Cloud Considerations: Strategy, Services, and Infrastructure

Sustainable Tech Council Conversation

Jul 26, 2022 3:00 PM4:00 PM EDT

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Key Discussion Takeaways:

With the evolution of digital computing and data storage, many businesses have adopted cloud capabilities to simplify their processes. But, there are a lot of factors to consider when implementing these services. So, how can you maximize the full potential of the cloud to meet your business needs?

First, it’s essential to develop sustainable practices to comply with Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria. This requires analyzing the sustainability aspects of each cloud service provider (CSP) to regulate your carbon emissions and energy usage. Next, establish a strategy to optimize your cloud management and infrastructure to conform to your growth needs. By executing those approaches, you can generate a cost-effective business model.

In today’s virtual event, join Greg Irwin as he sits down with Jenny Haladik and Brendan Walsh of World Wide Technology to discuss implementing a sustainable and efficient cloud strategy. Together, they discuss the key considerations for transitioning to the cloud, how companies can adopt sustainable cloud practices, and best practices for optimizing cloud usage.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

 

  • What should businesses consider when transitioning to the cloud?
  • How companies can adopt sustainability in the cloud
  • Best practices and strategies for optimizing cloud usage
  • Tips for choosing the most sustainable cloud services provider (CSP)
  • The importance of prioritizing sustainability
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Event Partners

World Wide Technology

World Wide Technology (WWT), a global technology solution provider that designs, builds, demonstrates and deploys innovative technology products, integrated architectural solutions and transformational digital experiences for large public and private organizations around the globe.

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Guest Speaker

Jenny- Haladik

Jenny Haladik

Cloud Expense Management Practice Lead at WWT

Jenny Haladik is the Cloud Expense Management Practice Lead at World Wide Technology (WWT), an IT service management company that elevates innovative technologies and solutions for US Navy professionals. She has over 15 years of experience driving the alignment of sales and strategy with technology partnerships, offerings, and business transformations. Before WWT, Jenny was the Strategic Alliances Manager at Slalom.

Greg Irwin LinkedIn

Co-Founder, Co-CEO at BWG Strategy LLC

BWG Strategy is a research platform that provides market intelligence through Event Services, Business Development initiatives, and Market Research services. BWG hosts over 1,800 interactive executive strategy sessions (conference calls and in-person forums) annually that allow senior industry professionals across all sectors to debate fundamental business topics with peers, build brand awareness, gather market intelligence, network with customers/suppliers/partners, and pursue business development opportunities.

Brendan Walsh

Principal - ESG at World Wide Technology

Brendan Walsh is the Principal of ESG at World Wide Technology (WWT), a global technology services provider. In 2020, Brendan received a Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR) Certification from the GARP SCR program. He’s the Founder of ESG Risk Guard and previously worked as the Executive Vice President of Global Corporate Payments at American Express. Brendan holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Glasgow and a master’s in sustainability from Harvard.

Event Moderator

Jenny- Haladik

Jenny Haladik

Cloud Expense Management Practice Lead at WWT

Jenny Haladik is the Cloud Expense Management Practice Lead at World Wide Technology (WWT), an IT service management company that elevates innovative technologies and solutions for US Navy professionals. She has over 15 years of experience driving the alignment of sales and strategy with technology partnerships, offerings, and business transformations. Before WWT, Jenny was the Strategic Alliances Manager at Slalom.

Greg Irwin LinkedIn

Co-Founder, Co-CEO at BWG Strategy LLC

BWG Strategy is a research platform that provides market intelligence through Event Services, Business Development initiatives, and Market Research services. BWG hosts over 1,800 interactive executive strategy sessions (conference calls and in-person forums) annually that allow senior industry professionals across all sectors to debate fundamental business topics with peers, build brand awareness, gather market intelligence, network with customers/suppliers/partners, and pursue business development opportunities.

Brendan Walsh

Principal - ESG at World Wide Technology

Brendan Walsh is the Principal of ESG at World Wide Technology (WWT), a global technology services provider. In 2020, Brendan received a Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR) Certification from the GARP SCR program. He’s the Founder of ESG Risk Guard and previously worked as the Executive Vice President of Global Corporate Payments at American Express. Brendan holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Glasgow and a master’s in sustainability from Harvard.

