OVH Groupe: OVHcloud, Davidson Consulting, Inria and Orange join forces in the “DISTILLER” research program to reduce the environmental impact of cloud applications

According to Ademe, digital today represents more than 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, half of which is generated by data centers and network infrastructures. And the weight of its environmental impact should increase further with the evolution of uses. In France, 10% of the electricity produced is consumed solely to meet the needs of data centers. Aware of these issues, digital players are increasingly concerned about the energy consumption of hosted services.

In barely 10 years, progress has been made to ensure greater energy efficiency in data centers, but these developments mainly focus on hardware (optimization of components or server cooling, use of renewable energies), without really addressing the different software layers, which can have a significant impact on the use of allocated hardware resources.

How do you develop new, sensible and sustainable cloud-native software? What programming languages, libraries, frameworks and cloud frameworks should be considered for each project?

These are questions that the DISTILLER (recommendation service for sustainable cloud-native software) project aims to respond, following a call for projects launched by the National Research Agency (ANR).

Inria, OVHcloud, Orange and Davidson Consulting have joined forces in a consortium to pool their expertise, with the aim of defining specific recommendations on the most suitable software elements and configurations to ensure sustainability and efficiency. energy of cloud applications, from the initial design phase .

DISTILLER will study and categorize the cloud software ecosystem and then extrapolate the resulting data to come up with optimized configuration models based on various artificial intelligence algorithms. By studying all the layers of a native cloud application, from the physical infrastructure to the computer code, DISTILLER aims for a global approach resulting in a drastic reduction of the digital environmental footprint.

At the end of this 3-year project, DISTILLER’s recommendation system will be able to provide product owners, engineers or developers with all the information needed to design, produce and configure more sustainable cloud applications, while taking into account all the constraints specific to this type of project (performance, flexibility, confidentiality).

To achieve this ambitious goal, DISTILLER plans to study native cloud applications and their configurations in order to extract all the existing variations and to empirically define, on the basis of production measurements, a sustainability indicator on which the system of recommendations of durable software components will build. rely.

With its upcoming website, the consortium will regularly publish its research progress and provide information, sharing its findings, particularly with the research community.

“As a management consultant and technology expert, member of the B Corp collective and involved in the “Green It” collective, Davidson Consulting is committed to promoting the emergence of solutions reconciling innovation and digital pragmatism. With DISTILLER, we want to contribute designing fairer solutions to provide scientific and technical support and support the development of best practices for digital players Finally, we want to share these virtuous practices and our experience in this area with our ecosystem and put them into practice in the activities and projects we carry out.” David OLIVIER, R&D Director, Davidson Consulting

“The DISTILLER program is a major step forward in the studies we have been conducting for 10 years on the energy impact of software, which is today one of the priorities of the Institute. It will enable us to advance fundamental research in the field of eco-responsible digital technology and its applications, particularly in the cloud, which will contribute to the sustainability and transfer of our flagship software, PowerAPI, for measuring the energy consumption of software while promoting the emergence of new tools to help developers adopt good design practices for their software.” Lionel Seinturier, head of the Spirales research team

“Reducing the environmental impact of digital technology concerns all elements of its value chain. As a cloud service provider, OVHcloud teams are involved in the DISTILLER project to develop knowledge about software bricks. Sharing this knowledge with our customers, partners and the community, we are committed to measuring an accurate and comprehensive environmental footprint for digital services.This complements our overall environmental strategy, going beyond the provision of renewable electricity or the extending the lifespan of our servers.” Tristan Vuillier, Sustainable Development Program Manager at OVHcloud

“The performance of native cloud applications and their optimized use of cloud infrastructures is a source of energy efficiency that contributes to reducing the environmental impact of the digital sector. This is an important issue for the future.” Véronique Guibert, CSR Director – Orange Innovation

The DISTILLER project in figures:

Project duration: 36 months

Official start: 2022

Granted budget: €664,580

Number of researchers involved: 15

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