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Microsoft Datacenter Pledge Reinforces Sustainable IT Services, Green Technology and Net-Zero Strategy

June 3, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

Microsoft has announced a Datacenter Community Pledge -- which calls for the company to "design and operate our datacenters to support society’s climate goals and become carbon negative, water positive and zero waste before 2030," Corporate VP Noelle Walsh (pictured above) wrote in a blog.

The pledge aligns with Microsoft's overall sustainability strategy. That company-wide sustainability effort requires close supply chain partnerships -- especially as AI applications consume more energy in Microsoft data centers.

Dig a little deeper, and the Datacenter Community Pledge also calls for Microsoft to "deliver significant local, economic, social and environmental benefits to the communities where we operate."

Adding more context, Walsh asserted: "Our datacenters generate public infrastructure improvements and tax revenue that serve as a catalyst for enhancing the quality of life in these areas. That translates into new and improved social services, such as parks where families can come together, better-equipped schools that empower children’s education and well-maintained roads and digital infrastructure that connect us all."

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Complicates Sustainable Cloud Services Efforts

Microsoft's rivals -- particularly Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud -- also have major sustainability initiatives under way.

Generally speaking, cloud services are considered more sustainable than on-premises servers and on-premises data centers, McKinsey & Company asserts. Among the reasons to note: Public cloud providers have the scale and financial means to optimize their infrastructure with the latest power management, renewable energy and monitoring technologies.

Moreover, many SaaS-based applications -- such as Microsoft Sustainability Manager -- can help partners and customers to track and reduce their carbon footprints.

Still, the rise of AI applications -- which typically require considerable energy consumption -- could complicate the cloud market's march toward net-zero carbon footprints.

Sustainable IT Services Playbook for Channel Partners, MSPs and IT Departments

Meanwhile, roughly 50% of partners worldwide expect to generate revenue from sustainability solutions in 2024 – up three percentage points from 47% in 2023, according to research firm Canalys.

How can IT departments and MSPs align their technology initiatives with overall sustainability strategies? Some clues and guidance emerged in this Green IT Playbook -- developed by Rackspace Technology and Smart Columbus, in partnership with the Green IT Working Group.

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