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Discussion Transcription

Greg Irwin  0:18

My name is Greg Irwin when I had the opportunity to meet many of you before, so hello, everyone. Thanks. So thank you all for joining our monthly SCTC meeting, Sustainable Enterprise Technology Council meeting 19 of us here below everybody. We keep a regular pulse here on these following different aspects of sustainable enterprise tech today, our angle is cloud. It's a good piggyback on a session we did earlier today on AWS. We're going to be talking a little bit around sustainability around cloud here. And we're, you know, our CO hosts are Jenny Haladik. And, Brendan Walsh, over at WWT. But you know how I like to do things, certainly want to reserve a good portion of our time here to talk about how others are thinking about sustainability and carbon footprint as they move to cloud and our decisions around cloud. So that's, that's our angle today, in terms of what SCTC is, maybe it'll doesn't roll off your tongue. This is a council that we've created founding with, with WWT to really build awareness around practical best practices for improving the sustainability of enterprise tech. It could be everything from datacenter, from some of the obvious areas of cooling, as well as sourcing energy to maybe it's more tactical, maybe it's endpoints that you're choosing or technology you're choosing. Or maybe it's managing carbon credits, or different aspects of sustainability. All of it is fair game here. And it's really to create a working group a community, and to share best practices. A couple things I put here in the chat, our website, you can follow along there, check it out for information. And do me a favor. If you haven't already joined our LinkedIn, please join the LinkedIn group. It's an easy way just to sign up and get regular updates above and beyond the normal course of emails that that we're good at sending here from BWG. Let me take a moment. And Brendan, let I'd like for you to introduce yourself real quick. Then I'm gonna go over to Jenny and Jenny, have you introduce yourself and your practice. And we'll get into some of the details here of what you're seeing around cloud engagements with some of your clients. But Brendan, do us a favor. You've had a front and center position given give a quick intro to the group.

 

Brendan Walsh  2:51

So hi, good afternoon, everyone. Delighted to be here, Brendan Walsh from WWT. I've been with WWT now for coming up with the month and super excited to be here. Really, really excited about today's session. Because as you can imagine the cloud moving to the cloud is obviously a major strategic decision for organizations. But there's essentially like two dimensions of my perspective, two dimensions to it. There's the cost, dimension, and there's the sustainability, the carbon footprint they mentioned. So I think Jenny will give us a fabulous overview of you know, what she's seeing what she's hearing from customers of the WWT. So I'm really, really excited about that. Because as you are aware, there's lots of data, or let's say, sound bites that are thrown out there about companies can reduce their carbon footprint by between 30 and sometimes 90%. So we'd be interested in any perspectives on that if it's real, or if it's actually just moving a problem elsewhere. But with That's enough, from me, delighted to introduce my colleague, Jenny, from WWT at based in Colorado, Jenny. Let me turn it over to you and you can give an overview of your background.

 

Jenny Haladik  4:22

Great, thanks, Brendan. Great to meet everyone virtually. As mentioned, I'm Jenny Haladik based out of Denver, and I lead our cloud expense management practice for WWT. I previously came from Slalom consulting, where I oversaw you know, our cloud alliance partners to shape kind of, you know, that joint strategy and go to market there and have held you know, various positions of sales roles within the industry throughout my role. I joined World Wide roughly seven months ago, kind of at the point where they really had identified that cost optimization was kind of a hole in the portfolio that we were able to offer to clients. So the idea being that as part of our core class capabilities, we needed to be able to also focus on, you know, kind of the entire aspect of a client's cloud maturity journey. And to help ensure that, really, they're getting the most value and ROI out of their current cloud investments. So great to meet everyone.

 

Greg Irwin  5:15

Jenny, we're gonna touch on this here in a little bit. But how is sustainability play? In those conversations? Or in those priorities?

