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AWS commits to becoming the ‘cleanest’ cloud to run enterprise workloads

AWS CEO Adam Selipsky used the opening keynote at this year’s Re:Invent partner and customer conference in Las Vegas to outline the company’s commitment to becoming the greenest place for enterprises to run their IT and applications

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is on a mission to make its cloud the “cleanest and most energy-efficient way” for enterprises to run all of their IT infrastructure and applications, according to the company’s CEO, Adam Selipsky.

He made the declaration during the opening keynote at this year’s AWS Re:Invent partner and customer conference in Las Vegas by outlining the public cloud giant’s commitment to “building sustainability into everything” it does.

“We are determined to be inventive and relentless, as we work to make the cloud the cleanest and the most energy-efficient way to run all of your infrastructure and your business,” said Selipsky.

“We have the largest community of customers and partners, and we have the opportunity to see more and more business challenges and more new ways of looking at problems, and also the global impact of regulation and emerging trends.”

AWS has previously come under fire on multiple occasions for lagging behind its public cloud rivals, such as Microsoft and Google, in terms of the action it is taking to minimise the environmental impact of its growing datacentre footprint.

Much of that criticism has come from environmental lobbying group Greenpeace, which has previously taken issue with how AWS has powered its datacentres, claiming that the expansion of its server farms in the US state of Virginia has contributed to an uptick in demand for fossil fuels. This is a claim that AWS has vehemently denied.

In recent years, the company has made a concerted effort to promote its cloud as a more environmentally friendly place for enterprises to run their applications and workloads, when compared to hosting them in private, on-premise datacentres.

For instance, it published data in November 2021 – compiled with the help of IT market watcher 451 Research – that claimed European enterprises could cut their energy usage by close to 80% by ditching their private datacentres and running their IT operations in the cloud.

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During the Re:Invent keynote, Selipsky claimed that Amazon is now the “world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy” and on course to hit its target of powering its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025.

“We’re already over 85% of the way there and we’re also investing,” he said. “So, please, everyone get involved. [Climate change is] a problem for all of us.”

In the days leading up to the keynote, AWS went public with its commitment to take steps to cut the amount of water used to keep its datacentres cool, as part of a broader pledge for its entire direct operations to become “water positive” by 2030.

This means the company is committing to ensuring that its direct operations return more water to the surrounding environment and communities than they consume by that date.

AWS has adopted the water usage effectiveness (WUE) metric to measure how much water its server farms consume, and claims to have a global WUE figure of 0.25 litres of water per kilowatt-hour.

“As part of this new commitment, AWS will report annually on its WUE metric, new water reuse and recycling efforts, new activities to reduce water consumption in its facilities, and advancements in new and existing replenishment projects,” the company said in a statement.

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