainable future.   


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