 

Jenny Haladik  5:24

Yeah, I mean, I think we're starting to see where it's a lot more top of mind for a lot of companies as how are they approaching the cloud? What are their own sustainability focuses from an organization perspective? You know, kind of what cloud should they be considering? I would say, it's probably first and foremost, much more of a financial kind of aspect of the conversation of, you know, how can I save money? You know, where, where should I be migrating my workloads to make sure that I'm meeting my business needs, but certainly sustainability is coming much more top of mind than it was previously. And looking at the impact of, you know, kind of how quickly do they need to move away from some of their data centers that they have today? They're expensive, certainly, when you consider costs from like, the lightning cooling, you know, kind of so on. But also, you know, it is certainly contributing to a company's carbon emissions. And, you know, they are looking to become much more carbon neutral and make that more of a priority from a purchasing perspective.

 

Greg Irwin  6:25

Let's do this, why don't why don't we spend the team 15 minutes and talk a little bit about what you're seeing, dig into some of the cloud initiatives. And, folks, as we go here, do me a favor, we got the chat window, it's incredibly effective in this kind of a format. So I'll ask everybody to share a question for, for the group. It doesn't have to be for Jenny, specifically, it could be for others. You know, what experiences are you seeing? You know, how do people think about this? Could we please talk about this other element? So long as we're somewhere within the realm of cloud? And in sustainability, it's all fair game. So please do me a favor, drop some good ideas into that into that chat? Jenny, let's get into it talking with you know, what I always like, in these conversations to ground ourselves with one one one project, one initiative, one experience with a with a customer, can you share with us one initiative that you're working through, and maybe we can talk about, like, how the clients thinking about it, how it plays in, maybe it's much more on cost? Tell us about one cloud initiatives that we can kind of, you know, kind of throw back and forth and, and use to kind of understand what's happening?

 

Jenny Haladik  7:52

Yeah, so I would say, have a big client that has grown pretty rapidly, both, you know, kind of organically and then also through acquisitions. So they did have a presence in the cloud. And we're trying to figure out ultimately, you know, kind of what is their cloud strategy from a best practice moving forward, but also really looking at, you know, kind of, as I had mentioned, like, the traditional data center, is, it's pretty high maintenance to oversee requires, you know, really uninterrupted power supplies, there's a ton of cooling needs that it requires. So that's a lot of electricity, and really contributing to both from a cost perspective, but also just a, you know, operational perspective, that's contributing to their carbon emissions, they have to maintain a team to help manage that. So you know, kind of looking at their strategy also, from a cloud benefits, both from a workplace and within the environment, and what else did they need to put into place for migration of additional workloads into the cloud? But really, also, you know, how would they make sure that they're optimizing their current cloud infrastructure? Across, they had basically Azure, Google and AWS? So how would they optimize that to help, you know, kind of decrease some of their own internal costs, and also, again, like those carbon emissions, that they needed to look at to say, you know, are we provisioned correctly in the cloud? Can we be you know, a little bit more nimble and help there? So that's typically how we're seeing a lot of these conversations with clients unfold is, you know, I have been told to move to cloud, I know that I need to get there. And I know why. And I know some of the impacts that will have but also, in the areas of my business that I have worked, move those workloads over. I don't understand my bills. This was supposed to not, you know, wasn't supposed to be a hit to the bottom line from a company perspective. And holy cow. I'm spending a bunch of money now.

 

Greg Irwin  9:50

Yeah. All right. So we know in these forums that I've been posting, I think we've seen a surge In cloud adoption, I'm particularly interested, as we see rising energy costs. And that I mean that that may hit these data centers front end. But to what extent is rising operational costs, moving people to the cloud? Or, you know, is it playing much of a factor?

 

Jenny Haladik  10:26

Yes, Greg, I think playing a great factor in I need to get there. And even even from a perspective of how do I manage what's in the cloud, making sure that their teams have an working understanding of you know, how an AWS environment or whatever the cloud provider looks like, understanding that environment. So they're really efficient across all aspects of their business.

 

Greg Irwin  10:51

I got it. Alright, so let's say ESG is a very high priority. And I want to move to the cloud. What am I going to do? What do you see your clients do? If that's if that is one of the key factors? Maybe there's a preferred cloud, maybe there's per region? Maybe there's, you know, you want to be in the Pacific Northwest to be near hydropower? What's What are some of the things you see people do? Who want to be?

