Increased focus on sustainability is driving a wave of additions and upgrades to monitoring and observability tools that can now track power consumptions and carbon emissions. For example, Device42, a provider of a set of tools for monitoring IT infrastructure using machine learning algorithms, has added power and carbon dioxide (CO2) metrics to its platform.
The Summary Dashboard makes it possible for IT teams to combine the tracking of assets and associated dependencies with a capability that enables them to reduce power consumption costs and levels of carbon emissions.
Red Hat, meanwhile, has donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) an open source Kubernetes-based Efficient Power Level Exporter (Kepler) tool that capture power usage metrics from Kubernetes clusters. Founded in collaboration with IBM Research, Kepler makes use of the extended Berkeley Packet Filter (eBPF) in the Linux kernel, CPU performance counters and machine learning models to estimate power consumption by workloads in a way that can then be exported as a set of Prometheus metrics for tracking carbon footprints.
In addition, there’s also going to be a lot more focus on “green coding” initiatives that minimize the amount of energy required to process lines of code. For example, CAST already provides a tool for analyzing application source code to reduce software energy consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions and achieve their sustainability goals.
Finally, cloud service providers make available carbon emissions reporting tools to varying degrees of depth to enable organizations to more precisely track how much pollutions they are generating as more workloads are deployed in the cloud.
The need for such tools is clearly becoming more pressing. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) estimates annual energy consumption at data centers has doubled over the past decade, with computing and IT are responsible for between 1.8% and 3.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
As sustainability becomes a bigger concern, it’s only a matter of time before IT teams will be required to monitor power consumption and associated carbon emissions more closely. In fact, IT leaders should expect that the number of monitoring and observability tools that will enable them to more closely manage power consumption and CO2 emissions alongside performance metrics will only continue to expand in the months ahead.
Of course, most organizations are already under significant pressure to reduce the cost of IT, so any effort to consolidate workloads is going to provide some additional sustainability benefits.
Naturally, tracking of carbon emissions right now is a bigger issue in Europe than most everywhere else. However, a global framework for trading carbon credits is now impacting IT teams as organizations look to minimize their carbon footprints. A single carbon credit allows the owner of them to emit one ton of carbon dioxide or the equivalent in other greenhouse gases. Organizations may also sell any unneeded credits to another company that needs them. Companies can save money by not having to purchase additional credits or they can make money by reducing their emissions and selling their excess allowances. Regardless of how anyone may feel about climate change, sustainability thanks to carbon credits has become an economic issue.
Obviously, one of the easiest places to cut back on carbon emissions is IT. The simple fact of the matter is that most organizations, especially in a cloud era that makes it relatively trivial for developers to spin up virtual machines, have not been paying a lot of attention to the amount of infrastructure they consumed. The days of conspicuous consumption of cloud resources, however, are clearly numbered as green IT becomes not only widely embraced but also a corporate mandate that can no longer be ignored.