opinion | The cloud does not exempt digital from ecological sobriety

Like all sectors, and due to its high power consumption, software development does not deviate from ecological needs. In fact, public cloud providers have clearly defined eco-responsibility as a qualitative feature of their offer, expressing an entire commercial discourse on the subject. Therefore, it is not surprising to see a number of customers today highlighting the “move to cloud” approach in response to demands and commands to reduce their carbon footprint.

However, this “Green IT” is still satisfied today with easy solutions that enable the green of its digital devices without real ecological awareness. Although, beyond green electricity and offsetting CO emissions2 coming from digitally developed devices, there are concrete and effective levers in terms of software architecture and development skills that allow this electric diet to engage. For this, developers of digital devices have a role to play, especially by questioning certain skills.

Popular wisdom today suggests favoring high availability in the urbanization of micro-services that constitute a digital application. Emphasizing the scalability and redundancy of available components more than the actual use of them, this oversized reflex has a potentially significant ecological cost: the consumption of resources willing to process non-incoming traffic. the latter only occasionally.

In addition, the reality of pre-positioning functions within a cloud deployment to activate micro-services on demand, and not in advance, poses a problem. The main motivation: the optimization of costs and financial resources. But this technique runs the risk of increasing the energy charge of these sources, stopping and restarting these services too often, on demand, can lead to excessive consumption, such as a car engine. which operates “Stop & Go” in city traffic. The result may turn out to be the opposite of initial intentions, and requires reasoning more than ever about the use of these “sleeping” services.

Deploy measurement tools

Whether it is to identify the energy performance of code generated by developers or to monitor power consumption resulting from increasing loads of applications (simultaneous transactions and/or accumulated data), it is necessary to embedded adequate measurement tool, reasonable and effective. Without seeking perfection, and therefore aiming to calculate the real power consumption (the invoice remains the sole and only judge of the peace), it is more relevant to return to the lore of developers by setting up tools that allow to note the relevant impact of code optimizations and deployment options. In other words, the deviation from the ideal of ecological reality (i.e., Kg of CO2) to measure reduction effort and adopt search optimization discipline, far from unrealistic and increasingly trendy classification requirements.

Finally, we must be critical eye regarding “Big Data”. The trend of digitization, the storage of data, cheaper and cheaper, has only grown. However, it is common that this data is little, if any, used. So, more than enjoying a value that is much more fantasized today, its storage represents an enormous cost of electricity and is far from the realities of the needs of Data Science. So Big Data is a trend, where the planet can be a “victim of fashion”.

A return to good habits, already begun and known by developers, will be enough to initiate the positive effects on the consumption of digital devices. Without radical changes, hastily revisit the basics of the developer profession.

Abdel Kander | is Director of Niji’s Digital Software Factory

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