Sustainable App Modernization Using AWS Cloud

5 min read

How IBM Consulting’s Green IT framework and AWS-IBM Consulting Custom Lens for Sustainability work together.

Enterprises around the world are responding to the threat of global warming and establishing sustainability goals to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprints. IBM Institute of Business Value (IBV) research data indicates that environmental sustainability is an increasingly important priority for organizations, and over 75% of enterprises are targeting net-zero carbon emission goals as their long-term strategy.

As organizations define and pursue their sustainability goals and roadmaps, there is a critical enabler that can help them to achieve better outcomes for their business and environment. The critical enabler we are discussing in this blog post is the application migration and modernization journey, leveraging various cloud technologies with a sustainability pillar as one of the fundamental architecture principles.

Modernizing applications is becoming pivotal for driving innovation and transforming businesses, and CEOs are asking their leadership teams to support and drive the transformation programs. These programs help to expand their market presence, drive exponential growth, meet regulatory requirements. adapt to the changes in consumer behavior, develop resilient IT infrastructure and optimize their IT operations. In this journey of transformation, application migration and modernization are becoming the key enablers to achieving business and technology goals.

Today, enterprises have applications running on public clouds like IBM Cloud or Amazon Web Services (AWS) and on-premises or co-located data centers. While modernizing applications hosted in on-premises data centers is important, it is also important to consider the sustainability pillar to realize the benefits of a sustainable cloud platform and services when migrating or modernizing apps on AWS Cloud.

Achieving sustainable IT

IBM envisions that the target state of sustainable IT can be achieved through four key tenets:

  1. Green data centers
  2. Green infrastructure
  3. Green applications
  4. Green processes

As part of the Green IT strategy, CTOs, IT leaders and architects want to measure and report their on-premises and AWS cloud energy consumption and CO2 footprint.

First, you may want to assess the current state and create a blueprint and application migration/modernization roadmap that enables your organization to achieve its sustainability goals and reduce the carbon footprint.

IBM has developed a Green IT framework that includes AWS Custom Lens for sustainability using best practices and tools like IBM Carbon Accounting and Reduction Engine (CARE) and AWS Customer Carbon Footprint Tool (CCFT) to help customers build and operate sustainable IT platforms for the businesses.

In this post, you will learn how IBM Consulting helps organizations conduct sustainability assessments, provides insight on the current state of their energy consumption and suggests actions that can help achieve sustainability goals.

IBM Consulting is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and Managed Service Provider (MSP) that offers comprehensive service capabilities addressing both business and technology challenges.

An approach to app modernization and sustainability

IBM foresees plenty of opportunities to rehost, replatform, refactor or rearchitect applications and associated infrastructure toward a greener IT environment. This will drive cost efficiencies and contribute to broader, corporate sustainability goals. According to the 451 Research analysis, AWS can lower customers’ workload carbon footprints by nearly 80% compared to surveyed enterprise data centers. Up to 96% reduction in carbon footprint is possible once AWS is powered with 100% renewable energy. This is a target that AWS data centers are on a path to meet by 2025.

Migrating and modernizing applications to AWS Cloud can reduce CO2, gain efficiencies and make a return on most of the investments from customers. Recently, IBM Consulting developed a framework that guides customers to define the sustainability blueprint and hybrid cloud journey roadmap using various carbon accounting tools and AWS Custom Lens for sustainability:

Figure 1: IBM Consulting Green IT framework for sustainable app modernization.

Figure 1: IBM Consulting Green IT framework for sustainable app modernization.

  • Carbon Accounting: IBM Consulting uses the AWS CCFT tool and IBM CARE to track, measure, review and forecast carbon emissions for AWS Cloud and on-premises data centers, respectively. The quantification phase focuses primarily on calculating Green House Gas (GHG) emissions as carbon dioxide equivalent in weight (CO2eq KG) and energy consumption in Kilowatt hour (kWh) across AWS Cloud and on-premise data centers.
    Figure 2: Sample view of converting proxy metrics as efficiency reports.

    Figure 2: Sample view of converting proxy metrics as efficiency reports.

  • Assessment and optimization to lower energy consumption and reduce carbon emission: As carbon accounting tools help to capture the current state of energy consumption, the application assessment using AWS Custom Lens determines the hotspot for improving energy consumption. IBM Consulting considers architecture best practices and design principles to define the appropriate application migration or modernization roadmap for customers. These design principles help to choose the right set of native services—such as Amazon EKS, AWS Lambda, Amazon S3 and managed services like Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS (ROSA)—and Amazon RDS to ensure the applications consume the optimum level of compute and storage that contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions.
  • Sustainable IT operations: The aspiration is to define green IT KPIs responsible for efficient ITOps by bringing the right set of observability tools, optimization techniques and automation to run lean and green IT operations that reduces carbon emission.

IBM Consulting Custom Lens for Sustainability

IBM Consulting uses AWS Well-Architected framework to create a Custom Lens for Sustainability to perform workload assessments for applications running on both on-premises and in AWS Cloud. The assessment identifies the risks associated with every application from the sustainability dimension. It covers the best practices—such as application build and deployment processes, data governance and green coding techniques— in addition to all six pillars of the AWS Well-Architected framework.

IBM Consulting provides the recommended steps to mitigate every risk flagged during the assessment through the AWS Custom Lens reports. Using these mitigation steps, IBM Consulting then creates a blueprint aligning with the customer’s sustainability goals and subsequently produces the migration and modernization roadmap that helps to drive towards carbon net zero goals:

Figure 3: Sample AWS Custom Lens assessment and recommendation view.

Figure 3: Sample AWS Custom Lens assessment and recommendation view.

Scope and benefits of using IBM’s Green IT Framework, including IBM Consulting Custom Lens for Sustainability

There are multiple customer scenarios and scopes where you can use this framework and Custom Lens by combining IBM Consulting services:

  1. You are planning to create a Green IT Strategy supported by the application migration and a modernization roadmap to achieve sustainability targets that align with UN SDG goals.
  2. You want to migrate or modernize applications to AWS Cloud by optimizing energy consumption and reducing CO2 footprint.
  3. You have completed the lift and shift migration of your workloads to AWS Cloud without any re-platforming or re-factoring, but now you want to optimize the IT resources consumption and reduce the CO2 footprint.
  4. You want to consider sustainability architecture and design principles as NFRs (non-functional requirements) for your new application/product development that allows you to adopt best practices.
  5. You want to know your application’s current energy consumption and the CO2 footprint of your on-premises data centers and AWS Cloud so you can create a plan to reduce energy consumption and reduce IT expenditure.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we outlined how IBM Consulting’s Green IT framework and AWS-IBM Consulting Custom Lens for Sustainability work together. This helps to assess your workloads, identify optimization levers that can lower energy consumption and create an application modernization roadmap that enables you to achieve sustainability goals.

Ready to get started? Visit the AWS sustainability page to learn more about AWS tools and data sources that encourage innovation to solve real-world sustainability challenges.

For further information—including sustainable application migration and modernization services—contact IBM Consulting.

Learn more about IBM Consulting and IBM Services for AWS Cloud.

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