The Role of Renewable Energy Sources, such as Wind and Solar, in Powering Data Centres

Data centres play a crucial role in digital business operations, but their increasing energy demand raises concerns. They currently account for about 2% of US electricity consumption, with projections of further growth. To address their environmental impact, data centres need sustainable energy solutions.

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar power offer viable alternatives to fossil fuels. Learn how integrating these clean energy sources helps data centres reduce emissions, tackle energy challenges, and create a sustainable future.

The Integration of Wind and Solar Power in AWS Data Centres
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a top provider of cloud computing services. Its extensive network of global data centres supports various industries like e-commerce, healthcare, and finance. The scale of AWS data centres is immense, demanding substantial energy to ensure continuous operations and meet the increasing demand for cloud services.

AWS is committed to integrating renewable energy sources into its data centre operations, aiming to power its infrastructure with 100% renewable energy by 2025. The company has bought 10.9 gigawatts of clean wind and solar power to reduce its data centre energy consumption, prioritising sustainable energy solutions for a greener future.

Utilisation of Wind Power
AWS currently has 164 wind and solar farms dedicated to powering their data centres. They strategically select wind farm locations based on wind resources and proximity to data centres, enabling direct access to clean and abundant wind energy.

Harnessing Solar Energy
To maximize their clean energy usage, AWS has constructed 237 on-site solar facilities to generate power for their data centres. Solar power offers abundant availability and scalability. However, limitations include sunlight intermittency and space requirements for installations. AWS continues to explore innovative solar initiatives to maximise renewable resource utilisation.

Environmental Impact and Benefits
Integrating renewable energy sources in AWS data centres has brought about several environmental benefits, including:

Reduction in Carbon Footprint
Renewable energy sources in AWS data centres reduce carbon emissions, combating climate change. Amazon also only uses 100% recycled content rather than steel or concrete for new data centre construction to reduce embodied carbon by 70%.

Energy Efficiency Improvements
Renewable energy adoption improves energy efficiency, minimising waste and lowering operational costs in AWS data centres. AWS’s Graviton3-based Elastic Compute Cloud consumes 60% less energy than other cloud server resources.

Revolutionising Data Centres: Empowering the Future with Renewable Energy
As renewable energy adoption rises in data centres, organisations face infrastructure challenges. Overcoming limitations like grid connectivity and energy storage requires innovative approaches and technological advancements to invest in sustainable solutions.

WOLK Technology is an AWS Well-Architected Program partner and your go-to resource for tailored IT solutions that can revolutionise your business. Contact us to help you achieve energy efficiency and adopt green technologies.

AWS’s Commitment to Sustainability and Reducing its Carbon Footprint

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most used cloud service provider, with a market share of 32% as of Q1 2023. Because AWS is a critical part of Amazon’s services and infrastructures, it is bound to the company’s Climate Pledge, a commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Learn how AWS achieves sustainability and reduces carbon emissions and why sustainability in the cloud matters.

The AWS Renewable Energy Initiatives
Amazon is committed to renewable energy projects and investing in clean power sources to help AWS achieve its net-zero objectives. There are three major ways Amazon addresses sustainability and ensures AWS reaches full carbon neutrality:

1. Amazon’s investments in green energy include wind farms and solar farms. The company currently operates 164 full-scale wind and solar power facilities and over 200 rooftop solar facilities. In 2022, Amazon became the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power.
2. Another sustainability investment is renewable energy Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). A PPA is a long-term agreement between a power producer and a buyer to purchase electricity directly from the producer at reduced rates. Amazon’s PPAs are expected to help it cover 100% of its operations with renewable energy by 2025.
3. Amazon actively participates in carbon offsetting and reduction programs to further eliminate carbon emissions from its operational workflows, from industry partnerships to operating fleets of electric vehicles.

How AWS Optimises the Efficiency of its Data Centers
In addition to ensuring Amazon uses as many renewable and carbon-neutral power sources as possible, AWS hardware and infrastructure benefit from the latest innovations to improve energy efficiency.

AWS energy efficiency innovations are divided into three distinct categories: power-efficient hardware, cooling efficiency, and performance prediction technologies.

Power-efficient hardware: AWS-designed general-purpose processors such as the Graviton3 are designed to offer 25% more performance than their predecessors while using up to 60% less energy than non-Graviton equivalents.
Cooling efficiency: AWS’s latest data centre technologies use upgraded cooling systems, reducing energy usage by 20% compared to previous-generation equivalents.
Performance prediction: Amazon uses both simulated and real-time performance modelling tools to understand how their data centres use energy and how to optimise their power consumption further.

