Environment Variables
The Week in Green Software: Generative AI and Cloud Zombies
April 12, 2023
Chris Adams is joined by cloud sustainability advocate and founder of Cloud Sustainably, Aerin Booth in this episode of TWiGS brought to you by the Green Software Foundation. On this episode Aerin provides his insight into the cloud to discuss cloud zombies, the effect that generative AI is having on the environment and exciting developments from Xbox (including a list of some of Aerin’s favourite nostalgic games!). We also touch on GreenOps and the future for green software developers.
Chris Adams is joined by cloud sustainability advocate and founder of Cloud Sustainably, Aerin Booth in this episode of TWiGS brought to you by the Green Software Foundation. On this episode Aerin provides his insight into the cloud to discuss cloud zombies, the effect that generative AI is having on the environment and exciting developments from Xbox (including a list of some of Aerin’s favourite nostalgic games!). We also touch on GreenOps and the future for green software developers.  

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Transcript Below:
Aerin Booth: When I think about anything we choose to do, not only in terms of carbon and IT, but in our life, if it doesn't have purpose, it's almost a waste. And we forget that we're not really building things for ourselves in technology. We're trying to build services for one, helps people in their day-to-day lives and hopefully save the freaking planet in the next upcoming climate change catastrophe the rest of our lives.

Chris Adams: Hello and welcome to Environment Variables, brought to you by the Green Software Foundation. In each episode, we discuss the latest news and events surrounding green software. On our show, you can expect candid conversations with top experts in their field who have a passion for how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of software.

I'm your host, Chris Adams. Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Week in Green Software, where we bring you the latest news and updates from the world of sustainable software development. I'm your host, Chris Adams, and in this episode we'll be discussing generative AI worrying impact that I could be having on the environment.

We'll also cover some exciting news from Xbox and some events for you to take part in as part of the world of green software. Before we dive in though, let me introduce my guest with us today. We have Aerin Booth the former head of Cloud at the UK Home Office now turned cloud sustainably advocate joining us.

Hi Aerin.

Aerin Booth: Hello. Nice to meet you. Thank you so much for having me on. So my name is Aerin Booth. I, like Chris said, former, I say in name in, in some ways product manager for Public Cloud at the UK Home Office. But while I was there, I signed 130 million pound contract, was part of negotiating the memorandum, understanding between the UK government and the cloud providers, hyperscalers, AWS, Azure and Google.

Um, and did a lot of other stuff for the cloud community across the UK. And then moved into my own consulting. So I've been running a consulting company for the last few years. Not to go too salesy or anything, but it's called Cloud Sustainably. Just helping people rethink how we consider carbon emissions in it, because it's on the rise.

And obviously we all know and care about this. We wouldn't be listening to this podcast otherwise. And yeah, I think more people talking about it does the world a little bit of good. And yeah, I've been on an interesting journey to say the least.

Chris Adams: Okay, thanks Aerin. So if you're new to this podcast, I am Chris Adams. I am the policy chair, sorry, I'm the chair of the policy working group in the Green Software Foundation and the executive director of the Green. Web Foundation. Every week we do this, we will basically share any of the links that we discuss and do a roundup of the news.

So that's generally of the plan. Today, it's gonna be a bit of a short one cuz it's Easter, so we're gonna keep it short and sweet. And I suppose Aerin, should we look at what stories have come up on our radars today? What's the first one here? There's one about generative ai and in particular, the environmental impact from generative AI and cloud zombies.

Aerin. I think given your background, with cloud, the Cloud zombies one might be an interesting one for you to start with actually.

Aerin Booth: It is really interesting. Yeah, cloud zombies, I mean it's, we could probably use any term we want really. I did a talk on being ethical in tech at Reve last year in November, and just before that I did a talk, I think it was titled DALL-E oh God, what was it called? Now? Is DALL-E Ethical? Something around like the use of ai?

What's the purpose?

Chris Adams: This is DALL-E, the AI model, not the former modern artist, right?

