Cloud waste

Cloud Waste Management: A Win-Win for Sustainability and Efficiency

veröffentlicht am 05.10.2023 von Friederike Kneuper

Cloud computing has become an essential part of modern business, but it can also be a major source of waste. This waste can have a significant financial and environmental impact.

Understanding the Cost and Sustainability Impact of Cloud Waste

Cloud computing has become an essential part of modern business, but it can also be a major source of waste. This waste can have a significant financial and environmental impact.

The cost of cloud waste can be staggering. For every $1 million invested in the cloud, $280,000 goes to waste (Flexera 2023 State of the Cloud Report This means that organizations are losing a significant amount of money on unused or underutilized cloud resources. That's nearly 30% of your cloud resources not being utilized efficiently, resulting in a significant financial loss. This waste could have been used to hire full-time developers, who support you and make your life probably a lot of easier, or even planting over 2,000 trees to save our planet.

The environmental impact of cloud waste is also a major concern. The cloud industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and cloud waste can only make this problem worse. According to a study by the Cloud Carbon Footprint Initiative, information and communications technology is responsible for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions ( In comparison, aviation is only responsible for 2%!

FinOps and GreenOps: Two Approaches to Cloud Waste Management

FinOps and GreenOps are two approaches that can help organizations optimize their cloud resources and reduce waste. FinOps, a portmanteau of finance and DevOps, combines financial management and cultural change practices in cloud management. Its primary goal is to break down silos between finance, procurement, and IT departments, enabling better spending decisions and maximizing the business value of your cloud environment. On the other hand, GreenOps focuses on reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainability within cloud operations. It addresses legal requirements, customer expectations, investor demands, employee preferences, and public opinion regarding environmental consciousness.

Most of the domains of FinOps and GreenOps complement each other, leading to sustainable cost reduction and carbon footprint reduction:

Understanding Cloud Usage and Cost: Monitoring your cloud environment is crucial to assess costs and sustainability impact accurately. Tools can highlight the carbon footprint and electricity consumption of each cloud resource, enabling better decision-making for improvement.

Performance Tracking and Benchmarking: Aligning your cloud environment with key performance indicators (KPIs) helps measure progress and identify areas for improvement. Accurate baselines, budgeting, and forecasting empower better cost and CO2 emissions management.

Real-Time Decision Making: Anomaly detection and real-time alerts enable quick response to deviations from expected cloud resource usage. Having an accountable decision-making structure ensures that waste is promptly addressed.

Cloud Rate Optimization: While cloud rate optimization focuses solely on cost reduction, it does not directly impact sustainability. Negotiating cloud service costs and leveraging discounts can significantly impact expenditure but not carbon emissions.

Cloud Usage Optimization: Properly setting up and optimizing cloud applications before and after deployment is essential. Considerations include efficient architecture design, using energy-efficient programming languages, right-sizing resources, and choosing low-carbon regions for deployment. However, these considerations may represent a trade-off between FinOps and GreenOps, e.g., low-carbon regions may be more expensive than other regions.

Organizational Alignment: FinOps and GreenOps require cultural change and organizational alignment. Educating stakeholders, creating a community, and emphasizing sustainability benefits can encourage engineers and others involved to optimize resources for both cost and environmental impact. This can be achieved through formats such as town halls meetings, trainings, or even gamification. But either way, it's a long road, and there's always a bit of effort involved.

Optimizing Cloud Resources for Sustainability and Efficiency

Optimizing cloud resources through cloud waste management practices is a win-win situation. Most FinOps and GreenOps domains offer strategies for reducing costs and carbon emissions simultaneously. By leveraging the synergies between finance, DevOps, and sustainability, organizations can improve their economic benefits while contributing to a better world.

Accurate measurement is crucial to driving improvement, and organizations should start by measuring costs, usage, and CO2 emissions. And not only to optimize cloud cost, also to optimize cloud sustainability. This data can guide optimization efforts and demonstrate progress over time. Legal requirements, customer expectations, investor demands, employee preferences, and public opinion all reinforce the need for organizations to prioritize sustainability.

The Future of Cloud Waste Management

As organizations embark on the journey of cloud waste management, automation, policy implementation, and compliance with energy efficiency regulations become vital considerations. While challenges exist, the growing interest in sustainability and the development of tools and practices indicate a promising future for optimizing cloud resources for both cost and environmental impact.