Insights into Sustainable IT Infrastructure


It’s a fact that sustainability and ESG goals have become increasingly important to modern organisations, with businesses around the world now taking drastic steps to reduce their carbon footprint and effect on the environment.  Indeed, per Forbes, 90% of surveyed business leaders say they believe that sustainability is critical to their enterprise. 

CTOs have a major part to play in this effort. Because building a more resilient and sustainable IT infrastructure can have a profound impact on a company’s carbon emissions and ESG goals. But achieving IT sustainability isn’t always as easy as it sounds. In fact, there are often many blockers facing businesses which prevent them from upgrading their tech for the benefit of the environment and themselves.

This article will explore the main difficulties companies face when making their IT more sustainable, while also covering strategies to overcome these issues, as well as breaking down what companies have already succeeded. Read on to learn more. 

Challenges to IT Sustainability 

First of all, before we think about how companies can achieve greener tech infrastructure, we need to consider what kind of issues might be blocking them from meeting their goals.

We recently conducted a survey of approximately 500 executives from a wealth of industries on the obstacles CTOs face in achieving their IT goals and priorities. Of those 500 respondents, approximately half of them stated that they felt their IT infrastructure needed some improvement in order to remain fit for purpose for the next two years. 

Analysing the data further, 24% were more pessimistic about their situation, stating that their IT infrastructure faced significant challenges and failings. Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, 28% of respondents stated that they have faced significant problems when attempting to meet their sustainability benchmarks

Clearly, this data shows that there are some anxieties out there regarding sustainable IT infrastructures. But what are the actual challenges these businesses face? 

Many companies have pledged to reduce their carbon emissions, or even work towards ‘Net Zero’, as part of a worldwide initiative to combat climate change. According to data courtesy of Net Zero Tracker, achieving net zero is now a corporate norm, with almost two-thirds (65%) of the annual revenue of the world’s largest 2000 companies now covered by a net zero target.

However, the energy demands of new tech make these benchmarks harder to achieve, while the high cost of investment needed to achieve more environmentally-friendly IT infrastructures is also a concern. Furthermore, there’s also great complexity involved in upgrading an IT infrastructure to make it more sustainable. Many businesses might lack the knowledge and experience needed to effectively navigate the renewable energy market. 

Then there’s the fact that a modern cloud infrastructure is often dependent on third party suppliers. This means that there is a trust issue at play, as firms have to determine whether the external teams they collaborate with are themselves sustainable. 

Key Strategies to Achieve A Sustainable IT Infrastructure 

With all the above challenges in mind, let’s consider some of the relevant strategies that companies might want to consider when planning a greener IT infrastructure. 

The first step to take is to assess your existing infrastructure to determine how energy efficient your network devices and servers are, using tools such as network monitoring, and environmental sensors from power distribution units, while confirming against vendor data sheets. You can also conduct an audit to determine your relevant network design, configuration, and usage patterns.

Look to upgrade your company hardware to something more efficient and energy-saving. Find tech that boasts relevant environmental certifications, such as Energy Star, EPEAT, or RoHS. Although this investment can seem pricey in the short-term, your investment will pay dividends in time. 

You should also attempt to optimise your configuration and settings to reduce unnecessary traffic and overhead. You can use techniques like network segmentation, load balancing, traffic shaping, and compression to distribute the workload and bandwidth among your network devices and servers, and to eliminate redundant or unwanted data. 

You can also use network automation and orchestration to increase the efficiency of your IT network, by streamlining and simplifying your network management and operations; helping you do more, for less. Maybe your business can ask: ‘why keep access points enabled at night when no-one is in the office?’ Automation could be employed to schedule lights, thermostats, and other utilities, thus saving energy bills. This is especially true for bigger businesses, whose overhead will invariably be proportionately larger. 

Finally, you can save on space, power, cooling, and maintenance costs by using virtualisation and cloud computing to reduce the number of physical servers and devices that you need to run your network applications and services. For instance, according to multiple studies conducted by 451 Research, moving on-premises workloads to AWS (currently 90% powered by renewable energy sources) can lower customers’ workload carbon footprints by nearly 80%. This figure could boost to cover 96% once AWS is powered with 100% renewable energy. 

How Opicore Helps Clients Achieve Greener Tech

Our role is to aid our clients with their ESG goals by forging platforms and strategic partnerships that accelerate their sustainability efforts. Our mission is to leverage our expertise to help guide our clients on their sustainability journey. We work with you to conduct a full sustainability audit of your enterprise, as well the specific challenges you face and the intricacies of your business model.

We also have the specialist knowledge in IT and cloud networks to recommend the most sustainable tech and IT partners out there. Our recommendations are entirely based around the specific needs and objectives of your business.

So, if you’d like to understand more about how our consultancy service can help you build a more sustainable IT network, visit our website to read about Our Solutions now.