Watching video consumes energy – watching an hour of streamed content, taking into account the streaming server, data transfer, and viewing device is roughly equivalent to a kettle boiling. Getting video to the point that it can be streamed, consumes even more.
With the vast majority of processes in the media supply chain virtualized, the data centre is the primary area of energy consumption – within that, CPU, spinning disk, and cooling.
Cooling is actually one of the biggest factors in energy consumption and there have been some interesting initiatives to reduce energy requirements for cooling. Covered widely in the press, Microsoft has been sinking data centres deep in the ocean, using the cold water to reduce the ambient temperature in the water tight container. Other initiatives have included pushing data centre hardware manufacturers to certify equipment to run at higher operating temperatures, enabling the data centre to run at a higher ambient temperature, thereby reducing cooling requirements.
Reducing the number of spinning disks can be achieved through optimizing the use of storage. This “housekeeping” can often be overlooked in media supply chain systems, but is a key element in ensuring the efficient use of storage and minimizing waste in this area.
Optimizing CPU usage is also an important technological choice in the specification of media supply chain systems. For example, “on demand” processing services that are only running when required, and used effectively, are much less wasteful than “always on” systems, whether on-premises on in a public or private cloud. Multi-tenant systems also have the potential to minimize waste.