Sustainable Software Engineering: Our Future

Sustainable Software Engineering
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Sustainable software engineering (also known as Green Software Engineering) is an emerging field that combines climate science, software techniques and architecture, energy markets, hardware, and data center design. Principles of Sustainable Software Engineering outline the abilities and competencies required to design, construct, and run green, sustainable software solutions (GSE Principles).

Many of us think about major topics like the importance of carbon emissions, transitioning to renewable energy, and reducing wasteful products like plastic when it comes to sustainability. The same thought process needs to go for the code that we produce and the way we do software development. When we consider solutions to solve environmental challenges, these principles are more popular and well-known.

It is not an option at Knoldus whether you want to be a sustainable business or not; we consider it a duty. We support all of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, although our current concentration is on environmental sustainability. Things don’t happen overnight, and this is a long road ahead of us, but we’re well on the road to delivering on it. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity today, and as software engineers and application developers, we can help. We must all get on board to promote and assist everyone in developing and deploying long-term software applications.

Work with Greener Cloud Partner & Containerize your application

These concerns are a critical aspect of our climate change roadmap, which we are building to guarantee that our goals are realized. Knoldus collaborates and partners with cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) that use renewable energy or purchase energy attributes such as Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to offset the non-renewable energy used by their data centers. We also allow multiple workloads to run on a single operating system instance, reducing the required computing and storage.

Automate everything on your servers

We’ve installed and set up software on our servers several times and used a script to automate the process. We employ scripting languages such as Python, Ruby, and Bash, which are capable of automating both complex and simple processes. Over time, even minor gains by scripting everything on our systems can mount up.

We’ve also established techhub, which allows for a lot of software reuse as well as common libraries and patterns, all of which contribute to lowering carbon emissions. This not only allows Knoldus to produce solutions faster for our customers but since it is open to the public any organization can take advantage of our reusable components.

Empower teams with monitoring and observability

We work on software-defined networking (SDN) at Knoldus, which provides our developers control over how their applications flow through their networks, consuming less energy and allowing us to invest in more efficient infrastructure. We also employ team-level accounts and tagging to ensure that our teams can track and optimize their cloud usage and spending over time. As they say you cannot improve what you cannot measure, hence monitoring allows everyone to see the dashboard and focus on improvements.

Reduce storage usage & Minimize infrastructure footprint

We reduce the quantity of data retained by auto-archiving logs, files, and database tables sooner, using cold storage services for long-term data, and eliminating any data sources that are no longer needed.

Every time you scale up your application to use more power, you create additional unnecessary carbon emissions. To avoid these, we scale down when possible—which means running fewer virtual servers on each physical machine. Virtual servers only require a fraction of a physical server’s energy and resources, so running fewer instances per machine significantly reduces our energy footprint while boosting performance.

Embrace common sense optimizations with cloud computing

There’s a lot you can achieve with software without adding more hardware. Many software engineers do not consider performance until they encounter issues, which is inefficient. Our developers at Knoldus follow the process of building a prototype and testing it on real data before creating a new system to verify performance and capacity required assumptions. They also make extensive use of reusable codes and scripts. Any number crunching, for example, should be done in parallel on distinct servers. That way, you only need to bring back results to display or analyze them when they are complete—not during execution time.

Optimize network traffic and caching

Knoldus developers employ caching headers, providing enough information for browser caches and proxy caches to cache static content confidently. Caching static assets in the browser or proxy minimizes network traffic to our application by allowing future requests for those files to be handled by those caches. We also employ a CDN to deliver static assets from our application closer to the request source. This asset distribution shortens the distance that static asset requests must travel over the network. This, in turn, lowers our carbon footprint while increasing performance.

Reduce microservices number

Microservices architecture is an effective method to focus service on a single business domain while decentralizing ownership and expertise throughout the team or system. To assist prevent network congestion, latency, and overall complexity, ensuring the appropriate level of abstraction is critical. We investigate conceptually or physically combining services with similar scale points to decrease the overall architecture’s footprint. 

Two or more strongly linked microservices are co-located to alleviate network congestion and latency. We utilize languages and technology stacks that are optimized for a certain microservices function. Because functionality is abstracted to an API layer, you are free to make technical decisions for each microservice that maximize utilization in your technical stack.

Understand your latency limits

In many cases, web applications are designed with the assumption that a response to a request should happen immediately or as soon as possible by default. This assumption may limit the application’s options for lowering energy use. Knoldus engineers consider how our program is used and whether we can lower the latency constraints in some places, increasing our carbon-cutting choices.

Certain actions are performed outside of the request/response cycle. For example, if there is a request to send an email that blocks the response until the email is sent, we can instead asynchronously send the email using a worker process and unblock the response.  We prioritize worker processes less than web processes, and this priority allows worker processes to run only when web operations do not require computational resources, keeping utilization high. When the carbon intensity is lowest, the worker process is delayed.

If you’re focused on green IT and sustainable applications, it’s essential to think about software design and application architecture. While development is top-of-mind, one key recommendation is that it may be best to wait until your organization is ready for sustainable DevOps and green software philosophy before applying these principles to your software stack. We would be happy to talk more about our green approach and learn from you. Let us connect

Written by 

With 9+ years of experience in marketing, Khalid is a seasoned marketing leader who has led multiple teams at prominent organizations domestically and internationally. Currently, Khalid is leading marketing and strategy formulation to set up a growth-oriented marketing & prospecting team. He is responsible for a combination of critical functions including GTM strategy and demand generation activities/Growth Plan to deliver a qualified pipeline to accelerate business growth.