It's Not Easy Being GreenDevSecFinOps

by Jay Cuthrell
Share and discuss on LinkedIn or HN

Music: Kermit the Frog - It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green (1970)

This week we take a look at Green IT and green coding adoption cycles for Platform Engineering past, present, and future of GreenDevSecFinOps.

Getting Informed

Last week I caught up with Figoya Founder, Nat Darke. Nat and I connected with each other via (invite link) last year just around the time I joined IBM.

Nat and his Figoya team are passionate about green _coding_ impact on society as a whole. If you were looking for examples of green coding, consider these Google Bard responses:

Screenshot 2023-05-14 at 4.26.57 PM.png

So, to understand the role companies like Figoya will play in the applications of our future world, ask yourself what is an efficient and sustainable use of our precious resources. It is a question worth pondering.

For example, you’ll notice quickly if you view-source on Figoya website that it is meticulously designed to be compact and efficient. Additionally, the specific techniques and approach used were intentional and meant to lower the carbon impact of the website overall.

Screenshot 2023-05-11 at 7.51.40 AM.png

Nat’s team is holistic in terms of tools and methodologies for reduction of carbon impact. Figoya considers the frontend, backend, and the lifecycle of the application to provide key benefits.

  • Lowering overall carbon impact in the SDLC
  • No additional increases to development cost or time
  • Up to 80% faster performance — especially on mobile or when network conditions are poor
  • Cost Savings
  • More accessible / accessibility focused
  • No compromises on design aesthetics

Indeed, after talking with Nat, it got me thinking about our world getting access to more computing that is more pervasive and ubiquitous. On this inevitable path, we must be thinking ahead about making it simpler and easier to be efficient and sustainable because software applications involve computing and computing requires energy.

  1. When will overall society embrace green coding practices?
  2. Does green coding have the biggest impact and best fit for the Internet of everyThing (IoT) where objects will be communicating continuously at ever greater scale?
  3. As practitioners and engineers, should we not all be both continuously dissatisfied and equally enamored with making things faster/compacted/and just the right amount required?
  4. Can we inspire the next generation of developers to embrace IDEs or model influenced choices that represent the most efficient execution of code and lowest impact computation choices?

Of course, you can probably make the case that FinOps practitioners could lead the way with carbon inclusion within existing capital oriented tooling. For example, InfraCost blog briefly touched on the topic of carbon oriented preflight checks in 2021.

It’s not hard to imagine a world where CIOs will recoil at the very notion of leaving a virtual machine running – let alone a grossly underutilized bare metal host – in perpetuity was like someone leaving several dozen 300W light bulbs on in an otherwise empty room for weeks, months, or years at a time. However, it isn’t clear that all CIOs think this way today or when they all will.

Perhaps the next “shift left” will require a culturally significant and conspicuous accounting of waste and carbon costs versus capital costs alone. As such, when the OKR / KPI choices are to be ever greener each Y/Y and Q/Q within the CI/CD pipeline and what passes through the CI/CD pipeline, green coding will have taken hold outside of the small handful of companies that are leading the way.

When I think it could be nicer 🎶

Someone has probably tried to use GreenOps as a riff on Green IT meets IT Operations. Sadly, this neologism portmanteau is roughly ~100 years late and I’ll just revisit a friendly prediction I have with Jakub Holak that we’re all destined by GreenDevSecFinOps practitioners on a long enough career timeline.


Also, if we consider Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Emerging Tech from last year, it shows Cloud Sustainability with a somewhat higher expectations blue dot (2-5 years). In fact, Platform Engineering is right next to it on the curve as another blue dot (2-5 years) so, perhaps, the green coding consideration of delightful Developer Experience (DevX) is up to platform engineering teams to get right first.


It’s beautiful, and I think it’s what I want to be 🎶

Thinking out loud, I feel like this issue of Fudge Sunday is more questions than answers for me. Thankfully, there are several ways to get involved in green IT and green coding that will help with providing answers for today and in the future.

Indeed, anyone can start now with simple design choices. For example, one might consider adding a JavaScript library that provides access to the green web API in order to estimate the emissions for a software endeavor.

_(And we’re approaching 1000 words already. So, let’s wrap it up now…)_

Perhaps AI becomes an enabling pathway to green coding through applying AI to the problem of how AI is deployed, delivered, and directed in more sustainable ways.

Or as I was discussing on Greg Meyer’s most recent newsletter:

IME, better leaders tend to ask the question “what am I missing?” and maybe AI let’s us all become leaders of sorts.[1]


So, what will be the next big thing in Green IT and Platform Engineering?

Until then… Place your bets!


I am linking to my disclosure.

  1. TIL that Substack Notes allows deeplinking
    🤓 ↩︎


✍️ 🤓 Edit on Github 🐙 ✍️

Share and discuss on LinkedIn or HN
  • Get Fudge Sunday each week