HotCarbon 2023
Conference paper

Towards Carbon Footprint Management in Hybrid Multicloud

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Enterprises today aspire to optimize the operating costs and carbon footprint (CFP) of their IT operations jointly without compromising their business imperatives. This has given rise to a hybrid approach in which enterprises retain the dynamic choice to leverage private data centers and one or more public clouds in conjunction. While cloud service providers (CSPs) have long provided APIs for estimating, reconciling, and optimizing operating costs, they have only recently started exposing APIs related to CFP. Indeed, this is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, our analyses of these APIs reveals many gaps that need to be addressed to facilitate sizing and placement decisions that can factor in carbon. First, there is a lack of standardized, transparent methodology for CFP quantification across different CSPs. Second, the coarse granularity of the CFP data provided today can help with post-facto reporting but is not suitable for proactive fine-grained optimization. Last, enterprises themselves are unable to independently compute the current CFP or estimate potential CFP savings since CSPs do not share the required power usage data. To address these gaps, enterprises have started developing their own carbon assessment methodologies and tools to estimate the CFP of workloads running on public clouds using the available user-facing APIs. These systems hold the promise for an independent and unbiased evaluation and estimation of relative savings between different deployment options by cloud users. We describe and analyze the details of CSP-native carbon-reporting tools and their quantification methodology, and the "outside-of-the-cloud" estimation approaches. Finally, we present opportunities for future research in the direction of trustworthy, fine-grained, public cloud workload CFP estimation, which is a prerequisite for meaningful realization of carbon optimization.