Top tips for designing sustainable, future-ready IT infrastructure

Explore the environmental impact of your IT infrastructure. Whether on-premise, hybrid, or the cloud, your environments effect the planet, so let’s look at how to design sustainable infrastructure.

Architecture for sustainable IT infrastructure

Modern designs of private, hybrid, and public cloud environments have developed better power consumption methods designed to leave the lowest carbon footprint. Regardless of what a workload’s destination is, consolidation and optimisation need to be at the forefront of any data centre design.

However, for many organisations, it can be challenging to maximise sustainability while continuing to leverage current capabilities. Discover our top tips for protecting the planet while maintaining current infrastructure.

On-premise IT infrastructure

On-premise IT infrastructure

On-premise infrastructure requires power and cooling resources to operate efficiently, which leads to regular over consumption of energy. However, as sustainability becomes a more prevalent challenge, organisations are seeking alternative management methods of on-premise infrastructure to protect the planet.

Here are our top tips for creating environmentally friendly in-house infrastructure:

• Match the number of servers to your tailored needs
• Ensure server settings are set for optimum energy saving
• Reduce the number of active powered on switches
• Implement a waste management plan to reuse old materials within your server
• Regularly check and optimise the energy consumption of your data centre

Hybrid IT infrastructure

Hybrid infrastructure is being increasingly utilised, with full management capabilities combined with the power of the cloud.

When dealing with hybrid infrastructure, we witness environmental challenges brought by elements of both on-premise and cloud infrastructure, as well as additional problems caused by migration to the cloud. When transitioning from on-premise to cloud infrastructure, it’s important to consider the following sustainability practises:

  • Use tools such as Azure VMware Solution (AVS) to stretch on-premise infrastructure to the cloud while reducing your on-premise carbon footprint
  • Stretch Azure management tools to on-premise kit through Azure Stack HCI to operate a minimised on-premise workload environment, all managed by a single system such as Microsoft ARC
Hybrid cloud IT infrastructure

Cloud IT infrastructure

Research suggests that cloud data centres are more energy efficient and sustainable than traditional enterprise data centres, but in order to be fully committed to achieving your sustainability goals to have a zero-carbon footprint, there are actions to take:

• Follow a cloud smart strategy, optimising as many elements of your environment as possible
• Make use of cloud-native applications and transform workloads into native forms rather than reconstituting your on-premise applications
• Scale up and down according to your usage to avoid wasted resources


Want to find out how to establish sustainability best practise for your infrastructure?

Check out Microsoft’s Well-Architected Framework assessment now

Factors to consider when assessing your IT infrastructure

When designing IT infrastructure, all organisations have a responsibility to protect the planet by reducing carbon emissions.

By completing the Microsoft Assessment for Sustainability in the Well-Architected Review, you will receive a pragmatic score based on your specific needs. Over time, you will improve your score by following the below recommendations to reduce your carbon emissions:

  • Application platform: ensure platform and services are up to date to benefit from the latest performance improvements and energy optimisations
  • Testing: running and testing your assets regularly comes with significant energy usage, so having a practised design for testing integrations ensures full utilisation of the available resources, leading to reduced carbon emissions. Testing also allows you to identify the areas of high consumption to prevent the deployment of non-sustainable workloads
  • Operational procedures: to ensure you are reducing your carbon emissions, it’s essential to monitor and measure them. Implementing tools and processes to measure and track the sustainability of your workload will lead to better decision making and enable you to build expectations and targets with your supply chain
  • Networking and connectivity: networking is essential but increases carbon emissions overall. To sustainably enhance and optimise your network, you need to avoid spreading resources unnecessarily, maximise network utilisation, and optimise network routing
  • Storage: the quantity of data held by your organisation affects the amount of storage, networking, and security needed, all of which utilises energy. Data centre modernisation and redesign is an opportunity to implement a more sustainable data storage architecture. By reducing the data held and introducing tools to manage your assets correctly reduces energy usage and carbon emissions
  • Security: security solutions add services and infrastructure to your data centre, creating additional carbon emissions. Using cloud-native security services where possible allows you to remove the overhead of extra infrastructure, improving energy efficiency

Explore more about designing a sustainable infrastructure

Design your IT infrastructure with sustainability in mind today. Book a free call with our sustainability specialist to discover more top tips.

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Want a more in-depth look at sustainability challenges and how to make informed decisions? Check out the Microsoft Sustainability Well-Architected Framework Guidance and Assessment.

Check it out now
Jennifer Clewley
Jennifer Clewley

Jen is the sustainability lead at Phoenix, helping public sector organisations to understand their vision, roadmap, and technology solutions and achieve their carbon zero goals. She brings with her a wealth of experience from local government and the private sector to help build digital strategies aligned to organisational objectives. Jen is outcome driven, delivering projects with strong stakeholder engagement to overcome challenges, while improving and enhancing services delivered by the public sector.

See all posts by Jennifer Clewley