Aerin Booth: Yeah, yeah. There's a good comparison, isn't it? Names of such power and sort of representation. In terms of what were open AI going for, when they were creating this, and I see the power of AI. I use it myself, like when I'm on Instagram, on TikTok and all these things, and you see these, I don't use filters, but I do use like generative images.

I had one recently, which was really cool, but. When I think about anything we choose to do, not only in terms of carbon and IT, but in our life, if it doesn't have purpose, it's almost a waste. I saw a lot of apps on Twitter ever since I did that talk, and just keeping on what's going on in the world of AI stuff like, oh, change your hair cuts to these five different 10 different styles, and it cost like 30 quid.

Because it costs that much energy effectively. Like this article and some of the notes here are talking about the carbon emissions training a model. So what was it? Chat GPT three. It was 502 tons of carbon, which at the end of the day, what is that? A little bit in Norway for a little bit. But if we're all using this all of the time, and now what we're seeing is stuff like Bing and another search engines integrating, using this model as every single transaction on the internet.

And there's a lot of transactions on the internet. It's bigger than we realize.

Chris Adams: Yes. Okay. So that's the stuff that you get to use. I think this term, cloud zombies is particular being referred to this idea of basically, long running jobs and basically, essentially cloud stuff that no one is even using alone. Some of this stuff here, you could probably make an argument that most of us aren't necessarily asking for kind of a neat kind of AI features inside Bing when we're just doing a search.

But I think this one was specifically referring to this massive amount of waste from people generally not really turning things off or just it being easy to leave something on. Then, then to turn it off and face the consequences of things being turned off. I think that's where the phrase came from, and I wondered if this is something you might have something to speak to given some of the background with Cloud that you saw.

Aerin Booth: Definitely. I mean, you think about working at the Home Office, none of this is not public, by the way, that this is in ministerial statements in Parliament, but the percentage of AWS spend as terms of cloud and we had the definition of cloud is always hazy, a bit dreamy and up in the cloud, but we estimated it was about 94 to 97% of all of our spending was with AWS when we at the Home Office. And when you think about that, is that a problem? Yes. Now, but we started using the clouds in that department in 2016, and it's now 2023. Think about the journey cloud's been on since it was invented, invented, or whatever else we started using there.

It has gone through generations like we, we used to string together S3 and VPNs and build things ourselves. Then we have managed services, or Kubernetes came along in the middle, like all of these different generations of the cloud and a lot of enterprise organizations are now carrying all of these generations of the cloud and sometimes losing the skills.

As new people come in, they've not always got the history of skills or long-term experience. They've been taught whatever's being taught today, and a lot of the time it is new services. So it's like you've got two ends of the spectrum. Let's say AWS is a labyrinth designed to trap anyone in any decision they could ever make and fuck it up, and then charge you for the privilege.

And then a consultants in to say, oh, we'll help you with FinOps or whatever. Go calm down like you're an idiot by the way. When you need help from others, lemme charge you some money. And then you've got like the opposite end of the spectrum with GCP where in my view is let's just turn everything off every other day and it's okay.

That makes sense. If things can be migrated easily. But if you are asking a company to every single year, start again. Whatever they're building on the newest platform, okay, they're keeping up with the skills, but what about developing new features instead just re-platforming because you are whim on what you are going to turn off and there's two ends to the spectrum.

And Microsoft, I wish I could say they're doing better, but honestly, the horror of active directory and stringing together some of this stuff when it's supposed to just work. It's pretty gnarly. Like you, you wouldn't wanna be going in there as a startup these days. I'd recommend something like Digital Ocean or some of a new cloud SMEs, particularly for cloud.

And yeah, here we are, next generation of cloud computing. It already exists and a lot of people don't see it because we stare at AWS, Microsoft, and TCP all the time.

Chris Adams: I see. Okay, so this is one thing. So there, so it, so I guess one of the questions I should probably ask you here is, given that there was a significant amount here and uh, we're to. Talking about being able to switch things off. Basically. In your experience, how did people manage to keep track of which things were running and which things were not running and these kind of experiences?