The Benefits of Sustainable Cloud Computing
Choosing AWS as your cloud service provider is an excellent way to make your organisation greener and more sustainable. According to a 2019 451 Research study, moving to AWS reduces an enterprise’s carbon footprint by 72% on average.

AWS also provides organisations and businesses with fully scalable cloud infrastructure, ensuring you can scale your operations and optimise resource utilisation as needed. In turn, scalability lets you limit energy and resource consumption, reducing carbon emissions further.

Become an AWS Sustainability Compliant Organisation with WOLK
WOLK Technology is an experienced AWS Partner with the resources to help your business comply with the pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. Contact us today for a review of your business’s sustainability.

Best Practices for Securing Remote Work and Enabling Collaboration with AWS

Amazon Web Services (AWS) lets businesses and organisations access their data safely from any location. Whether you run a small or medium business or a larger organisation, AWS offers remote work services to boost productivity without compromising security.

Following these best practices is essential to maintaining security and collaborating with team members efficiently.

Follow the Best Practices of AWS Cloud Security
Many businesses rely on incomplete security solutions that leave their business data vulnerable to the challenges of remote work and cloud collaboration tools, such as data breaches, unauthorised access, and insecure endpoints. The first step for your business is implementing a comprehensive cloud security strategy with AWS.

Consider enabling and configuring AWS security controls through relevant AWS services, such as Amazon GuardDuty, AWS Config, and AWS CloudFormation. These tools are designed to let you build a security strategy tailored to your business’s cloud environment and protect data integrity, availability, and confidentiality. Some security controls to enhance your cloud security include multi-factor authentication (MFA), sensitive data encryption, and real-time audits of account activity.

Create a Remote Work Policy
While AWS cloud services are designed with remote work in mind, each organisation has different security needs. Set clear, easy-to-understand rules regarding remote data access and management and ensure employees follow your policy as closely as possible.

Common examples of remote work policy items include:

● Whether employees must use company-issued devices or are allowed to use personal devices for remote work
● Which types of data employees access when using personal devices
● What types of non-work applications, programs, and software employees may install on the devices they use for remote work

If an employee or team member finds evidence of a possible data breach, provide them with a way to contact the IT team or send reports quickly and efficiently.

Adopt the Zero Trust Security Model
Amazon’s Zero Trust security model makes remote work and collaboration safer. With AWS Zero Trust, all users and systems must individually prove their identity and credentials with advanced authentication rules.

This system ensures the same level of security regardless of the access point. Whether a person from inside or outside the company network wants access to your business data, the Zero Trust model keeps it safe from unauthorised users.

Additional best practices supporting the Zero Trust model include:

● Encrypting the most sensitive data using AWS Key Management Service (KMS)
● Implementing AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to specify who can access which data, services, and resources
● Using AWS Verified Access to provide employees and team members with secure remote access even without a VPN

Why You Can Trust WOLK
WOLK Technology is a leading services provider and an expert in the AWS Well-Architected Framework. Contact us today to learn how we can help make your work environment safer and more flexible.

Importance of Reliability for Cloud Services

For any business using cloud computing to operate, reliability is crucial. Malfunctioning or poorly built apps, programs, and other software can lead to a loss of productivity. This can have a knock-on effect, resulting in reduced profits and a diminished reputation among consumers.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) uses a five-pillar Well-Architected framework to help businesses develop cloud-based workloads.

The Third Pillar: Reliability
The reliability pillar uses its five design principles to help businesses create workloads that can perform optimally and consistently throughout their entire lifecycle. These design principles lay the foundations for reliable cloud services.

Automatically Recover from Failure
Every company should set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor the effectiveness of each system. If kept in line with the goals of the business, KPIs can quickly determine if there is a problem with a particular workload.

You can put AWS systems in place to engage automatic recovery processes if failures occur. While the reliability of software is important, reliable recovery systems are vital.

Test Recovery Procedures
In many scenarios, businesses don’t use testing for recovery strategies. With AWS, you can test areas of failure within a workload before deciding on the best recovery procedures to adopt. By realising potential problems, you can test and resolve them before a genuine failure scenario happens.

Scale Horizontally to Increase Aggregate Workload Availability
Horizontal scaling involves replacing a large singular resource with several smaller ones. This makes individual workload failures less impactful. With no common point of failure, each system is more reliable.

Stop Guessing Capacity
Over demanding from workloads is a frequent cause of failure. Through AWS systems, businesses can closely monitor the correlation between workload demands and the optimal utilisation of resources. This limits over or under capacitation, resulting in more reliable workloads.

Manage Change in Automation
Automated processes can be tracked, monitored, and reviewed, increasing their reliability. Adjustments are quicker and easier to make than with manual-based systems.

