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11 Top Azure Announcements From Microsoft Inspire 2021

CRN breaks down the new Microsoft Azure products, features and services unveiled by the No. 2 cloud computing provider at its annual partner conference.

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Microsoft Cloud For Sustainability

Microsoft will launch the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability later this year in preview to help the cloud provider and its customers meet their carbon reduction and sustainability goals.

The new cloud will allow organizations to record, report and reduce their carbon footprint as they work toward net-zero emissions. It will enable customers to invest in sustainable practices and partner with experts to accelerate progress toward their carbon reduction and sustainability goals.

The new offering responds to demand from investors, customers and legislators for more commitment, accountability and measurement of carbon reduction efforts within organizations, according to Microsoft.

Measuring the overall environmental impact of an organization is particularly challenging, said Judson Althoff (pictured), Microsoft’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer.

“Organizations need to be able to record their environmental footprint, report to stakeholders, reduce their resource usage, remove their footprint through carbon offsets or recycling, and replace high-footprint resources with low-footprint ones,” Althoff said in a blog post. “But doing this effectively means moving away from manually inputting data into spreadsheets and toward a more seamless data flow via data connectors that provide automated, accurate, real-time data — and, ultimately, turn those data-driven insights into action. That is where Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability comes in.”

The new offering is built on Microsoft technologies including Azure, Microsoft Dataverse, Power Platform and Power BI. Microsoft will look to its partner ecosystem to build specialized, industry-specific applications, data sources and emissions data connectors.

Microsoft previously announced separate, industry-specific Microsoft clouds for retail, healthcare, manufacturing, financial services and nonprofits.

“These industry clouds are an aggregation of our solution areas represented as vertical expressions of the Microsoft Cloud,” Althoff said.With Cloud for Sustainability, we’re creating a whole new category, going beyond capturing data to helping customers aggregate sustainability data in an actionable way. It includes SaaS offerings that can discover and connect to real-time data sources, accelerate data integration and reporting, provide accurate carbon accounting, measure performance against goals and enable intelligent insights for organizations to take more effective action.”

Chief information officers using the new cloud will be able to easily report on IT carbon emissions from the cloud, devices and applications as part of their departments’ environmental footprint and connect their emissions data sources into one view for reporting. Companies will be able to offer their customers a sustainability scorecard to track progress against their carbon emission reduction goals. Customers also will be able to pinpoint specific emission areas and track if they are meeting their emission reduction goals.

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