Cuz you need to have people to have some understanding of which things are, where you're able to scale things back. In a lot of cases, and in many cases one of the kind of ideas behind switching to something like cloud, which might be more efficient, is that it's supposed to be much easier to manage and it's easy and there, there are supposed to be some co cost savings for this surely, which would result in energy savings?

Aerin Booth: Yeah. Uh, well, Let's say energy savings, for example. So this is something I've been finding very frustrating. So I started caring about sustainability in the cloud, let's say 18 months ago. It was probably like November, ReInvent, two years ago. Yeah, about 18 months ago now. So I've not been doing this for a long time, but I've been in tech for a long, longer time, 10 years or so, or at least doing my own stuff.

And it's not so much spend, cuz spend comes as a result of you doing an action. Having something that is created to have a purpose like spend is secondary to whatever is you are building as a team or whatever features are coming down the pipeline. And a lot of the time, because the pace we all move at in terms of new features, new releases, management direction, all of this sort of stuff, we're on the hamster wheel.

Basically just saying, okay, I've gotta add this new feature. Or the tails wagging the dog. You do user research, get two conflicting pieces of advice, and you're throwing on a new feature rather than making whatever's there better. So you're always moving forward. You're never really stopping to deal with tecta, you're never really stopping to keep up on platform.

Restructures best decisions here and. I wouldn't say it's by design, but no one makes it easy. No one is really saying, okay, here's what you need to do. How about you try this? Like Amazon, you'll get hundreds and hundreds of emails about all sorts of stuff just randomly announced to every single account, and you pay your ID as an enterprise.

Not very helpful, especially when you've got account teams who will help, but they've got their own sales targets as well. Because at the end of the day, the cloud is all about selling like it's rent-tier capitalism of technology. Like previously, you could own your own data center, manage it like even, and a lot of those can be cheaper for the right size organization.

Just the cloud doesn't always make sense. Let's say, because one of the things we've always talked about is like a cloud first policy, but the cloud doesn't just mean AWS. Like I'm saying, Azure and G C P, there are loads of different cloud options and even SaaS services managed services. These are all in the cloud.

IAS, PAS, SaaS and whatever else, that's how the cloud's moved on. A managed service from AWS is a SaaS service in a different form, and people just get a little bit mixed up sometimes and it advice for anyone. Just stop and think a bit more in terms of what you wanna achieve before you just start building stuff.

And I dunno, products management and delivery management are the two key parts. Like doing them well is about shaping the team in the right direction when we're building stuff. And that's where people forget. They just follow the rules and don't understand why you should be doing these things. But anyway, quite off topic for the original question.


Chris Adams: Alright, let's park that one there and come back to a little bit later cuz there's an event later on with the head of Digital Sustainability, who's speaking at Green Tech Southwest. And we can touch on some of that a little bit later. Next story we see here, I see one about some of the new ideas in Xbox.

Xbox has some new energy management tools, which they're basically using to, by the sounds of things, reduce environmental impact from gaming specifically.

One of the key things was this idea that by essentially optimizing Fortnite, the game, people have been able to identify something, the region of 18 megawatt hours a day of power, and at the same amount as basically an entire wind farm in Sweden, and basically remove that by making some optimizations to the actual game itself by removing, say, excess use, which people aren't using, for example, or removing some of the really expensive computing when it can't be perceived so easily.

This is one thing. Didn't realize that. This is actually quite interesting in my view, cuz A, we forget just what the impact of gaming might be when you have all these machines, which are about maybe half a kilowatt of power, or hundreds of watts, for example, but also the scope for actual optimization here.

Aerin Booth: Yeah, and, and I really like what Microsoft's doing to be honest, in terms of Xbox and the direction for their technology because they clearly have a vision that's further ahead than other providers, I'd say in some ways, especially when it comes to sustainability and technology and just even connect. I remember Microsoft Xbox Connect, like that was pretty cool back then and it just got dropped off slightly and I think PlayStation's a bit head in in VR with the new VR 2 coming out, but, I like to think about this again as a generational problem of gaming.

