With record high prices, fuel shortages and slowing economies worldwide, the current energy crisis is a truly global issue. The year 2022 saw oil prices soar to levels not seen since 2008, directly impacting the availability and affordability of energy for consumers.
This issue is of particular concern to the telecoms industry. According to GSMA Intelligence, energy consumption accounted for between 15 and 40 percent of the operating expenditure of telco operators in 2021. With the expected increase in data traffic and the new infrastructure required to handle 5G, energy consumption and emissions are expected to rise over the coming years. Fortunately, this isn't a problem that the industry is taking lying down. Orange is one such example.
An industry pioneer through sustainable growth
Working across 26 countries, Orange Group strategically focuses on sustainable growth—reinventing itself and adapting to a constantly changing world while delivering exemplary performance on social and environmental issues. The Group is working towards achieving an ambitious 30 percent reduction in its direct emissions by 2025, with the ultimate aim of becoming a Net Zero Carbon business by 2040. This would make it a pioneer in the telecoms industry, achieving this target a full decade ahead of the rest of the sector.
Orange France is helping lead the change for the Orange Group. The subsidiary, which boasts 26 million customers and generated around EUR €18 billion in 2021, is committed to supporting Orange Group's environmental goals through substantial operational change.
Data centers: significant developments
Orange France identified data centers as a key component of its plans to improve sustainability and embarked on a journey to close 17 older, energy-inefficient facilities and invest in three state-of-the-art data centers. Due to their environmentally conscious design, these new facilities can operate without air conditioning for ten months of the year, reducing their energy impact by up to 30 percent when compared to legacy premises. With a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) that Orange estimates at 1.3, the data centers rank among the most efficient in France and are considered strategic assets for the Group.
Reducing servers tenfold and significantly reducing the average workload energy consumption
The move presented Orange France with a huge workload migration task. It also presented a great opportunity to further optimize the IT infrastructure from an environmental perspective.
Orange France started working closely with VMware Professional Services. Mathias Rousselet, head of the virtualization innovation cloud, Orange France, says, “The advantage of Professional Services is that they spend time with us, and they learn about our ecosystem and environment. VMware products have many possibilities, but they teach us how to make them work best for Orange.”
Orange France created a private cloud with VMware Cloud Foundation spanning its old and new data centers. This enabled the migration of apps and data to the new facilities. To date a third of workloads have been moved. The efficiency of private cloud has reduced the requirement for servers tenfold, providing significant energy savings. Orange reports that the average workload in its private cloud consumes significantly less energy than it did in the virtualized legacy infrastructure. This was further supported by the use of VMware Aria Operations to identify existing resources that could be redeployed or deleted. Orange France estimates this results in approximately 1,800 reclaimed VMs a year.
“VMware Cloud Foundation and Aria Automation help us optimize resources to reduce our carbon emissions,” says David Varusio, IT Cloud Project Manager, Orange France. “We’ve reduced our hardware footprint across computing, storage and networking, there is better sizing of IT environments from the outset and we’re running the same number of applications on ten times fewer servers.”