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  • Sustainability monitoring high on CIO agenda for cloud environments

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    Fifty percent of organisations will adopt sustainability-enabled monitoring by 2026, to manage energy consumption and carbon footprint metrics for their hybrid cloud environments, according to a poll of CIOs conducted by Gartner.

    This is in response to pressure from investors, customers, regulators and governments, which is forcing organizations to adopt carbon neutrality and net zero goals by 2030. For example, the Australian Government recently introduced legislation to establish the Net Zero Economy Authority to support the country’s net zero transformation.

    “Organizations have strong carbon reduction goals to achieve and expect their infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams to launch sustainability initiatives that align their current IT carbon footprint with corporate goals,” said Padraig Byrne, VP Analyst at Gartner and Conference Chair of the Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference in Sydney this week.

    The 2024 Gartner CIO and Technology Executive Survey revealed that 79% of Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) CIOs expected to direct the second largest amount of new or additional funding in 2024 towards cloud platforms, which increasingly makes the environmental sustainability of cloud a core responsibility for I&O leaders. The survey gathered data from 2,457 respondents in 84 countries, including 87 in ANZ.

    According to Gartner, the reporting of activities, energy usage, water efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in cloud and data centers will become new areas of IT management, resulting in new IT operating models (GreenOps) that will require new processes, capabilities and tools.

    “I&O leaders and managed service providers will demand monitoring, analytical and generative AI services from software and cloud vendors to manage and optimize CO2e emissions and power consumption for reporting and IT management purposes,” said Byrne.

    To satisfy this demand, monitoring vendors will evolve their portfolio of products and will enable new capabilities to track CO2e and power consumption across different IT layers – data center, hardware, middleware and applications. According to Gartner, this will provide analytical capabilities and insights to optimize every type of workload.

    There are a number of adoption challenges for sustainability-enabled monitoring. Organizations that currently manage sustainability metrics use historic data and little to no real-time information, which can impact some real-time business decisions.

    “Most relevant metrics aligned to net zero carbon are based on CO2e emissions and power consumption,” said Byrne. “However, IT organizations don’t currently have the capability to gather this information directly. Some request it from their IT providers, but the quality and granularity of information at the data center and cloud account level aren’t accurate enough to rely on for good management decisions.”

    Gartner analysts said there are a few processes and monitoring/observability tools specialized in the tracking of CO2e and power metrics at different IT levels (hardware, middleware, application, data center, cloud, etc). However, this makes it difficult for I&O leaders to determine whether their environmental sustainability initiatives will succeed.

    Current monitoring tools that address some of the sustainability metrics are mainly focused on on-premises environments, which makes it challenging to address these goals in current hybrid IT environments.

    To overcome these challenges, Gartner recommends organizations adopt GreenOps or sustainability practices to start building the operating model that will help achieve carbon-neutral goals. Sustainability telemetry must also be collected and managed from their cloud providers, just as health performance and consumption cost telemetry are managed.

    “This may not need to be acted on as urgently now, but treating those signals with equal importance positions organizations to benefit from real-time GHG emissions and power consumption optimization when the capability becomes available,” said Byrne.

    Gartner recommends I&O leaders explore and evaluate monitoring providers across a new set of metrics related to power consumption, power efficiency and CO2e emissions for IT infrastructures and verify their capabilities are valid for hybrid IT environments.

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    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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