Sometimes the power problem is unsolvable

By on 12 Nov 2014

Category: Tech matters

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Michele McCann, Teraco Data Environments presented at RIPE69 on “iGDP in Africa”. It was a roundup of the various developments in the continent, but I took a snippet to heart and have been thinking about it.

Michele commented that with the explosion of telco services in the economies, there is now a real issue with providing reliable power to the IDC which have to back the services in-country. Its actually reached the point that because reliable volts cannot be sourced, its uneconomic to build out (diesel generation would run 24/7 and be expensive electricity and cooling).

Why do we need to place the IDC in country? For line termination and some services I can understand its better to be close, but for a lot of content, although we aim to have lower Round Trip Time (RTT) to the source, streaming is always about building up a large enough buffer to avoid freezes and silent periods, so is reasonably immune to the end-to-end delay once its built up its buffer.

Ultimately, the goal has to be to achieve sustainable in-country electric supply, but while some of these economies continue to depend on variable supply, They have priority issues around a hierarchy of needs. Its possible short RTT isn’t the highest priority, although access to telecommunications very possibly is one of the better enablers of change.

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