Gaming is one of those industries which just derises it a lot in the media and people assume like hardly anyone's a gamer. I probably bet now especially was listened to the podcast. You game a lot more than you realize. Like people do it on Candy Crush, do it online betting. It's all gaming. It's all gaming theory.

It's all basically around, okay, what we getting out of this? What's the purpose of this game? It either gives you fun or, or takes money off you, pick your poison. And I've got an Xbox, I've also got a PlayStation and Xbox is doing some really interesting stuff. I think one thing I might have read, maybe it's not in this article, but it's like just doing updates and downloads at a period where the carbon intensity of your energy grid in the country that you live is low.

So scheduling overnight or whatever it is, cuz it, it doesn't follow the sun per se. The way we consume energy, especially when renewables are coming in the day and it varies, especially Europe way. We're all connected. So it's, I don't need to care about that. I don't need to worry, go around the house and unplug things and do all these smart home setups if it's baked into the technology that we're delivering.

And Microsoft obviously just deciding to do that, whereas PlayStation, and especially, I'm gonna say rather than PlayStation, Activision, blizzard, like Activision and COD. Have you seen the size of some of these games? GTA 5. They are like almost terabyte games these days. Can you think like they're always getting updated?

People are going up and down, and especially when you almost have to do a fresh install somehow, or some reason I've had to do it once or twice over the years, and that was really unnecessary. And as much as we had like games flying around disks years ago, and everyone's saying do digital now, it's like with a game, I can keep that passive to a friend, take it back to a shop and get a refund from CEX or a computer exchange store.

Whereas now if I get a digital download, what I'm getting is a license to rent something off you in the future and continually have to ask for permission to download it, which you may ban me one day who the hell knows. So it's okay, we're solving the technology carbon element and now we Microsoft's going, but didn't we just do that anywhere with disks?

Recycle your disks. It's mostly plastic and glass and cases and whatever, and yeah. Do you know, there's an interesting fact and, and Corey Quinn mentions this one, the fastest way to transfer data around the world is on a hard drive on a plane. That's the quickest way to send data halfway around the world because the fiber network, speed of light is the limitation and there's only so many open routes.

So it's like, okay, we can still ship more data in the world, but it's just like, yeah, put it on the back of a plane, fly it round. It's, that's what we used to do with disks anyway, so it's, thank you Microsoft kind of thinking about this, but what's the point of all this and like these days, especially with ai, do games have to get any bigger, like I'm pretty.

Most games I love Legend of Zelda, Wind Waker, it's cell shaded. It's timeless because of its style, not because of it's trying to chase realism of the day. Cuz we always get better at doing realism. So we always date a game by being realistic.

Chris Adams: So this is actually a nice segue because one of the ideas for this story here was people are basically talking about getting between 9 to 16 watts per user of savings per player, basically, which I know sounds okay. And then you gotta think about how does that relate to, say, the power usage of say, maybe a PS 5 or Xbox.

The numbers that we, I just did a bit of Googling for this beforehand, and we can see some numbers for like when a game is in full use. So with a PS5, the numbers. We see from say, okay, I'll be honest, this is pretty short. So the citation required from ecoenergygeek.com, PS5 power consumption gaming figures.

You're looking at around 200 watts with outgoing, up to 350 watts of power. Now, when you compare that to say, min Nintendo Switch, Which is basically, let's say you're using something full-time gaming. You're looking at maybe between 6 and 12 Watts of power usage here. Now this is something which is 10, 20 times, and I, you've gotta ask yourself, is it really 10, 20 times better the experience for this when you have this kind of trade off here? This, there's one thing that we're not really so aware of when we are looking at the gaming we might actually use here, because the savings we're seeing here are basically the entire usage of some other smaller devices like you just mentioned.

Aerin Booth: For me, I've got Steam Deck for example. They have Steam do gaming and like, you know, they've built community, they've built the steam store. Like, you know, that in itself revolutionized gaming. Like the games died off for probably creative differences and gotten bored and all fighting rather than playing together, but, What they created is a storage.

Very good. The steam deck and the innovation and hardware is really good, so like they add a bit of a dodgy controller, but I love the steam deck. Not only can I stream games to it, so I can have it in my house, connect to my wifi and stream Microsoft Cloud straight to it. I can remote play to my PS5 to it.

