25/08/2022 Benjamin Van der Maas

Where does FinOps stop and GreenOps begin?

FinOps vs. GreenOps vs. Sustainability

Since FinOps started gaining traction in the larger cloud technology community, we’ve seen an increase in the use of the term ‘GreenOps’ as well. For a lot of organisations, the goal of FinOps is reasonably clear, while GreenOps tends to just be ‘FinOps, but for sustainability’. We think there is more to the story than just that. In this blogpost, we go into it a bit deeper and explore just exactly what the relation is between FinOps, what sets them apart or why there may be no real difference between the two of them.

My colleague over at the FinOps Alliance, Mudit Gupta, defines GreenOps as ‘an operating model, encapsulates all the efforts done to reduce the carbon footprint of the resources running on the cloud by the cloud user’. With that definition in mind, we could the difference between FinOps and GreenOps lies in the outcome they want to achieve. FinOps reduces cloud cost, GreenOps reduces cloud carbon footprint. A clear split, that we often see promoted in the larger FinOps community. Things become a bit murky when we start looking into exactly how one achieves the goals of FinOps of GreenOps. The more you look at them, the more it seems that by following the same principles, one can achieve both targets with the same set of actions.

Use less, achieve more

By focusing on using less cloud infrastructure to achieve the desired results and business value, you reduce your cloud cost and related carbon emissions. For now, actions that reduce your cost also drive you to newer, greener infrastructure (I’m thinking Gravitron instances, gp3 volumes, etc.). One could say that improving your carbon footprint is a happy side-effect of implementing FinOps. What if I said cost improvement is a happy side-effect of focusing on sustainability?

A bold claim, I know, but think about what sustainability really means. It means that whatever you are doing now, can be supported by resources in the long-term. That the activities you are doing now, can continue in their current form over time. Is it then so strange to say that cost optimization, savings gained and a lower cloud bill is a side-effect of making your cloud environment financially sustainable?


By making your cost balanced with your business value, you make the cloud financially sustainable. By bringing your co2 emissions of the cloud in line with your business targets, you make the cloud environmentally sustainable. It’s all about sustainability in the end. Saying that implementing FinOps is your goal, is inherently a tricky statement to make. The goal is to make your business sustainable, to make your cloud sustainable. The real end goal, whether it is economically or environmentally, should be to achieve cloud sustainability.

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