May 21, 2024

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The warfare in Ukraine and the resultant scarcity of pure fuel has compelled the European Union (EU) and European nations to proactively put together for the potential of extra unstable vitality provides—each this winter and past. Microsoft is working with clients, governments, and different stakeholders all through the area to deliver readability, continuity, and compliance within the face of potential energy-saving methods on the native and nationwide degree. In solidarity with Europe, the place even important providers are prone to be requested to search out vitality financial savings, we have now validated plans and contingencies in place to responsibly scale back vitality use in our operations throughout Europe, and we’ll accomplish that in a manner that minimizes threat to buyer workloads working within the Microsoft Cloud.

We need to share a number of the contingencies and mitigations that our groups have put in place to responsibly function our cloud providers.

Supporting grid stability by responsibly managing our vitality consumption

The ability that’s consumed by Microsoft from the utilities is primarily used to energy our community and servers, cooling techniques, and different datacenter operations. Now we have contingency plans to contribute to vitality grid stability, whereas working to make sure minimal disruption to our clients and their workloads, together with:

  1. The dimensions and distribution of the Microsoft datacenters offers us the power to reposition non-regional platform as a service (PaaS) providers, inner infrastructure, and lots of of our inner non-customer analysis and improvement (R&D) workloads to different close by areas, whereas nonetheless assembly our knowledge residency and EU Knowledge Boundary commitments.
  2. Actively working with native governments and huge organizations to carefully monitor and reply to energy consumption to make sure grid stability and minimal disruption to our clients’ vital workloads. We’re working with native utility suppliers to make sure our techniques are prepared for a variety of circumstances.
  3. Our datacenter areas are deliberate and constructed to resist grid emergencies. When wanted, we rapidly transition to backup energy sources to cut back affect on the grid with out impacting buyer workloads.

Resilient infrastructure funding

Microsoft is chargeable for offering our clients with a resilient basis within the Microsoft Cloud—in how it’s designed, operated, and monitored to make sure availability. We make appreciable investments within the platform itself—bodily issues like our datacenters, in addition to software program issues like our deployment and upkeep processes.

We attempt to offer our cloud-using clients with “five-nines” of service availability, which means that the datacenter is operational 99.999 % of the time. Nevertheless, understanding that service interruptions and failures occur for a myriad of causes, we construct techniques designed with failure in thoughts.

Now we have Azure Availability Zones (AZs) in each nation by which we function datacenter areas. AZ’s are comprised of a minimal of three zone places, every with impartial energy, cooling and networking, permitting clients to unfold their infrastructure and functions throughout discrete and dispersed datacenters for added resiliency and availability.

Battery backup and backup turbines are a further resiliency functionality we implement and are utilized throughout energy grid outages and different service interruptions so we are able to meet service ranges and operational reliability. Now we have contracted entry to extra gasoline provides to keep up generator operations, and we additionally maintain vital spares to keep up generator well being. We’re prepared to make use of backup turbines throughout Europe, when vital, to maintain our providers working in case of a severe grid emergency. 

Throughout our world infrastructure, it’s commonplace for us to work with a heightened operational consciousness, attributable to exterior elements. As an illustration, extreme winter climate occasions in Texas in 2021 induced substantial stress on the Texas vitality grid. Microsoft was in a position to take away its San Antonio datacenter from utilizing grid energy. Though Microsoft’s onsite substations had been designed with redundancy, we had been in a position to rapidly transition to our tertiary redundant techniques—turbines. These techniques saved the datacenters working, with zero affect to our cloud clients, whereas the utility grid may guarantee residential houses stayed heat. Throughout this occasion, we maintained 100 % uptime for our clients, whereas eradicating our workloads from the grid.

Resiliency suggestions for cloud architectures

This can be a difficult time for organizations monitoring the rising vitality considerations in Europe. We’re offering essential infrastructure for the communities the place we function, and our clients are relying on us to offer dependable cloud providers to run their vital workloads. We acknowledge the significance of continuity of service for our clients, together with these offering important providers: well being care suppliers, police and emergency responders, monetary establishments, producers of vital provides, grocery shops and well being companies. Organizations questioning what extra they’ll do to enhance the reliability of their functions, or questioning how they’ll scale back their very own vitality consumption, can contemplate the next:

  1. Clients who’ve availed themselves of excessive availability instruments, together with geo-redundancy, needs to be unaffected by impacts to a single datacenter area. For software program as a service (SaaS) providers like Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Energy Platform, the enterprise continuity and resiliency are managed by Microsoft. For Microsoft Azure, clients ought to all the time contemplate designing their Azure workloads with excessive availability in thoughts.

    We all the time encourage clients to have a Enterprise Continuity and Catastrophe Restoration (BCDR) plan in place as a part of the Microsoft Effectively-Architected Framework, which you’ll learn extra about. Clients who need to proactively migrate their Azure assets from one area to a different can accomplish that at any time. Learn how.

  2. On-premises clients can scale back their very own vitality consumption by shifting their functions, workloads, and databases to the cloud. The Microsoft Cloud may be as much as 93 % extra vitality environment friendly than conventional enterprise datacenters, relying on the particular comparability being made. Uncover extra right here. Begin your sustainability journey right now.
  3. Power use in our datacenters is pushed by buyer use. Clients can play an element in lowering vitality consumption by following inexperienced software program improvement pointers, together with shutting down unused server cases, and sustainable software design. Additional data accessible right here.

We proceed to enhance the vitality effectivity of our datacenters, in our ongoing dedication to make our world infrastructure extra sustainable and environment friendly. As nations and vitality suppliers contemplate choices to cut back their consumption of electrical energy within the occasion of an vitality capability scarcity, we’re working with grid operators on this evolving state of affairs. With the size, experience, and partnerships that we function, we’re assured that our threat mitigation actions will offset any potential disruption to our clients working their vital workloads within the cloud.

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