Best Practice Areas for Reliability
In the AWS framework, there are four best practice areas for reliability. From establishing reliable foundations through installing adequate network bandwidth to implementing fast and effective failure management and recovery systems, best practices are essential for reliable cloud services.

The four best practice areas are:

● Foundations
● Workload Architecture
● Change Management
● Failure Management

Increase the Reliability of Your Cloud Services With AWS
At WOLK, we can help you engage with the AWS reliability pillar design principles and best practices to create reliable systems and workloads. Our expert team is a certified AWS Well-Architected Framework review provider so we can guide you through the process from start to finish.

Contact WOLK today to arrange a review.

The Best 6 Ways to Secure Your Business Information

AWS’s Well-Architected Framework offers comprehensive cloud computing services to businesses through its five pillars.

The second pillar, Security, contains methods for protecting company data, operational systems, and assets through cloud technologies. By utilising the Security pillar’s design principles and best practices, businesses can effectively secure their information with minimal risk.

Security Pillar Design Principles

AWS developed seven design principles to help shape the framework:

1. Create a clear identity foundation
2. Enable traceability across all systems
3. Apply security measures at all system layers (e.g. on all systems, applications, codes etc.)
4. Automate security where possible
5. Protect data in storage and during transfers
6. Eliminate the human role in processing data where possible
7. Prepare for security incidents

Ways to Secure Business Information Through AWS

1. Employ the Best in Practice Security Services

Use AWS services to ensure all aspects of your business information are protected as much as possible. Staying up to date with the latest technologies and recommendations helps keep your intelligence threat level low. Automation, testing, and evaluation provide opportunities to scale.

2. Identity and Access Management

Identity and access management are critical in securing important business information. It makes sure that only authenticated employees can gain access to certain data. This can be managed through an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) service.

3. Detection Technology

AWS detection technology, such as CloudTrail logs, allows for processing and auditing various systems, meaning you can detect security breaches or information security threats early.

Log management is key in maintaining a Well-Architected workload, particularly if a security incident occurs. Logs can be analysed and acted on in such scenarios.

4. Infrastructure Protection

Infrastructure protection refers to information security on the cloud and on-premises. It involves AWS native or AWS integrated services that protect, monitor, and log information from points of ingress and egress linked to sensitive business information.

5. Data Protection

Before you can develop any architectural system, fundamental data protection measures should be in place. AWS services can then be used to make data encryption easier, adding further protection.

6. Incident Response

No matter how comprehensive your security systems may be, you should always have an incident response plan in place in case of a security issue. Your company can implement AWS systems to create a fast and effective incident response function.

Tools such as AWS CloudFormation allow you to write or change AWS resources in a safe environment, keeping your information safe.

Act Early to Protect Your Information

As a partner of the AWS Well-Architected Review Program, WOLK can help your business to implement a strong security plan. As a credited reviewer, we can advise you on best practices and services to suit your specific business. Contact us today to arrange a review.

The Ultimate Guide to Enhancing Performance Efficiency

The AWS Well-Architected Framework uses the premise of five operational pillars, Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency, and Cost Optimisation. The AWS secure cloud services platform provides data storage, content delivery and compute power, among other services that benefit workloads. Using AWS, you can host applications in the cloud and deliver efficient, exciting websites to clients.

The Fourth Pillar
The Performance Efficiency pillar is the fourth pillar of the Well-Architected Framework, and it focuses on the proper allocation of resources to meet system requirements as changes occur.

To understand how to distribute resources for the optimal system response, it’s necessary to understand how the AWS Well-Architected framework functions. Knowledge of the other pillars, particularly Reliability and Cost Optimisation, will be exceptionally helpful in determining how you can use your resources most efficiently.

Improving Performance Efficiency With AWS
To maximise your workload’s performance efficiency using AWS, you must constantly review your selections because of the ever-changing nature of the cloud and newly available features.

To enhance efficiency in the cloud, there are five design principles you can follow:

● Global Deployment
When you deploy your workload to various AWS regions across the globe, you can decrease latency levels and minimise costs for maximum efficiency.

● Make it Accessible
You can make life easier for your team by assigning complex tasks to the cloud vendor instead. The technologies in the cloud become services for your team so they can direct their efforts to develop products.

● Make Use of Serverless Architectures
Going virtual means you no longer have to run and maintain a physical server in one location. Static websites and event services can host your system code, reducing the human power required for the system and minimising expenses.

● Experiment Frequently
Using various types of storage, configurations, and instances, you can execute the system’s frequent testing to see how the workload responds to change, allowing you to plan ahead. Virtual and automated resources make this flexibility possible.