I can emulate other games that are legal to emulate if I own copies elsewhere, blah, blah, blah. Disclaimer here. Yeah, it's a brilliant device and to be honest, I've not looked into the energy consumption so much, but gaming, we shouldn't worry about gaming if I'm a gamer. You shouldn't sit here and worry about our energy consumption of, okay, I've left my TV on and I've had a game on all night.

I remember when I was a kid, I didn't have a memory card for Final Fantasy VII. I had to play with my PlayStation and never switch it off and say to my mother, never turn this device off because we don't own a memory cars and you can't save games. So I'm like trying to play Final Fantasy VII and Crash Bandicoot with like never stopping it, which is quite an interesting one.

Not a good attempt. I tried playing Crash Bandicoot recently as the remasters and oh my God, that game is frustrating. I can't believe I even bothered as a kid. So at the end of the day, gaming is about connecting people World of Warcraft. Best game for me in my life in a lot of ways because of the people and the connections I made.

I have four godchildren because I met a friend in a guild. She married the guild leader. They had kids. They asked me to be the godfather. I went to another wedding, second marriage of hers. We've been lifelong friends ever since. I met her when I was 13, playing World of Warcraft as a old blue warlock, a female warlock, which is quite interesting.

That's all my online personas have ever been women. Which is now, I look back at it, I go, that's really interesting. But yeah, it's good fun and like, yeah, it brings communities together it's healing and Tetris great example. If you play Tetris after a serious accident or incident, whether that's a stress ambulance, blah, blah, blah, it reduces PTSD because you give your brain something to do while you're trying to process all those thoughts, and it actually helps you not get them stuck and can do with your hands and spend more time processing at the same time and literally prescribe someone 30 minutes on a Game Boy of playing Tetris or on the phone after an accident or after whatever else. And it'll really help them in the future. So gaming is not until worry about when it comes to carbon.

I, I think, What is to worry about is just attitudes from gaming companies around their impacts and how they run things, and that's their choices rather than the console manufacturers, some licensing deals here and there, but yeah, it's open Wild West out there these days.

Chris Adams: So don't blame the gamer. Blame the. Way

Aerin Booth: Activision Blizzard,

Chris Adams: Oh,

Aerin Booth: I, no, I find it interesting. Activision Blizzard because in all honesty, There's been uproar online around the culture of that organization. It was started by a big group of men, basically provided over quite a horrible culture for a long time, over decades. They had very good stories like Green Jesus, we all love them.

For all rest in peace, you're back from the dead, who knows? And you know it, it lost its path slightly. But what I see with the newest expansion is it because they really did a change of their culture? They started to actually focus on, on, on being more loving in the environment. The game itself is much more interesting now.

You have queer characters and dragons and all this stuff. A lot of people are really happy about it these days and it's like this. The thing about boycotting anything, if you boycott something. Like how is anyone supposed to get better? Okay. Tell them what they did wrong, accept them. Make changes like removing people, which a lot of these companies have been doing.

So removing these people who were bad for the environment and then that's it. Like I know especially, and I'm not saying this to people who were harmed directly, I can never. I can't comment on that. That's your own stuff and your own opinions. You can choose to just never interact with them again. But to say to half the world or most of the world, you have to do this way or you're a bad person.

What's that gonna get us More fucking sad people in the world.

Chris Adams: Yes. Okay. All right. Should we jump onto the next story?

All right. Next story we have here is wagtail and the summer of code. This is quite an interesting one in my view. Basically, Wagtail is a CMS, just like WordPress is a content management system used by significant part of the internet. Wagtail's used by companies like say, a number of charities, Google, lots of well-known blocks are actually running on this, and this project is about the Google Summer of Code. There was a joint project. Basically start embedding some greener coding practices into Wagtail itself. So the idea here is to do things like introduce some kind of green modes or also think about, okay, ways that you can create a different architectures to make this scale down to zero in various places.

