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Can we hack open source #cloud platforms to help reduce emissions?

Cloud computing is changing our lives but this change comes with a cost - pollution.

Can we hack open source cloud platforms to make them report their energy and (more importantly) their emissions, so we can choose the cleanest cloud?

Video of this talk is now online at

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Can we hack open source #cloud platforms to help reduce emissions?

  1. Can we hack opensource #cloud platforms to help reduce emissions? Tom Raftery #Monktoberfest 2012, Portland Maine 1
  2. Tom Raftery • Lead analyst, energy and sustainability practice, RedMonk • CIX, Chip & Zenith • • • • +34 677 695 468 • 2CIX, Chip & Zenith - involvement with Cloud, going back to late 90’s
  3. Garret FitzGerald 1926-2011 3Unlikely politician - highly intelligent academic, unimpeachable integrity, head in the clouds(!)
  4. Garret FitzGerald Photo 4Before he became a politician -In 1949 analyzed the earliest published Aeroflot timetables, and produced one of the first accurateestimations of the size of Russias airliner fleet - previously a closely guarded secret
  5. Garret FitzGerald Photo 5KGB thought he was a spy!And look an image with KGB logo - and a sleeping cat!Proving there’s no such thing as security by obscurity & the internet rocks!
  6. Cloud problemNo transparency 6
  7. Problem 7Something I have been blogging about for quite a while
  8. Problem 8And giving conference talks about it as well
  9. Problem 9Data centers use vast amounts of electricityTypically only 6-12% of the electricity powering their servers goes to perform computations - McKinsey &Co.Rest used to keep servers idling and ready in case of a surge in activity - dynamic provisioning - i.e. theelastic in ec2!
  10. Energy ≠ Emissions 10NYT article was good but concentrated on energyBear in mind that energy use and emissions are not necessarily relatedEnergy is not a proxy for emissions
  11. Facebook Photo 11A practical example of this is...Prineville siteOpen Compute - open sourced the design of DC & hardware!
  12. Energy“As of the end of Q3 2011, the Prineville data centerhad a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.08...much lower than the industry standard of 1.5.Facebook’s energy consumption per unit of computingpower has declined by 38%” 12
  13. Emissions 1358% of its energy from coal12% from gas=> over 70% from fossil fuel directly.22.5% is purchased from other suppliers so could also be fossil fuel.
  14. Dublin 14MicrosoftAmazonGoogleIBMSunGardDigital Realty TrustAll have significant DC’s in Dublin
  15. EmissionsIreland sources 84% of electricity from fossil fuels 15
  16. Emissions UK sources >90% of its electricity from fossil fuels 16“Renewables contribution to UK electricity generation was 9.4% in 2011”
  17. Emissions 17The carbon intensity of a data center’s electricity is more important than it’s efficiency!
  18. Cloud providers 18Partial list of cloud companies
  19. Clean cloud providers 19Rackspace’s UK data center runs on 100% renewable powerGoogle have large renewable investments and their operations are carbon neutral
  20. Clean cloud providers 20Greenqloud are based in Iceland where elec is 100% renewable
  21. Clean cloud providers 21Amazon claim 0 carbon for two of their regions
  22. Clean cloud providers 22but demur when asked to back up the claimHow can we verify it is true?*Sound of crickets chirping*
  23. Problem Data? 23
  24. Cloud emissions data 24Partial list of cloud companies
  25. Cloud emissions data providers 25This is as granular as the data gets!
  26. Cloud emissions data providers 26Reports 2 weeks lateGives data for carbon saved, not carbon emitted
  27. Cloud emissions data providers 27Completely inaccurate depending on where in EU on premise is being hostedIf hosted in France or Spain with low carbon intensity - move to Salesforce could increase emissionsWothout Salesforce emissions data, how do we know?
  28. Why don’t they? Photo 28Competitive intelligence
  29. Why don’t they? Photo 29Hide their emissions
  30. Why don’t they? Photo 30Lack of reporting standardsThis being Monktoberfest, I had to get in a gratuitous beer shot
  31. Outcome “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” 31Lack of focus on emissions => increased emissions
  32. ReminderA quick recap of 2012 so far... 32
  33. Recap 33In  the  third  quarter  alone,  crop  produc2on  dropped  $12  billion  “due  to  this  summer’s  severe  heat  and  drought.”    Drop  in  US  farm  inventories  was  so  sharp  in  the  last  quarter  that  it  wiped  0.2%  off  of  U.S.  GDP  in  the  latest  revision.In  Texas,  the  drought  has  killed  more  than  300  million  trees.  Nearly  98%  of  Nebraska  is  in  extreme  to  excep2onal  drought  —  3  months  ago,  none  of  it  was!hSp://­‐dust-­‐bowl-­‐of-­‐2012-­‐con2nues/
  34. Recap 34One of the worst wildfire seasons on recordWildfires in US and EU
  35. Recap 35Serious floods
  36. Recap 36From June 25th - July 1st 2012 in US 2,171 US records broken or matchedIn June 2012 that number is 3,215
  37. Recap 37Huge issues of ice loss in the arctic
  38. Recap 38Lack of focus on emissions => increased emissions
  39. Recap 39Minimum was 760,000 square kilometers (293,000 square miles) below previous record minimum extentin the satellite record, which occurred on September 18, 2007. This is an area about the size of the stateof Texas.3.29 million square kilometers (1.27 million square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average minimum,representing an area nearly twice the size of the state of Alaska18% below 2007 and 49% below the 1979 to 2000 average
  40. Recap 40That’s not to mention the issue of arctic methane - what its effects will be are, as yet, unknown (but theywon’t be good!)
  41. Cloud?Cloud computing’s emissions don’t directly cause all these issues. But they do play a significant part. 41
  42. Solution? Open Source 42Here’s where we can help
  43. Solution? 43
  44. Solution? 44Why not fork open source cloud platforms?
  45. Solution? 45Add in emissions metrics & reporting tools
  46. Solution? 46Companies like AMEE already provide API’s for this kind of info
  47. Solution? 47Get the update accepted back into the core
  48. Solution? 48And thus distributed with next update
  49. Solution? 49And thus distributed with next update
  50. Solution? 50And thus distributed with next update
  51. btw 51The Mastodon C dashboard gives stats on emissions from various cloud providers - in case you’reinterested in keeping your cloud emissions down.Lot of it is guestimated data - need real data.
  52. Conclusion Adding emissions metrics & reporting tocloud computing will help reduce emissions. Question is - is anyone up for it? 52
  53. Thanks! Contact information: Tom RafteryPrincipal Analyst, Energy & Sustainability, RedMonk,, +34 677 695 468 53