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Microsoft Build 2024: Generative AI, Cloud for Sustainability Updates Expected

May 19, 2024 by Joe Panettieri

When the Microsoft Build 2024 conference starts on May 21, the event will feature multiple sessions focused on sustainability.

Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer, Microsoft Azure

Among the reasons why: As customers and partners embrace Generative AI, the associated Azure OpenAI cloud workloads will potentially consume more and more energy.

Indeed, U.S. electric utilities predict a tidal wave of new demand from data centers powering technology like generative AI, with some power companies projecting electricity sales growth several times higher than estimates just months earlier, Reuters reported in April 2024.

With that point in mind, Microsoft wants to make sure that customers design their Large Language Models (LLMs) with efficiency and sustainability in mind. Moreover, the company will need partners to assist with Microsoft's Scope 3 goals.

Leveraging Cloud Software for Carbon Accounting and Corporate Compliance

On the product front, the company wants customers and partners to leverage Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability as a platform for managing ESG (environmental, social and governance) data. The software could be particularly important for customers that need to tackle the European Union CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive). 

Samuel Briscoe
Samuel Briscoe, technical product manager, sustainability, Microsoft

With that context in mind, some Microsoft Build 2024 sessions will specifically address sustainability strategies. For example:

On the product front, watch for potential updates involving sustainability data solutions in Microsoft Fabric (preview as of February 2024). The preview code allows users to "analyze your organization’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data together with your other enterprise data to inform more holistic decisions and better-targeted outcomes," according to a February 2024 blog from Shefy Manayil Kareen, general manager for Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability.

Google Cloud, AWS: Sustainability In Mind

Meanwhile, Microsoft's key cloud rivals also continue to enhance their sustainability-related software efforts. Indeed, the Google Cloud Next 2024 and AWS re:Invent 2023 conferences each featured multiple sustainability sessions to help partners and customers on their net-zero journeys.

Note: This blog originally published April 10, 2024. Updated regularly thereafter.

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