 

Jenny Haladik  11:17

Yeah, I think getting an understanding of, you know, kind of what is the technology roadmap, from both across any of the cloud providers that aligns with my business? What is the overall greenness of how, as they are company, from a provider standpoint? How are they managing, you know, kind of their energy efficiencies? What does that look like? And then also, just from a practical standpoint, you know, if there's any investments that are running, you know, oh, 365, or whatever do I need to stay, I have a relationship with Microsoft that I stay there. So there's, I would say, it's a complex issue to really look at and just keep an understanding of, you know, kind of where are the workloads, then I need to make sure, I'm taking everything into consideration that I shouldn't be from this. So you know, most of the big three kind of cloud providers, you know, have all pledged to really decarbonize their, their own data centers that you're using from or a public cloud perspective, you know, but none of them have really entirely ditch fossil fuels yet. So, you know, to look at how they're cleaning up their carbon footprints, a lot of these companies are leaning pretty heavily on like a renewable energy credit, which is, you know, kind of a token that's representing a utility is green energy generation. So looking at, you know, kind of what are the renewable energy credits that Google and Microsoft are helping you claim from a data percenter perspective, you know, they're saying that they are powered 100% by renewables, but technically, they are still using some fossil fuels. So I think also sustainability is, you know, kind of the direction of, we're using this as a core tenet of how we're making decisions from a technology perspective, understanding, you know, kind of a company's thought process on for overall energy, efficiency, transparency from, you know, what are they sharing that they're putting in place to build out and make themselves, you know, carbon neutral, moving forward? And just prioritizing that and weighing it with, you know, what makes the most sense for your company also.

 

Greg Irwin  13:20

Can I ask, maybe there's a simple answer, do any of the major three, hyper scalars are any of the three, you know, more forward thinking, carry a better carbon footprint than the others?

 

Jenny Haladik  13:39

I would say, it's complicated, but probably, you know, Google has very much heavily invested in this, and I think it's seeing of its oil and gas division that it started, and really what they're focused from a sustainability, they're trying to use that to make sure that they're really differentiating their Google Cloud within the industry. So quickly, you know, kind of an energy efficiency greenness perspective, they are ranked probably the highest of the three major CSPs. Microsoft closely behind AWS, I think, has not been quite as forthcoming with, you know, kind of what their strategy is, but it's also certainly, you know, very much kind of top of mind for them as well.

 

Greg Irwin  14:23

Got it. Got it. And, again, quite obvious, but if I have a data center, and I'm running it reasonably well, you know, I'm not I'm not a relatively professional enterprise datacenter. And I take it and I lifted and shifted and I move it to, let's say, Google, should I expect a carbon footprint improvement in taking it off of what I'm doing and moving into a hyperscalers. That's a preconceived notion that they're going to run more efficient.

 

Jenny Haladik  14:55

But I do think it's true just based on the scale of how they're able to manage that. So you know, you kind of get a benefit from a sustainability standpoint in the fact that this is, you know, they're running this for many, many companies, so you're not building out your own specific that, you know, they have the best technology. As far as heating and cooling, Microsoft is looking at how can they build out data centers, you know, on ocean floor to help with that. So they're really, I would say, bringing the best of breed from a technology standpoint, to their data centers to help really maximize the impact there.

 

Greg Irwin  15:27

Jenny, um, this is the FCTC group. But we're definitely interested in what people are doing with with Cloud strategies, simplifying, consolidating. What what are some of the key innovations, that, that you're seeing? Maybe it's specific to sustainability. But let's talk about some of the some of the innovations that you're pushing with clients,

 

