top of page

Fighting Climate Change One Line of Code at a Time

Observability platforms provide detailed insight into IT carbon footprints to help developers optimize emissions and empower green coding initiatives.

As climate change accelerates, tech leaders are responding to rising expectations around corporate sustainability commitments. However, quantifying and optimizing the environmental impacts of complex IT ecosystems has remained an elusive challenge. 

This is now changing with the emergence of emissions monitoring solutions purpose-built to translate raw telemetry data from Dynatrace and other observability platforms into detailed carbon footprint analysis.

Dynatrace Carbon Impact: Observability Drives Real Reductions

At Perform 2024, Dynatrace recently announced enhancements to Carbon Impact, making it easier than ever for enterprises to track, report on, and reduce the carbon emissions associated with their hybrid cloud infrastructure. 

The SaaS application accurately calculates sustainability impacts per data center, host group, or individual services by leveraging precise data on utilization metrics like CPU, memory, network I/O, storage, and more.

Granular and real-time visibility enables organizations to quickly identify "hot spots" of energy waste prime for optimization. The latest version delivers intelligent recommendations on actions that can cut emissions based on actual cloud architectures and dependencies. Suggestions may include eliminating redundant microservices or consolidating grossly underutilized cloud instances.

Kevin Bird, Operational Performance and Analytics Lead for banking group Lloyds says, "Working with Dynatrace has helped us assess and improve visibility into our IT carbon footprint at the depth required, allowing us to pinpoint high-impact areas to create meaningful efficiency gains."

Overcoming Challenges/Criticisms of Green Coding Initiatives

Accurately attributing emissions to applications and code changes in complex, distributed systems has remained an obstacle to broad green coding adoption. Critics argue that adding another assessment gate slows the delivery of customer value. 

The Dynatrace Carbon Impact app provides answers on both fronts. Auto-discovering dependencies and layering precise topology context onto raw utilization data enables reliable emissions roll-ups directly tied to services and components. This allows leaders to set emissions budgets for development teams without losing agility. 

Dynatrace Founder and CTO Bernd Greifeneder explains, “You can still ship frequently by fixing only the biggest emitting hotspots revealed by Carbon Impact instead of having to optimize every line. Observability tools make green coding goals achievable without undue bureaucracy.”

Carbon Impact's key value proposition is the ability to accurately associate consumption data with precise applications and business processes amidst complex hybrid cloud environments. This makes green coding assessments and improvement targets achievable based on actual runtime analytics versus vague theoretical models.

Embedded into CI/CD pipelines, any additional overhead would be negligible while incrementally moving sustainability metrics in the right direction.

Making Green Code a Reality

But Carbon Impact addresses only one side of the equation. The company has also instituted internal green coding standards as Lloyds progresses towards its 2030 emissions reduction targets. The goal is to ensure all new feature development and application changes meet minimum energy efficiency requirements per line of code before deployment.

This is where observability becomes an invaluable tool not just for site reliability engineers but developers as well. By connecting emissions data to precise application topology and dependencies, Dynatrace enables granular attribution of consumption, costs, and, by extension, carbon impacts to individual services, components, and even code functions.

Instead of vague estimates, developers can now review detailed analytics during QA on exactly how much CO2 their latest changes will incur in production based on expected volume and usage profiler. If targets are missed, they receive actionable insights on optimizing code efficiency, eliminating redundant processes, right-sizing over-provisioned resources, or even shifting languages.

Broader Implications for Innovation and Regulation

Lloyds hopes rigorous green coding assessments will rapidly become mandatory for all new projects. By instilling sustainability thinking across teams, they aim to reach emissions goals while continuing to deliver innovative digital banking products. 

Other Dynatrace customers are following suit, according to Klaus Enzenhofer, Product Lead at Dynatrace, who is seeing rapid uptake in Europe as enterprises move to meet regulatory goals with verifiable data. Enzenhofer expects to see the same uptake in the US in the next couple of years.

Greifeneder explains, "Developers and architects may not realize it, but every line of inefficient code slows services, hurts reliability, and damages the environment. By quantifying and linking emissions to applications via observability, we empower organizations to make sustainable software development an integral part of business and culture. This drives tremendous value."

Indeed, as governments ramp up reporting requirements and industry standards emerge around disclosing and minimizing IT impacts aligned to emissions reduction targets, Carbon Impact, and green coding best practices provide a blueprint. Greifeneder concludes, "Doing well and doing good no longer need be opposing forces. With the right observability tools in place, innovating for customers and the climate go hand in hand."


bottom of page