Green Indexes Used in CAST to Measure Energy Consumption of Code

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This blog is from CAST’s keynote speech at MeGSuS’16, 3rd International Workshop on Measurement and Metrics for Green and Sustainable Software. Download the presentation here.

Fueled by our growing thirst for constant connectivity and the dawn of the Internet of Things, the energy required to power all the world’s computers, data storage and communications networks is expected to double by 2020 according to the latest research by McKinsey & Company. This would increase the total impact of IT technology, in terms of global carbon emissions, by at least 3%.

Whereas hardware infrastructure is physically responsible for energy consumption in data centers, the role of software cannot be overlooked. Software is – perhaps surprisingly – the primary driver of IT energy consumption. Because software governs the operations performed by processors, it thus influences the consumption of all the layers of technology infrastructure.

More power to the CPU means more heat generated by the component, which then needs more cooling power to ensure the stability of the temperature in which the system operates. This results in more power required by the cooling system overall. The execution of generic software can deeply impact not only the machine on which it runs, but the entire environment in which the system resides. This is no small issue, and it is one that must be carefully addressed by programmers and administrators alike.

Previous studies from Global Action Plan have proven that 86% of ICT departments in the UK do not know their CO2 emissions, and 80% of companies do not know what their electric bill is. This leads to the obvious question – if these costs are not being monitored then how can they be optimized?

This issue was addressed by Marco Bessi, our CAST Green Evangelist, during the 3rd International Workshop on Measurement and Metrics for Green and Sustainable Software (MeGSuS’16) on September 7, 2016 in Ciudad Real, Spain – event co-located with the ESEIW 2016.

In order to help companies assess the energy efficiency of their application portfolios, CAST offers a solution based on a Green IT Index. Integrated into CAST's Application Analytics Dashboard, the Green IT Index serves as a business criterion that aggregates Quality Rules from existing high-impact efficiency-related technical criteria as well as Robustness measures to account for wasted resources. CAST’s Green IT Index can help signal when application functions have been compromised and require a restart/recovery. It can also illuminate areas of wasted hardware resources and poor software quality.

CAST actively supports energy efficient software to identify optimization opportunities that require less CPU resources. Our goal is not necessarily to cut out software that requires high CPU resources but rather to identify software that wastes CPU resources. It’s about being green for the environment and also saving corporations lots of “green” in IT costs.

If you have more ideas of how to reduce your Green IT Index, we want to hear from you! CAST is seeking further collaboration opportunities to help you and your company get the most out of your software investments.

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Marco Bessi
Marco Bessi Solution Design Manager and Innovation Specialist
Marco Bessi is a Solution Design Manager at CAST and is responsible for helping cllients discover and remediate software vulnerabilities. As an innovation specialist, Marco contributes to technology journals like IEEE and presents his research on data flow analysis, technical debt and software modernization across universities in Italy.
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