Jenny Haladik  15:49

I would say I mean, just based on kind of the nature of the practice that I mean, we see much more of a focus around, you know, I need to implement a finaps strategy, and I need some help understanding that. So it's probably it is tends to be much more of a financial based conversation of, you know, really from an organization, how are you, you know, you've, you've either identified that you need to move towards the cloud, you're trying to figure out, you know, what is the best for your business? You know, there's security concerns, there's ESG, concerns that there's a bunch of things to take into account when you're really putting in place, you know, what are some best practices from a strategy standpoint, with cloud and other technologies that I can use. So what we typically see in the clients I'm speaking to are, you know, they're, they've already started this journey, they do have some workloads in the cloud, and they're really wanting to make sure that they're monitoring, you know, their current cloud environment to make sure that they're not over provisioning and their resources, you know, they're not running a bunch of workloads after hours. Again, how do they kind of optimize their cloud usage, and really make sure that their infrastructure is, you know, kind of scalable to where the business needs are. And that's not a one time set it and forget it, something, it's a superfluid, it's an iterative practice of, you know, looking at your cloud, as a business tool that organizations are using, you know, requires finance to be involved and requires engineering to be involved DevOps, I mean, there's many groups within an organization that are touching cloud, and how can we help them, you know, really, to track forecasts and budgets, some of their cloud usage, and then make, you know, make sure that their infrastructure that they have in places, you know, kind of following some a well architected practice, from a worldwide standpoint,

 

Greg Irwin  17:43

how efficient are they typically, because I'm hearing this and I get it their opportunity, somebody's running 24/7, and then maybe a pair pack, maybe that's an easy win, maybe 30 servers, you need 10? What is the typical efficiency or inefficiency that you're paying?

 

Jenny Haladik  17:59

Well, from a cost savings, specifically, we usually can go in and help them save 25 to 40% on their cloud bill. So I would say there's very much room for improvement, even when a company thinks that they're somewhat efficient. I mean, there's, again, it's especially if you've grown quickly, you know, a lot of companies, you see where, from a cloud perspective, they've either done a lift and shift migration. So you know, the cloud architecture that they have in place today is not provisioned correctly for, you know, kind of the needs of the cloud and the scalability, you know, what regions are in, they've gotten away from a governance structure. So they have different business units, just spinning up clouds, accounts, willy nilly, from a tagging strategy, so that a company can really look at, you know, what are they doing from a chargeback and show backs across the organization to really help track their cloud usage and look at, you know, kind of specific projects or other applications that they should be moving to the cloud, walking through just what are some best practices there and making sure that they're able to see the granularity of data, and it's actionable data based on that kind of information. And then, you know, again, if they were kind of an on prem model, that doesn't work for a company that's trying to become cloud first.

 

Greg Irwin  19:22

It's pretty simple. But the best way to improve your carbon efficiency and cost is simply run more efficiently. You know, turns out if you can save 25% of your environment 25% of your cost. That's, that's huge.

 

Jenny Haladik  19:37

Yeah, you're right. And the impacts that does have on you know, kind of the overall ESG focus is pretty impactful, too.

 

Greg Irwin  19:44

Yeah. I'm excellent. Jenny, thank you very much. Stay involved. Let's let's go over to Brendan here for a minute. On Brendan. Let's let's get you back in and talk about your your sense of cloud considerations from a from a strategic perspective. We have had some good points in the chat. And I know you're coming with some of your please, please jump in with some of your core thoughts around finding sustainability?

 

Brendan Walsh  20:10

Well, I difficult add to what Jenny just covered. But really like the two factors that we're seeing certainly cost as the front and center. But as Jenny alluded to, sustainability is coming up. They're hard and fast, as it's, you know, rising up through the board agenda. So those two considerations, or, let's say, front and center, but in addition to that, what we see is, you know, and we hear lots of questions about just understanding how sustainable is one solution versus another solution? And isn't really the case that, you know, Cloud is always more sustainable then, than any other solution. So lots of questions of that, you know, type of order, it just understanding exactly what's happening with the actual cloud provider, Jenny, touched on this. But that's it, you can actually Google this to see. But there's actually a ranking system that's been put out there. I think it was q4 last year, or q1 this year, and the Bisland ranks, you know, Google, Microsoft, and AWS, giving Google a B plus in Microsoft and B, and AWS and C minus, interestingly, from the perspective of being sustainable in terms of how they provision their cloud services. So that raises lots of questions in terms of Well, what's behind that ranking system, clearly is driven by a lot of is driven by the how they source their energy. And in the case of Google, as Jenny also touched upon, a lot of their energy is a renewable energy source. So that clearly gives them significant, you know, advantages from a positioning perspective. So those would be the like, the key considerations.

