Software for Sustainability • Nicola Peill-Moelter, Ph.D.
(Director of Sustainability Innovation, VMware || CA USA)
“In the 90s, I felt that if we had to rely on people’s good will, knowledge, and compassion about the environment, we weren’t going to make a lot of progress on environmental issues. But if we could make solutions economical and good for business, we could create forward motion. I was always thinking, ‘How can I tie sustainability goals to business goals?’ It’s hard to get leadership to shift their mindset to see sustainability as something important to the business — it needs to be more than a ‘corporate citizenship’ or a ‘tech-for-good’ mentality. We can use the lens of sustainability to develop innovative solutions that reduce costs and lower risks — like LED light bulbs, electric vehicles, and plant-based meat products. That’s why I’m so excited about my position at VMware, where I’m the Director of Sustainability Innovation. My role is to build on the inherent sustainability of VMware’s computing virtualization technologies to reduce energy and carbon use across our worldwide customer base — to demonstrate sustainability as a way to innovate.
Our virtualization technology itself is sustainable — the more customers use it, the smaller their IT footprint, the less energy and electronic materials consumed and the fewer the carbon emissions. Think of it like this. In the old days, for every enterprise application (email, banking, database, etc.), you would need a separate computer/server — 100 applications, 100 computers. VMware develops software that enables multiple applications to run on the same physical computer without compromising performance. With this virtualization, you might only need 10 computers to run your 100 applications — a 90 percent reduction in the physical hardware! There are savings in costs, energy, carbon, and materials. And there’s more. Those 10 servers sit in a data center powered by a power plant. Less IT infrastructure requires fewer data centers, powered by fewer power plants. That’s why sustainability is a huge business opportunity.”