This one actually, I think, is. I have to say I, I am somewhat involved in this because this is a joint collaboration between Torch Box an agency and the Green Web Foundation. We've been doing some work for this, but there's a number of really promising directions for this to go in, and this was using some of the tools from an organization called Green Code, green Coding Metrics, largely because when you do use some tools like say a cms, it's not obvious where to make these optimizations.

And if you're making able to have something open for people to start implementing some of these pattern, The idea is that you can possibly adopt these in other places, so I might ask you actually. Yeah. Any reckons at your end on this one Aerin?

Aerin Booth: so it's really great in terms of anything that is up the scale. Wagtail is effectively a content management system same as WordPress. I understand it in terms of that. That's what I've ever heard of. I might take a look afterwards. I had a little look then, but yeah. Great. Do carbon reductions at a platform level and anything hack around it.

Like this is the great thing about open source projects and whatever else, like if you solve an open source project. As in terms of it has this capability now and anyone can contribute to, if you solve the problem, then we can come back like that as a team, as everyone in the community to say, okay, we care about this.

Now we're gonna show it some love and make it better. That's the whole focal point about community-driven development, which is open source communities. This is the sort of thing which we could almost stop and do anyway. And you see this at Kubernetes, especially these days. I think Adrian Cockcroft did a good talk at QCon just talking around obviously stuff he learned at Netflix, but you know what we need to do with Kubernetes?

Effectively, Kubernetes is a zombie of its own. It was open source to encourage people to be able to migrate between clouds or just have a more generic platform layer. You put a box and a docker, whatever to cube and it goes there and we can move trade cubes around. But the reality is it helped people get onto the cloud quickly.

Okay, I can write all these things, but at the end of the day, there's always services that are connected different ways. So it's like I've got my Kubernetes cluster with all my nodes and whatever else. And then I'm relying on, uh, SSL toys. Ssl, isn't it? Like all of these things which are either cloud providers you host from AWS or you buy a SaaS service and you've then think it as chemical reaction.

You're slow as the weakest reaction or whatever else, or bond is as weak as the weakest chain link. And that's where a lot of the time when I see outages in the cloud and have experiences them, it's never really the whole of Amazon going down though that has happened. It just happen a lot more regularly these days due to thermal events.

That's why we care about carbon emissions. A lot of data centers can't actually handle variations in temperature than designed for that, but that's where it actually goes wrong. Like you don't even notice it as well. And I think you asked me something earlier, which I didn't finish off, and I'll come back to it now.

Enterprise organizations, and I'm talking generically here because I know it's gonna be a problem everywhere because to be honest, they all run in very similar ways. And the government, civil service, massive organizations have worked in all the biggest ones. Ministry Defense, DWP, Home Office, HMRC.

They're very similar. We don't even know what we build. Like enterprises, generally things will get built. Innovations, money will come in cuz this is it. Money arrives a decision maker and it something gets built underneath. So when you're an enterprise organization, you've got all this money flowing out through cash cent-, cost centers, whatever you call them, bloody accountancy things and stuff just starts getting built, which is fine, but people are building their own fiefdoms.

People move on. Things get passed around. I would bet any money that people who've gone to use Service now, especially service now because it's very self directed. You have to do a lot of manual work, and I think they've got better things these days, but again, it's hard to connect everything across the generations.

I would be very surprised to find many organizations that have a very full record of every single IT service, it's service name, it's in service Now. All of it's onboarding for live service and operations because things just fall through the cracks and they just exist. They are zombies themselves, and you have a service that just works.

Even look at the internet itself, there's so many open source projects that sit on underlying all of our core open projects that I think there was one a couple of years ago where, I dunno if it was protest or it just went down, but it caused half the internet to fall over. Yeah, we're all building crumbling towers when we go too big in terms of tech and it, especially enterprise, because sometimes it's like, oh, you know, you're a bit of an old man now Microsoft, can you really do everything in its dog like, especially when startups are just doing it better and faster Digital Ocean, Genesis Cloud, Leaf Cloud, all of these places in Europe.

