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Environmental Impact

In the past we have explored the shift from DSP-based telephony boards to software-based host media processing. One of the most overlooked areas of this shift is the impact to our environment and the underlying costs associated with managing the end solution.

Today, only about 30 percent of a data center’s budget is spent on capital expenditures while a whopping 70 percent is consumed by operational expenses. It’s not uncommon for more than 50 percent of the overall power consumption to be used by the cooling infrastructure with just 40 percent of the power used to run the servers themselves. Larger data centers will spend close to $50M per year on electricity (enough to power a small city). Data centers in California are estimated to require 300 MW of energy which is the equivalent of 5,000 barrels of oil each day! The crisis is real.

This now brings us to the consideration of an HMP based telephony solution versus a more traditional DSP based blade solution. Let’s compare two approaches to a 4,000 port (relatively small) implementation. (See illustration.)

Final Score

The host processor-based IP Telephony solutions are certainly attractive on the initial capital cost savings, but the overall impact to power consumption is significant. In this example, the payback is only 2.2 years (Figure B (News - Alert)) to recover the additional upfront costs. The real savings happens after year two as the amount of power savings continues. If the number of ports in the solution increases, then the power savings is even greater (Figure A). At some point, it may be enough to power an entire city. IT

Jeff Hudgins is VP of Engineering at NEI, Inc. For more information, visit the company online at

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