April 21, 2024

The warfare in Ukraine and the resultant scarcity of pure gasoline has pressured the European Union (EU) and European international locations to proactively put together for the opportunity 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 companies are prone to be requested to search out vitality financial savings, we’ve got validated plans and contingencies in place to responsibly scale back vitality use in our operations throughout Europe, and we are going to accomplish that in a manner that minimizes threat to buyer workloads operating within the Microsoft Cloud.

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

Supporting grid stability by responsibly managing our vitality consumption

The facility that’s consumed by Microsoft from the utilities is primarily used to energy our community and servers, cooling programs, and different datacenter operations. We now 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 size and distribution of the Microsoft datacenters offers us the power to reposition non-regional platform as a service (PaaS) companies, inside infrastructure, and lots of of our inside non-customer analysis and growth (R&D) workloads to different close by areas, whereas nonetheless assembly our knowledge residency and EU Information Boundary commitments.
  2. Actively working with native governments and huge organizations to intently 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 programs are prepared for a variety of circumstances.
  3. Our datacenter areas are deliberate and constructed to resist grid emergencies. When wanted, we shortly transition to backup energy sources to scale back influence 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 try to supply our cloud-using clients with “five-nines” of service availability, that means that the datacenter is operational 99.999 % of the time. Nevertheless, figuring out that service interruptions and failures occur for a myriad of causes, we construct programs designed with failure in thoughts.

We now have Azure Availability Zones (AZs) in each nation wherein we function datacenter areas. AZ’s are comprised of a minimal of three zone areas, 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 an extra 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. We now have contracted entry to further gas 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 crucial, to maintain our companies operating in case of a severe grid emergency. 

Throughout our international infrastructure, it’s commonplace for us to work with a heightened operational consciousness, because of exterior components. As an example, extreme winter climate occasions in Texas in 2021 brought on substantial strain on the Texas vitality grid. Microsoft was capable of take away its San Antonio datacenter from utilizing grid energy. Though Microsoft’s onsite substations have been designed with redundancy, we have been capable of shortly transition to our tertiary redundant programs—turbines. These programs saved the datacenters operating, with zero influence to our cloud clients, whereas the utility grid might 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 vital infrastructure for the communities the place we function, and our clients are relying on us to provide reliable cloud services to run their vital workloads. We acknowledge the significance of continuity of service for our clients, together with these offering important companies: well being care suppliers, police and emergency responders, monetary establishments, producers of vital provides, grocery shops and well being businesses. 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 think about 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) companies 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 at all times think about designing their Azure workloads with excessive availability in thoughts.

    We at all times encourage clients to have a Enterprise Continuity and Catastrophe Restoration (BCDR) plan in place as a part of the Microsoft Nicely-Architected Framework, which you’ll be able to read more about. Clients who wish to proactively migrate their Azure assets from one area to a different can accomplish that at any time. Find out how.

  2. On-premises clients can scale back their very own vitality consumption by transferring their functions, workloads, and databases to the cloud. The Microsoft Cloud will be as much as 93 % extra vitality environment friendly than conventional enterprise datacenters, relying on the precise comparability being made. Discover more here. Begin your sustainability journey at present.
  3. Vitality use in our datacenters is pushed by buyer use. Clients can play a component in decreasing vitality consumption by following inexperienced software program growth pointers, together with shutting down unused server situations, and sustainable software design. Further information available here.

We proceed to enhance the vitality effectivity of our datacenters, in our ongoing dedication to make our international infrastructure extra sustainable and environment friendly. As international locations and vitality suppliers think about choices to scale 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 operating their vital workloads in the Microsoft Cloud.