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Microsoft announces a new cloud to help organizations in the great cha

Path to Zero Net Emissions

  • The company has presented the preview public Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, a specialized cloud that gives organizations the ability to access a comprehensive, integrated and automated set of insights to accelerate every stage of their sustainability journey.
  • In the last year, Microsoft has signed renewable energy purchase agreements in 10 countries around the world, including Spain, becoming the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in 2021.
  • Microsoft has launched a plan to reduce water use in its evaporative-cooled data centers by 95% by 2024, and is advancing research into liquid cooling and immersion of its servers in liquid to increase their performance and increase the useful life of the chips by 20%.

Since 2010, the number of Internet users worldwide has doubled, and by 2022 global traffic is expected to increase by 4.2 zettabytes per year, while mobile and IoT connections multiply. These trends reflect exponential digitalization that is based on the cloud and translates into growing demand for data centers. As a consequence, the cloud industry faces an important challenge: to continue scaling computing capacity – a key factor in moving towards a digital economy model – while reducing carbon emissions to preserve the planet.

Data centers must be part of the solution for broad decarbonization, but the climate challenges we face will not be solved by a single company or industry. Our mission is to find ways to improve our data center operations, share these learnings with the entire cloud industry, and empower our customers and partners through tools to measure their sustainability progress,” says Noelle Walsh, corporate vice president of Cloud Operations and Innovation at Microsoft.

A cloud that preserves the environment: Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability

It is difficult to improve or change what cannot be measured. The world needs global standards, a common basis to ensure carbon emissions are measured accurately, consistently and reliably globally, and innovative technology solutions to reduce carbon emissions and our environmental impact,” adds Walsh.

To advance the Net Zero goal, Microsoft is not only investing heavily in R&D for its cloud infrastructures and sharing its expertise in this field, but also wants to help organizations record, report and reduce more effectively its carbon emissions. To do this, launch the preview of Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability , a specialized cloud that offers organizations the ability to access a comprehensive, integrated and automated set of insights to accelerate every stage of their sustainability journey.

Microsoft understands the fight against climate change and sustainability as a journey that must be taken together: “ Together with our partners and customers, we can achieve net zero and create the path towards negative carbon emissions. To achieve this, we have to share our learnings and progress, and create new solutions that allow us to compare where we are today and where we are going, making them available to everyone ,” insists the company's corporate vice president of Cloud Operations and Innovation.

The future of the data center

As demand for cloud in the public and private sectors continues to grow, it is essential to dedicate resources to finding creative and innovative solutions in order to meet ambitious sustainability goals.

Today, migration to Azure offers a more sustainable solution , which is up to 98% more efficient in terms of carbon emissions and up to 93% in terms of energy consumption than traditional data centers. However, Microsoft's commitment goes further: it is to be carbon negative by 2030 and, by 2050, eliminate from the environment all the carbon that the company has emitted directly or through electricity consumption since its founding in 1975.

To this end, it has launched different initiatives that can also help the sector define the future of data centers. Some of the most significant are the following:

  • Reduce water use in data center operations by 95% by 2024 and be water positive by 2030: Microsoft works to achieve maximum consumption optimization, adapting to the existing climate in each part of the world. Thus, this project has the potential to eliminate the use of water for cooling data centers in regions such as Amsterdam, Dublin, Virginia or Chicago, while reducing its use in desert areas by up to 60%.
  • Continuous research in immersion cooling as an alternative to the use of water: Microsoft has been the first cloud provider to use the two-phase liquid immersion cooling in a production environment, demonstrating its viability for broader use. Furthermore, its application in scenarios of overclocking . This shows that this type of liquid cooling can be leveraged not only for sustainability purposes, but also to achieve higher chip performance in advanced AI and AI workloads. machine learning and create more densely packed servers in smaller spaces. In addition, the use of this cooling technique can increase the useful life of the chips by 20%, which contributes to better utilization of the hardware and greater sustainability.
  • Design of data centers that support local ecosystems: Microsoft has been evaluating ecosystem behavior in 12 data center regions in terms of quantity and quality of water, air, carbon, climate or biodiversity. The purpose is to renew and revitalize the surrounding area to provide regenerative value to the local community and environment. The results of this research are already helping to configure one of its first projects in the north of Holland.
  • Reduce the carbon footprint in data center design and construction: The carbon associated with construction materials and processes represents at least the 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions throughout the entire life cycle of a building or infrastructure, according to the latest data from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction. Microsoft plans to build between 50 and 100 new data centers each year and, thanks to the EC3 calculator developed by Building Transparency, estimates that it can reduce the embodied carbon in the concrete and steel used by 30-60 percent. Internally, the Zerix Project advances research into biodegradable plastics, sustainable printed circuit boards and bioconcrete to address all stages of the data center life cycle.

Successes in the commitment to sustainability

Our current progress is possible thanks to the investments we have made in the development of advanced data centers and the co-development, in collaboration with our partners, of cloud-based solutions and tools that we can use in our direct operations and that are also available to the general market,” comments Noelle Walsh.

These are some of the most recent milestones that Microsoft has achieved:

  • Renewable energy and grid decarbonization: In July, the company expanded its goal of achieving a 100% renewable energy supply by 2025, pledging to maintain the 100% electricity consumption 100% of the time , relying on carbon-free energy purchases. In the last 12 months, Microsoft has signed new renewable energy purchase agreements for approximately 5.8 gigawatts in 10 countries around the world, including Spain, with more than 35 individual agreements. According to Bloomberg NEF, Microsoft is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in 2021.
  • Creation of Microsoft Circular Centers to extend the life cycle of servers and reuse them, thereby reducing waste: In 2020, its largest suppliers reduced their collective carbon footprint by 21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and, over the next year, they will extend this model to all their cloud computing assets to achieve reuse of electronic equipment of 90%.
  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment) Gold Certification: The company plans to obtain this accreditation for all its data centers, so as to guarantee the energy and resource efficiency of all its buildings. For now, its Arizona data center region, opened in June, already has this certification.
  • Energy Matching in Action 24/7: Sweden is the country chosen to implement a solution developed together with Vattenfall to monitor hourly energy consumption and guarantee the use of 100% renewable energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Joint work with the cloud supply chain to reduce indirect emissions (scope 3): Microsoft's top suppliers have already reduced their collective footprint by 23.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) and saved a total of $1.47 billion, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project's latest reporting cycle ( CDP).

Source: https://news.microsoft.com/es-es/2021/10/27/microsoft-anuncia-una-nueva-nube-para-ayudar-a-las-organizaciones-en-el-gran-reto- of-digitalization-achieving-zero-net-emissions/

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