Save your FREE seat for Streaming Media Connect this August. Register Now!

How Streaming Power Consumption Impacts TCO

What are some crucial considerations when considering total cost of ownership (TCO), and how does reducing power consumption help? Tim Siglin, Founding Executive Director, Help Me Stream Research Foundation, and Contributing Editor, Streaming Media, says, “When you talk about total cost of ownership, that's a seemingly a financial discussion, but how does that fit into [a] power consumption model?”

“I'm based out of Seattle,” says John Jacobs, Field CISO, Fortinet. “We've done a lot of work with Microsoft…they said the power used by a server surpasses the cost of a server in three months. So if something goes out, [they] throw it away. There is this complete understanding at their level. When you think of that macro level of just how key it is for a component, we look at it a little bit differently because we're usually a cost center and based in security. So to us, it's how can you apply it with the lowest cost? That's usually hardware…I’m not saying that's always the right solution, but if we can get hardware-based 10, 20, 30 times performance for a specific piece of hardware, that's easy math to do.”

“If you think back to the telco days, I mean early telco versus, say, telco in the 50s and 60s, what we saw there was sort of that same model,” Siglin says. “Of course, they didn't have software in the early days, but through the use of early ASICs and other things like that, they really got the capacity levels up significantly. Where do we sit at this point? Obviously, there's talk about FPGA ASICs DSPs. When you're talking about hardware, is it something that the hardware itself can cut the power consumption in half? Or is it the optimization of that hardware with software?”

Jacobs says, “There's a combination of both, but ultimately, we see 70, 80% reduction in power for the same task to be performed in general CPU. So if you have somebody who just says, ‘I'm experimenting,’…they're going to punt it to a general processor. Once they figure it out -- and the telcos are still relevant -- you know, less and less every day, but they've pushed that, and they understand the value of scale and cost at scale. They drive it down to ‘this is X dollars per subscriber per this license and per the operating cost.’ So they're really good about it. Unfortunately, they're not really good about the other side of their business and how to monetize it and gain it. So they're sort of failing in the global market but are good about solving that problem.”

Siglin asks the other two participants in the panel, Barbara Lange, Principal and CEO, Kibo121, and Frank Miller, CTO, Varnish Software, about their thoughts on TCO and how it relates to power consumption.

“I would say sustainability is all about efficiencies and gaining efficiencies,” Lange says. “The more you can do those sorts of things, whether it's through hardware repurposing…a lot of organizations are now doing that. It is a part of the component as well as software solutions.” She highlights that sustainability is also an aspect of doing business that must be integrated from the beginning. “The important part of sustainability is integrating it into your business decision-making from the get-go,” she says. “You can't do it at the back end…it has to be part of those initial conversations in any decision-making strategy sessions you have. And that's a mindset change that I think will come more and more as regulations come into play.”

“And is part of the reason to do that so that it sticks, as opposed to just being a fad?” Siglin asks.

“This is not a fad anymore,” Lange says. “One of the big things that are coming is the SEC is about to change some filing regulations that will require listed companies to have a sustainability measurement and reporting along with their financial reporting. And that's going to push that sustainability to discussion down the chain because every company is a Scope 3 component to somebody else.”

“I think it's interesting because at the end of the day, creating efficient software is kind of ignored,” Miller says. “Especially workloads that run in the cloud.” He discusses the recent work that Varnish has been doing with Intel that is relevant to increasing efficiency. “Varnish Software, even going back 10 years, has been highly performant…case in point, I do think we have about the best in the industry right now, [with] performance at about 386 megabits per watt. But give us about a quarter with the work we've done with Intel in their labs, with their next-generation processors; we're aiming for a gigabit per wat. So if you look at that from the next generation perspective to run the most challenging workloads, the power demand will go down by two-thirds.”

“And that’s a competitive advantage,” Lange says.

“It's not just green,” Miller says. “It goes back to getting a generation or two generations of reuse of existing hardware.”

Learn more about the greening of streaming and TCO at Streaming Media East 2023.

Streaming Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

Kibo121's Barbara Lange Talks Streaming Green

Kibo121 Principal and CEO Barbara Lange discusses how to get media companies on the path to sustainability, reduce power consumption, and become greener in this interview with Streaming Media's Tim Siglin at Streaming Media West 2022.

Choosing a Codec for Greener Streaming

What are the current innovations in reducing the carbon emissions and the carbon footprint of streaming? Jan Ozer of the Streaming Learning Center asks Kevin Yao of Amazon Web Services and David Ronca of Facebook about the innovations and new technologies their organizations are using to lessen the environmental impact of streaming.

How CDNs Can Increase Efficiency Through Industry Collaboration and Commoditization

Mark De Jong of CDN Alliance discusses how collaboration and commoditization in the Content Delivery Network space can enhance worldwide connection through the use of new technologies such as edge computing, along with a better focus on increasing telco infrastructure capacity in underserved regions

id3as' Dom Robinson and Help Me Stream's Tim Siglin Talk Greening of Streaming

id3as' Dom Robinson and Help Me Stream's Tim Siglin discuss the latest Greening of Streaming developments--including taking the conservation case to Parliament--in this interview from Streaming Media East 2022.

Companies and Suppliers Mentioned