Digital Responsibility
Addressing climate change issues in infrastructure management

The importance of reducing energy consumption is vital for protecting our environment and limiting operating costs. It’s time to get to grips with this new dimension of digital responsibility.

Addressing climate change issues in infrastructure management

With the advent of digitisation, energy consumption by IT infrastructures has become a cause for concern. These infrastructures, particularly data centres, consume massive amounts of electricity to keep systems running and to cool equipment.

The importance of reducing this consumption is vital for protecting our environment and limiting operating costs.

Taking the full measure of what's at stake

Today, the digital sector accounts for 3 to 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 2.5% of the national carbon footprint (and this is set to grow at an exponential rate of +60% between now and 2040, i.e. 6.7% of national greenhouse gas emissions!)

Data centres are the heart of IT operations, housing the servers that provide digital services. From both a hardware and a functional point of view, it is imperative to find solutions to reduce the electricity consumption of these infrastructures.

A very gradual awareness on the part of companies

1. Green Washing...

… a period to raise companies’ awareness of the challenges of responsible digital business

The first stage in energy sobriety was often likened to Green Washing. The various COPs[1] have led to the emergence of greenhouse gas reduction targets, set out in new standards (14001, EcoVadis, etc.) with macro indicators. It has to be said that these often measure companies’ intentions rather than their results…

Yesterday, outsourcing contracts offered to plant a tree in response to service commitments. But are we really able to say how many have been planted, where they have been planted and whether they are still “alive”?…

[1] COP : Conférences des Parties (États signataires) à la CCNUCC – Conferences of the Parties (COP)

2. Material decarbonisation,

… genuine phase of experimentation for companies faced with the challenges of responsible digital technology

We then moved on to a stage of energy sobriety, focusing in particular on the life cycle of equipment and premises (data centres, server racks, reconditioning, use of less polluting vehicles, etc.). All the while ignoring systems activities and related services… The efforts made in terms of infrastructure sizing were often driven more by financial optimisation than by the need to protect our planet…

Virtualisation – By enabling several operating systems to be run on a single physical server, it reduces the need for hardware, the space required for storage and energy consumption.

Eco-design of IT hardware – This can involve using energy-efficient components, reducing standby power consumption and improving energy efficiency.

Efficient cooling systems – The use of more efficient cooling techniques, such as liquid cooling or immersion cooling, can significantly reduce this consumption.

3. The place of the climate emergency

… in the day-to-day management of digital infrastructures

We are now in a new phase: climate emergency, water and energy shortages even in countries that thought they would never run out, inflation of all IT components, etc. Faced with this new set of constraints, companies are setting themselves new objectives, less related to the COP issues than to their own survival. Services must now take these constraints on board. We are all affected.

This stage could be categorised as a “No. 1 priority request” to be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Bringing our services into line with the climate emergency

The stage is set. ESNs, in their day-to-day provision of services, need to think about new solutions while preserving their current service commitments (CSR/service level optimisation).

Changing our working methods?

The optimisation of our systems and processes is well underway. Optimising our staffing means optimising the carbon impact of our resources, as our carbon footprints show. However, it is becoming complex to find new levers without leading to a deterioration in service levels.

On this subject, going further could become counter-productive, as the effects of new automation could lead to losses in efficiency or even waste in terms of energy savings.

Using new tools/solutions?

Software publishers are still not communicating much on the subject of decarbonisation and software eco-design approaches are slow to be deployed. VMWare, Citrix, Red Hat, Microsoft, AWS, AZURE, etc. offer solutions that are still in their infancy for measuring the energy impact of their tools or those they host. Tools for recommending changes to applications to save energy do not yet really exist.

However, AZURE customers can now access this information on request. The tools on offer still have limited functionality.

Publishers will certainly respond. But when will they be accessible to the greatest number?



Supporting hosting practices

The move to the Cloud is now the norm. It has become synonymous with performance, controlled costs and security.

There is, however, a ‘but’: many leading Cloud Providers are coming under fire for consuming far more water and energy than the data they communicate.

IT Departments now need to take this issue on board and define more detailed strategies for managing their hosting: just-in-time compilation, choice of hosting (cloud/hybrid/non-cloud), provisioning methods based on hourly requirements, management of decommissioning in the Cloud, etc.

ESNs can play a role in this transformation by including these tool-based optimisation services as standard in their service catalogues.

[1] Source : D2SI, eco-conception

Change the way project teams operate

DevOps provides the culture, methods and tools to enable Dev and Ops teams to understand each other better, share tasks and, above all, communicate.

Energy savings… Here’s a subject for communication, task distribution and mutual understanding! These energy-saving issues should be tackled at the initiative of the Ops teams. That’s what eco-design is all about!

CIOs who are at ease with DevOps organisations therefore have an advantage when it comes to rapidly implementing new energy-saving practices right from the application design stage.


We have now reached the third stage. Can we already talk about a fourth in the pipeline? It doesn’t yet have an official name or image, as is the case for DevOps, for example, but :

– It is being taken into account;

– The urgency is often shared (some of our customers have already set themselves targets of a 25% reduction by 2025);

– The human and technical resources exist.

Consort is structurally committed to this approach, offering an operational and pragmatic approach to support you in taking full and optimised account of your climate commitments.