● Understand Cloud Consumption
Having a working knowledge of how cloud content is consumed will help you make more informed decisions that don’t compromise efficiency. When you have knowledge of certain system aspects, you can apply that to your selections to increase storage capability or network function.

Work With a Certified AWS Partner
WOLK is a proud partner of the AWS Well-Architected Framework and is certified to perform system inspections. Using our feedback, you can find out where your system is most vulnerable and make decisions to improve its performance efficiency.

Contact us today to schedule an initial review and learn how you can improve your business with AWS.

Using Carbon Footprint Tools for AWS Sustainability

First announced in December 2021 alongside Sustainability as the sixth pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework, Amazon released the Customer Carbon Footprint Tool in March 2022. This data dashboard helps businesses relying on Amazon Web Services better understand the environmental impact of their workload.

Here’s how the tool works and how it helps you improve compliance with AWS Sustainability standards.

Background Information

The Carbon Footprint Tool’s primary purpose is to help customers visualise the MTCO2e (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions generated by their usage of AWS services and make each customer an active element in reducing worldwide emissions and the overall environmental impact of cloud computing.

What the Tool Displays

The Carbon Footprint Tool is a free tool available to customers in the AWS Billing Console, under Cost & Usage Reports. It functions like other data dashboards, allowing you to set start and end dates and display data relevant to the selected period.

The carbon emissions data displayed are Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, as defined by the EPA. The data used is fully compliant with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, an international standard system for reporting emissions of greenhouse gases, such as CO2.

After setting your start and end month, the data displayed is broken down into the following sections and categories:

● Carbon emissions summary
This section displays your estimated AWS usage carbon emissions and how many MTCO2e emissions you saved using AWS over local hosting. It provides a quick, at-a-glance number that helps visualise the effectiveness and sustainability of AWS services.

● Emission savings summary
This section further breaks down your total AWS emissions savings into two categories: savings from using AWS computing services and AWS renewable energy purchases.

● Emissions by geography
This section shows a pie chart with your emissions in three geographic areas: APAC (Asia-pacific), EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), and AMER (Americas).

● Emissions by services
This section lists the AWS services utilised (EC2, S3, etc.) and the emissions produced per service. It can help you understand which services consume the most energy and give you clues on how to optimise your resource consumption.

● Emissions graphs
The second half of the dashboard comprises two emissions graphs:

● A timeline graph of your carbon emissions month per month, with settings to see your emissions quarter-by-quarter and year-by-year
● A graph showing the projected progress to 100% renewable energy based on your current consumption.

Become Fully Sustainable With an AWS Partner
At WOLK Technology, our role is to help you transition to the cloud efficiently and ensure your data’s safety, operational excellence, and sustainability. Contact one of our experts today to learn more about AWS sustainability compliance.

How AWS Can Help you Deliver the Best Value for the Lowest Price Point

The AWS Well-Architected Framework is designed to give you a consistent way to apply design and architectures that can evolve with you and your organisation. Through the use of five pillars, AWS is dedicated to maximising efficiency and keeping your costs at a minimum so your business can perform at its best.

Five Pillars of AWS and Your Money
The five pillars of AWS are designed to give you the best value for your money. They are a solid foundation for stable growth as you build your cloud-based system. Cost optimisation is the pillar that ensures you get back what you put into AWS.

Operational excellence refers to supporting the development and running workloads with efficiency. Operation can be optimised through organisation, preparation, and evolution of the system once mistakes are recognised.

Security requires that we protect assets, systems, and information in the cloud. With real-time detection, infrastructure and data protection, and incident response, you can solve security problems before impacting your clients. Investing in security now will save you time and money later.

Reliability is vital to maintaining the lowest possible costs. With a workload performing its function correctly, as expected, it is easy to anticipate values that will come in and go out. The workload needs to evolve and self-repair when failure is detected to maximise its value.

As demands change and evolve, your performance efficiency must adapt too. Understanding the computing resources available and using them to best meet system requirements is a concrete way to receive back the value that you are putting into AWS.

Cost optimisation is the main area where you can ensure you receive the best value for the lowest price point with AWS.

Cost Optimisation
There are five best practices for cost optimisation with AWS that will assist in maximising your costs. Practising Cloud Financial Management, being aware of expenditure and usage, using cost-effective resources, managing demand and supply resources, and optimising over time are the actions that should be taken for cost optimisation to be successful.

Cost-effective resources have a positive economic impact and can reduce overhead costs through efficiency. Moving to the cloud, you are only incurring the necessary expenses. By tailoring your resources to match the workload, you are eliminating the tendency for wasteful spending.

