Design principles for sustainability in the cloud - Sustainability Pillar

Design principles for sustainability in the cloud

Apply these design principles when architecting your cloud workloads to maximize sustainability and minimize impact.

  • Understand your impact: Measure the impact of your cloud workload and model the future impact of your workload. Include all sources of impact, including impacts resulting from customer use of your products, and impacts resulting from their eventual decommissioning and retirement. Compare the productive output with the total impact of your cloud workloads by reviewing the resources and emissions required per unit of work. Use this data to establish key performance indicators (KPIs), evaluate ways to improve productivity while reducing impact, and estimate the impact of proposed changes over time.

  • Establish sustainability goals: For each cloud workload, establish long-term sustainability goals such as reducing the compute and storage resources required per transaction. Model the return on investment of sustainability improvements for existing workloads, and give owners the resources they need to invest in sustainability goals. Plan for growth, and architect your workloads so that growth results in reduced impact intensity measured against an appropriate unit, such as per user or per transaction. Goals help you support the wider sustainability goals of your business or organization, identify regressions, and prioritize areas of potential improvement.

  • Maximize utilization: Right-size workloads and implement efficient design to ensure high utilization and maximize the energy efficiency of the underlying hardware. Two hosts running at 30% utilization are less efficient than one host running at 60% due to baseline power consumption per host. At the same time, eliminate or minimize idle resources, processing, and storage to reduce the total energy required to power your workload.

  • Anticipate and adopt new, more efficient hardware and software offerings: Support the upstream improvements your partners and suppliers make to help you reduce the impact of your cloud workloads. Continually monitor and evaluate new, more efficient hardware and software offerings. Design for flexibility to allow for the rapid adoption of new efficient technologies.

  • Use managed services: Sharing services across a broad customer base helps maximize resource utilization, which reduces the amount of infrastructure needed to support cloud workloads. For example, customers can share the impact of common data center components like power and networking by migrating workloads to the AWS Cloud and adopting managed services, such as AWS Fargate for serverless containers, where AWS operates at scale and is responsible for their efficient operation. Use managed services that can help minimize your impact, such as automatically moving infrequently accessed data to cold storage with Amazon S3 Lifecycle configurations or Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling to adjust capacity to meet demand.

  • Reduce the downstream impact of your cloud workloads: Reduce the amount of energy or resources required to use your services. Reduce or eliminate the need for customers to upgrade their devices to use your services. Test using device farms to understand expected impact and test with customers to understand the actual impact from using your services.