 

Greg Irwin  22:21

You know, we had a good question here. The the cloud providers show their end to end sustainability, do they present it? Is there any way that you can get a good look at it?

 

Brendan Walsh  22:32

Like question for me, Greg. Yeah, yeah, I have. So again, it's another question that comes up quite often, the answer is no, there is no easily available, easily acceptable, side by side comparison, that you can see our case, like a credit report, for example, we have a credit rating from a company that is just the closest I found, is this ranking, a rating system of the top three, based on their being green in the marketplace? Yeah.

 

Greg Irwin  23:14

Yeah, Brendan. I had one question. It's maybe maybe this is quite obvious. But in this current environment, we're worried about recession. We're worried about inflation, we're worried about the macro. And the real concern is that sustainability is deprioritize in place of cost, which always is king. But then, you know, just business operations. Now, obviously, you know, high gas prices, high energy costs, would, you know, could could the two could go hand in hand, in terms of driving efficiency, but I'm wondering, have you seen this or any real? Is this a real factor coming to play? And then to what do you see some companies doing about it, to try and make sure that it stays top of mind remains a priority given it is a long term initiative.

 

Brendan Walsh  24:16

Fabulous and very topical, very current question, Greg. I think, you know, everyone in business is very much focused on the bottom weighing in financially and more. So today, probably then in a long time, given that inflation is running 9.2, 9.3% and even higher, actually in Europe, as So, cost is clearly, you know, top of mind for people. However, I think people there are several organizations that are looking at the move towards being more sustainable. As you know, Over time, not a cost reduction exercise. So if they can move to cloud, and as Jenny said, We'd start to reduce the costs. And then if they're already in the cloud, then having a second opinion and being able to reduce expenses by 25 to 30%, that's very, very meaningful for a lot of these providers. So I think they're, it's a mixed bag in terms of what you see out there. But the real prudence, you know, companies are looking at keeping their eye on both at the same time, clearly, cost bottom line is not Parliament right now. But they're not taking their eye off the ball from an ESG perspective.

 

Jenny Haladik  25:48

I would agree. I mean, I think we see a lot of times where organizations are, you know, kind of expected to start putting their money where their mouth is, and that doesn't necessarily, you know, certainly by prioritizing sustainability, you can see operational improvements. So, you know, that does help direct to their cash flows to0.

 

Greg Irwin  26:06

We're a couple minutes away from wrapping. Let me go to Brendan, for a couple of closing comments, Jenny, a couple of closing comments, and then I'll just do some housekeeping. But Brandon, please jump in with a couple closing comments.

 

Brendan Walsh  26:18

Again. Thanks, Greg. And first of all, thank you to Jenny. And thank you to everyone for the level of engagement, the level of engagement, the questions in the chat, the comments, the feedback has been really superb. It's been it's been quite outstanding. Totally agree that our session is more than turned covering policy, we should just determine in advance what aspects of policy is energy policy, storage policy, et cetera, et cetera. But fabulous session. Thanks, everyone.

 

Greg Irwin  26:53

Thanks, Jenny. Close closing comment.

 

Jenny Haladik  26:55

Yeah, great. Great to meet everyone. Thanks for inviting me to have a conversation with the group today. But I think that hopefully, you know, I think more to come on the benefits of sustainability and in cloud optimization.

 

Greg Irwin  27:10

Yeah, I think one key point is, you know, cost savings, efficiency and sustainability all really go hand in hand. You can achieve multiple goals, any of the routes. For SCTC, let me remind you, it's a community we're looking to build. Join the LinkedIn group if you haven't already. Reach out across this group and make personal connections. And please, if you know of somebody, a colleague or a friend that you think would benefit or benefit the community, do us a favor, please help make that connection. We want to build so I'll ask everybody here to make a personal effort, make one new connection, introduce one new connection to this community, and we're going to continue to build with that I want to thank you all for joining and sharing and everybody. Have a great day.

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