Reviewing your architecture over time allows you to optimise continually. The cloud is ever-changing, and there are always new technologies to examine and see how they align with your needs.

Schedule a Review
WOLK is a leading partner of the AWS Well-Architected Program and is certified to perform reviews. An inspection can give you insight into the high-risk areas of your system so that we can begin working to resolve them. Staying up to date on your reviews is the most effective way to make sure you’re still benefiting from cost optimisation within your system.

6 Ways AWS Can Help You Evaluate and Manage New System Costs

The fifth pillar of AWS is cost optimisation which focuses on ensuring you don’t spend more than you need to. This principle also applies to cost analyses of new services.

Choosing the correct service can make a significant difference in your overall costs. Amazon offers many services at varying price points that can increase your reliability and performance efficiency, improve your security and help you achieve operational excellence.

However, it’s essential to ensure achieving the first four pillars doesn’t overwhelm your budget. The Well-Architected Framework has six best practices that can help you evaluate new services for cost and efficiency.

1. Identify Organisation Requirements
You should identify your organisation’s requirements for each of the five pillars of the Well-Architected Framework. Work with your team members in product management, applications, development and operations, management and finance.

Determine what your requirements are in terms of each pillar, weighing them to find the balance between cost and the other pillars.

2. Break Down Your Workload
Break down your workload into components and analyse the cost and importance of each one individually. Include all parts, even the small or old ones.

Prioritise your components by cost and importance to prepare for the analysis.

3. Analyse The Components
Work your way down the list of components, only moving on after you have completed a thorough analysis.

For the high priority components, also analyse the options that could improve them. Determine how much they would cost, how much they would benefit the component, and what their long-term impact would be.

For lower priority components, determine what if any improvements you could implement, and if those improvements would push the component into the high priority category.

4. Find Cost-Effective Licensing
First, look into open-source software to eliminate licensing costs. Amazon has several options, like Amazon Linux or Amazon Aurora. If you can’t find appropriate open-source software, choose software bound to output or outcomes. Instead of paying per CPU, you will only be paying for what you use.

Check the historical prices of the provider to see if they regularly increase or have remained stable. You want to ensure that this software will stay within your budget in the future.

5. Select Your Components
Once you’ve finished analysing, you can select your components. Be sure to prioritise the cost analysis when making your final choices.

6. Perform Cost Analysis
Regularly perform a cost analysis of your workload, since it can change over time.

As your workload grows, you might want to bring on more managed services like Amazon RDS or Amazon DynamoDB that will reduce your overhead and enable you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Work With an AWS Partner
If you want help analysing services, an AWS Partner like WOLK can help you with your cost analysis and ensure your company is compliant with the Well-Architected Framework.

How to Improve Awareness of Expenditures and Usage with AWS

The fifth pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework is cost optimisation, which is about lowering your price point.

Working in the cloud gives you more flexibility and creates more opportunities for innovation. You no longer need to manually research new hardware, purchase new hardware, schedule shipments, or process shipping orders. You can create systems to do all of that automatically.

However, the way you monitor expenditures and usages will have to change. Several AWS programs can help you improve your awareness and monitor your expenses and usage.

Accurate Cost Attribution
You need to know the exact cost of each department or product owner. This knowledge will give you insight into which products are more profitable, and which are losing money.

Use AWS Organisations or AWS Control Tower to separate your teams and products by costs and usage. These programs have several organisational options, including tagging to enable sorting by category, team name, business name, or other information.

Cost Attribution Categories
You want to create organisation categories and functional categories to sort your costs.

To determine your organisation categories, meet with your stakeholders and follow your existing organisational structure. You might want to include topics like budget, department, or business unit.

The functional categories might include topics like your workload name, and areas of focus in the business (production, shipping, etc.).

There is no limit to the number of categories one item can have. Be as detailed as possible when defining your categories.

Establish Organisational Metrics
You should clearly state what the workload outcomes are. Use business outcomes to determine the metrics. For example, the number of web pages served to customers could be a workload metric.

If your workload is large or complicated, consider breaking your metrics down for each component.

Billing and Cost Management Tools
AWS provides several tools that aid in billing and cost management. Train representatives of each team that works with an application in AWS Budgets and AWS Cost Explorer.

Use Workload Metrics
Use your workload metrics to allocate your costs. You can use Amazon Athena to create an efficiency dashboard, making it easy to evaluate your cost efficiency regularly.

Consult an AWS Partner
If you are new to AWS or want to confirm that you are following all the guidelines, a Well-Architected Review can help. WOLK is an experienced long-term AWS Partner and can check for high-risk items and mitigate them for you to ensure you’re operating as efficiently as possible.