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Sustainable Software Engineering

The choices made throughout the engineering process regarding cloud services, software architecture design and automation can have a big impact on the carbon footprint of a solution. We can opt for the use of a shared service, which has less Carbon footprint compared to deployed and dedicated VMs in the same region which - depending on the projected load - could potentially could run well below capacity for longer periods of time.

Sustainability in the Engineering process

Business Strategy

Several companies have a strategy and goals to reduce their carbon footprint. During the Envisioning phase of a Software Engineering project, aligning with the sustainability strategy of the company and gathering information on the guidelines and implications could prove beneficial for the environment and useful for the project.

Architecture Design

During the design phase, choices on the type of infrastructure and services can have a big impact on the carbon footprint of the solution.

Platform vs. Infratructure services

Opting for platform or shared services does not only reduce the overall and maintenance cost, it also pushes capacity planning to the responsibilities of the provider and has benefits regarding optimal use of resources.

Use of Virtual Machines

If VMs within a protected network is a requirement, consider the ability to automate scaling up or down with the current or anticipated load.

In some scenarios, Spot VMs could augment regular VMs to process production workloads. They utilize unused capacity in existing data center infrastructure and usually cost just a fraction of on-demand virtual machines. By taking advantage of existing infrastructure, leveraging Spot VMs reduces the the need for more hardware to run in data centers and ultimately reduces future energy consumption.

Data Storage

Consider what performance for data access is required, i.e. having different storage layers for fast and slower access.

Avoid duplication of data if possible and feasible.


Compression of payload data can reduce the load on network layers.


Observability can surface information on load and capacity of the system. If not already supported by the chosen services, consider to automate scaling down when resources are idle.

CI/CD Pipelines

CI/CD pipelines offer the capability to re-create an environment from scratch, and to deprovision the whole infrastructure if it is not in-use. Load test or staging environments are often not in use during the development cycle and could be deprovisioned after testing.

Developer environment

Turn off idle developer VMs and consider leveraging Spot VMs for non-production workloads.




Other resources

Last update: December 1, 2021