The News: Weka is increasing its commitment to sustainability with a Sustainable AI Initiative. According to Weka, the new initiative “aims to raise Awareness, ignite conversations, and identify solutions to mitigate AI’s energy and carbon impact”. Weka has embraced sustainability by identifying several ways in which their data platform can reduce environmental impact compared to legacy solutions. Now they are kicking off their Sustainable AI Initiative by announcing a new partnership with One Tree Planted.
Weka Launches Sustainability Initiative for AI, ML, and HPC
Analyst Take: Weka, like many other IT vendors, has been ramping up messaging around energy efficiency and sustainability. Notably, Weka recently raised $135 million in a funding round with sustainability appearing to be a key factor considered. Weka is now taking another step towards positioning itself as a sustainability leader for AI, ML, and HPC. Due to the resource intensive nature of these workloads, these are critical areas for vendors to be providing sustainable solutions.
While all data centers pose significant energy expenditure, AI workloads are often amongst the biggest contributors, with the high usage of GPUs and large data capacities being major factors. Weka’s sustainability story revolves largely around utilizing its high-speed data architecture to increase the efficiency of these GPUs and minimize their energy wasting idle time. In addition, Weka can reduce an overall data infrastructure footprint with its copy data reduction technology and cloud elasticity. Overall, Weka claims it can save 260 tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per petabyte annually when compared to “legacy infrastructure”. While it should be noted that the exact details of the legacy competitor are unclear, these potential output savings could have a large impact for an industry typically responsible for high energy usage.
To take things further, Weka has launched its Sustainable AI Initiative, with the first step being a partnership with One Tree Planted. This partnership includes a commitment to plant 20,000 trees in 2023 as well as a pledge to plant 10 trees for every petabyte Weka sells. I view this partnership as a strong first move in Weka’s commitment to address sustainability in AI. While Weka’s technology alone has compelling arguments for increasing sustainability in the data center, many other IT vendors are making similar claims – whether valid or not – about the energy efficiency and sustainability of their products. Unfortunately, in some cases “sustainability” doesn’t go much further than a marketing message, and has little real world environmental impact to point to. This partnership goes beyond any potential greenwashing or misleading marketing material to provide a tangible sustainability effort.
Weka’s partnership with One Tree Planted, as well as its efforts to address the sustainability issues in AI, ML, and HPC are admirable. The company has also stated that this partnership is only the first step in its larger Sustainable AI Initiative. While it remains to be seen how Weka will expand this initiative further in the future, it projects to have a positive impact on the AI/ML space, and positions Weka as a sustainability leader in an area with large environmental concerns.
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Disclosure: Evaluator Group, wholly owned by The Futurum Group, is a research and analyst firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article. Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually.