The business world adores metrics—from quarterly earnings reports based on the number of subscribers…to website effectiveness based on the number of unique visitors and time spent on a page.
When looking at energy, metrics are equally important. In cable, under SCTE’s Energy 2020 program, a working group is constructing our own industry energy metrics (largely focused on access networks and facilities). In doing initial research of what to consider, bit/watt for example, we discovered a great research paper that outlines a variety of options to consider when working in data centers. The famous Power Use Effectiveness (PUE) is included. It outlines the following: “Total power going into a data center building/Power used for IT equipment,” a good metric but not our metric. The team is discussing options, and some strong contenders include the aforementioned bit/watt or a subscriber-centric metric.
Cable operators do operate data centers, and that is within the scope of our working group; however, we as an industry have other facilities as well. These facilities range from a small building covering 1,500 square feet, servicing a small neighborhood, and consuming 20 kW of power…to a large building that resembles a smaller square-foot data center-like environment with redundant backup power, exhaustive monitoring, and millions of dollars of revenue at stake if the building were to suffer a period of unavailability.
As networks change and expand in both service offerings and capacity, the infrastructure will also change to provide those services. Servers will have improved processing chips, fiber-optic networks such as a PON architecture will continue to be deployed, and carrier-grade Wi-Fi will be leveraged. With all that pending change and growth, it is important to standardize on the right metrics to analyze power-to-performance figures. SCTE is bringing the industry together on energy. Please learn more, get engaged, and join us.