Platform.sh, a company that provides platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capabilities for building and running websites and apps, understands that its customers want a clear picture of the company’s carbon emissions; customers are also seeking to reduce their own environmental impact when contracting with a PaaS provider.
In the midst of the rapid rise of cloud services and cloud hosting, it can be easy to forget about certain carbon costs, Platform.sh points out.
The IT sector is estimated to be responsible for 4% of the global emissions (according to the Global Emissions Standard, or GES). That’s a bigger impact than the airline industry already, and it is growing much faster.
Any business aiming to reduce emissions must understand its complete carbon footprint. But fully understanding the environmental impact of its operations is a challenge for any company. As a PaaS provider, Platform.sh needed to be able to inform its customers of the company’s climate impact, in order for customers to be able to understand their own.
“We have a responsibility to not just be a sustainable business, but to ensure everything we do enables our customers to be sustainable too — they need to be able to understand their impact to either reduce it or offset it,” says Fred Plais, CEO of Platform.sh.
What They Did
Though the company had already been taking steps to reduce emissions, Platform.sh decided it needed to improve its environmental impact model. Working with Greenly, Platform.sh calculated its carbon emissions and then began taking steps to reduce them.
Practical steps to reduce energy have included:
Application Performance Monitoring: optimizing individual apps performance means using fewer resources to run the same workloads.
Increasing server density: Servers are often under-utilized and under-optimized, with anything between 60% to 80% of their capacity going to waste, Platform.sh says. The company uses proprietary technology to increase density and cut energy use.
Rightsizing and scaling: No more “overprovisioning,” Platform.sh says. The company works with businesses to understand their needs today and allow them to grow quickly and responsibly.
Practical steps to reduce emissions have included:
Supporting multiple cloud providers: optimizing infrastructure providers offers different advantages, including better power usage effectiveness (PUE). Customers can choose the cloud providers that “offer the most benefits, where it matters,” the company says.
Using the right location: data center location can make a huge difference to CO2 equivalent emissions. For example, a datacenter in Sweden, using renewable energy, emits ten times less CO2 equivalent per kWh than one powered by coal-generated electricity in Germany.
By calculating and improving emissions, Platform.sh is now able to offset what is leftover. Understanding its own climate impact, the company can offer that information to its customers, enabling them to take impactful action.
And by using proprietary technology, Platform.sh has been able to increase density up to 12 times and to cut energy usage up to 10 times.
“In the past it was common to improve performance by ‘throwing more metal’ at it — that is, to use more and better hardware,” says Plais. “This approach is fundamentally flawed, solving nothing in the long run, and contributing to environmental damage.”
Platform.sh is a signatory to the Climate Act.