Europe’s Hidden Energy Crisis: Data Centers

European data centers are under fire to reduce power consumption from multiple fronts. ASIC-based transcoders can dramatically cut KW/hour and, in some cases, pay for themselves via reduced power bills in a matter of months.

Recently, multiple environmental, political, regulatory, and geopolitical factors have forced data center operators to consider dramatic measures to reduce power consumption. For example, in July 2022, record-setting heat waves caused by global warming brought down data centers owned by Oracle and Google in London and forced other data centers to spray roof-mounted air conditioners with water to avoid a similar fate.

Politically, Meta abandoned plans to build a data center in the Netherlands after activists raised concerns about the sustainability of the data center. This led the Dutch province of Flevoland, where the proposed data center would have been located, to create a data center moratorium to “study the impact of large data centers on the local community and infrastructure.”

According to Politico, the European Commission is ”planning to announce a plan this fall calling out data centers’ environmental impact.” From a cost perspective, as has been widely supported, the Ukraine conflict has caused European electricity prices to soar to new records.

T-408 - Reducing Power Consumption by Up to 98%

Fortunately, for data centers with a heavy concentration of streaming transcoding, NETINT offers a quick, easy, and highly affordable solution; the ASIC-based T408 transcoder. As discussed in this blog, a T408-equipped system can produce about 13x the H.264 output of servers running FFmpeg in software, with similar power consumption. This translates to a 92% drop in power consumption.

Dense is good when transcoding - table 2
Table 1.The T408 produces 13x the frame rate as FFmpeg/fast with similar power consumption.

The T408 produces 13x the frame rate as FFmpeg/fast with similar power consumption. With HEVC transcoding, the numbers are even more dramatic; one T408-equipped system can output the same as 55 servers using FFmpeg and x265, translating to a 98% drop in electricity usage.

You can integrate the T-408 into your encoding ecosystem using FFmpeg, GStreamer, or an SDK. Video quality should be similar to that delivered by the medium x264/x265 presets, so you can switch over to hardware and potentially increase your output quality. The unit costs $400 in low quantities, and depending on your current workflow and electricity cost, should pay for itself in a matter of months.

Switching to the T408 will slash power costs while maintaining or improving video quality. It’s good for QoE and great for the environment and your bottom line. Curious and wish to chat with someone right away? Use this link to schedule a meeting at your convenience.

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