Chris Adams: Okay. Alright, we'll pick that thread when we come back to this. Let's look through the last few stories that we have here. Cause we're just coming to the end of it from here. There's a few events coming up there. Linux Foundation Energy Summit in June in Paris. There's a few people speaking specifically about tools like Carbon Aware SDKs, and if you're in Paris, it seems like it's worth going.

I know that I'm actually going along to see some of the talks, cuz it looks like one of the most interesting places to. Essentially find out what's happening at this intersection. One layer down where we work with at the internet, for example. There's that there. There's also a upcoming event is Green Tech Southwest at the meetup on the 20th.

This looks interesting cause so if nothing else, you've got Adam Turner who is the head of digital sustainability at DEFRA talking, basically providing a bit of a way in for people who are new to the idea about. Apply sustainability to the digital sector, but he'll also be talking about the UK government's digital sustainability strategy themselves.

This I think, is actually quite interesting cuz this is one of the UK's probably further along than are a number of other governments right now and they're at least very quite public on this. I might ask if there's anything that you wanna add onto this one here, cuz we're coming up to the last few minutes for you Aerin?

Aerin Booth: Yes. I'll take it over for a couple minutes and just kind of add my views in here. So I'm a former civil servant. I was independent, impartial. Following the government, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Always did my job to the most first honour and respect of that role. I was part of a lot of these negotiations and sustainability was always a touchy subject.

Like it's a very difficult thing to get anything straight out of a lot of companies, because we're all playing with assumptions and numbers right now with the reality of it, like Scope 3 hardly exists in all the cloud providers, especially AWS, they don't show Scope 3 at all in any of their online tools or any of their reports.

They have an awful report. 451 did this report about the carbon reductions you can make by migrate into the cloud and they say you can have 88% energy savings in the cloud if you migrate to the cloud, and therefore you'll have carbon reduction. Okay. I said something very specific there. 88% energy reduction if your migrates to the cloud.

If you read the report itself only covers scope two carbon emissions. It doesn't cover scope one, which I thought was quite interesting considering there's so many diesel backup generators in all of these places. If you think about Puerto Rico, for example, when they had the hurricane several years ago, the only thing that didn't lose power on those on the island was the data centers.

The people of that country waited, what, nine months, year, 18 months to get power restored to everyone. Data centers never lost today because we prioritize data of people over people themselves. That's a crazy thing that's going on here. We're like we shipping these boxes of ones and zeros. Rather than thinking maybe I should do something better with my energy on this island and help people out for a little bit and take the loss and turn off some hard drives, put it all in disc or tape storage and turn the damn thing off for a bit.

And there's so much we really need to think differently about because yeah, that report, that's all over 80 versus sustainability pages, it's literally the top link. I went to an event in Ireland, I flew over for Amazon's first ever sustainability event organized by the wonderful public sector and marketing team over in Ireland.

And they basically said that report, and then they also said, oh, look at our wonderful carbon reporting tool, which by the way, everyone only reports Scope one and two. Scope one and two is about 7% of carbon emissions from AWS. 93% of all their carbon emissions comes from their own supply chain. So when I'm making a decision about my cloud and I'm looking at these wonderful graphs, I am seeing 7% of the a hundred percent of the big picture and thinking I'm making an 88% carbon reduction.

So what effectively Amazon has just said. You can reduce your carbon emissions by 6% if you move to the cloud. Sound a bit different now when you really analyze the facts and read the report more than two pages or get through their first blue blog post and sustainability for me cuz I've worked with Amazon, I'm a community builder at Amazon I don't really care about not pulling punches or whatever else because I've honestly tried to work with them quite a lot and their PR team consistently always pulls the plug on sustainability conversations. And I'm not even joking. I was supposed to do a Twitter space or someone invited me and I got pulled, I'm not saying it was me, I just say they have a problem talking about sustainability.

They have no idea how to do it. Cause they think. Oh, if we admit this is a problem, everyone's just gonna run away and not join. It's like maybe, but you can't just carry on what you're doing just because you want to make some profit at the end of the world while the rest of us like have to deal with the climate crisis.

And yeah, I almost not given up on Amazon, but I won't be helping them directly anymore. I consult generally probably between like a bit like Corey Quinn. 10 to 15 different people or teams who reach out and ask for my advice at Amazon and all of it's unpaid, like I'm giving unpaid labor to one of the world's richest companies for no thanks or credit.

Not to say thanks. I was like, oh, I deserve this fin. But to be blocked or just have events disappear randomly because of PR decisions, when all I've ever been trying to do is help is like, well, now the time to just do things differently, which is why I've got my own podcast. Why I come onto podcasts like this.

I do obviously talk about sustainability with my rights hat on AWS channels when I do get on. And yeah, we need to think differently about the cloud. And for me, me and Adrian Cockcroft have been talking about this for a long time, and it'll be coming out soon and I might as well throw it at the very, very end.

I've been recently asked to propose a book to the British Computing Society on Green Operations, and I'll be writing that hopefully with some co-collaborators and figure out how can we really reframe this as a cultural issue. Okay. We are DevOps because even with DevOps, what we prioritize development and developers, we're thinking about ourselves when we're building services, try thinking about the people and the planet.

Chris Adams: So this is the dev suss ops thing is.

Aerin Booth: Not DevSusOps, that was Adrian's term and we're not gonna use that. In some ways it has its own purpose, but again, I don't want people thinking about developers or su sus like it. It just doesn't even make sense. Like what you read that I have no Green Operations is about thinking people and the planet when we're building services.

If you put those two things at the top of your priority list, okay, what is my priority? It's for people on the planet, not users. By the way, people. And then you go, okay, how do I build this? I'm gonna build it with diversity and accessibility at the front of my mindset and open source and reusability. And if honest to God, you just do those things.

Think about people on the planet, build accessibility needs and usable parts and, and sharing and SaaS services. People just want to use it because it is actually a good service. You don't have to just build everything from scratch. You just need to think about things differently, and it's always chasing the tail or the money or the next feature, whatever else.

And we forget that we're not really building things for ourselves in technology. We're trying to build services. For one, helps people in their day-to-day lives and hopefully save the freaking planet. In the next upcoming climate change catastrophe the rest of our lives. So green operations hopefully be published by the British Computing Society once I submit the full manuscript later this year.

And yeah, it'll be a good little thing to sort of, you know, think differently when it comes to sustainability in the cloud.

Chris Adams: Okay, so green operations, you heard it here first. I think that takes us up to the time we have. This actually Aerin. I'm gonna say thank you very much for joining us for this episode of this week in Green Software

Aerin Booth: Can I just add one more thing? I always love doing this at the end of my podcast. One I is just in terms of, you wanna find me? My name's Aerin Booth, but my online persona is Aerin Clouds, A E R I N C L O U D S. That's on most social media. It's really easy to find quite a unique name, but. What I always try and say to people is like, if you're listening to this podcast, if you finish it and made it this far, thank you so much and well done.

But do something nice in the next week. Take some time off you. Were gonna do, spend some time in nature. Don't forget that there's other things out there, rather than staring into a box on a screen and working for cloud companies or technology companies. When you know you shouldn't really be traveling away from everyone all the time, you shouldn't always be on the go.

We need to balance these things out. And that's Green operations. If you stand in nature, you're gonna think about nature a lot more when you're making decisions, if you're always away from it, if you're in a city, you're on the tube, getting back home, sitting down, having a takeaway, it doesn't really cross your mind.

And sometimes we just need to have a little bit of fresh air and it really helps us just to do some of this stuff. I'm basically a digital hippie. So let's go and let's do this together. Peace and love.

Chris Adams: So the secret to Green Ops is to get out in the green. All right. That's a nice point to end on. That's all we have time for. All the resources and links will be added to this. If you have any feedback, go to greensoftware.foundation in your browser. Uh, And if you did enjoy the show, please consider leaving a review on Spotify or Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcast.

Your feedback is valuable and helps us reach a wider audience. So thanks again. Thanks for listening and seeing you in the next episode. See you next week, Torah. Take

care, Aerin. Bye.

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