As telcos resist granular energy monitoring, they squander opportunities in the cloud

Telcos dream of the kind of cloud success Amazon, (s amzn) Google, (s goog) Microsoft (s msft) and others have attained, but they don’t always want to embrace innovations from other realms. While not everything done at webscale companies like Facebook (s fb) makes sense for telcos to adopt, they could stand to apply similar approaches if they wish to become more competitive with the big cloud providers.
According to a Thursday article from Light Reading, Sprint (s s) appears to think the detailed monitoring beyond power-usage effectiveness (PUE) that eBay (s ebay) does with its Digital Service Efficiency (DSE) metrics is not the right fit:

“We don’t use DSE and believe it’s unlikely we would in the foreseeable future,” Sprint’s VP of IT, Josh Morton, writes in an email to Light Reading, adding that Sprint will continue to focus on absolute reductions and PUE for now. “We believe it may be much easier for eBay to use this measure as it is a good match for its transaction-based, operating model.”

Sure, Sprint doesn’t necessarily need to squeeze out the most purchases per kilowatt-hour. But by all means it can start thinking about revenue in relation to how many servers are deployed and how much power is being used. These measurements and others are displayed for public viewing on eBay’s DSE dashboard. Facebook has its own near-real time dashboards for tracking temperature and humidity in addition to PUE and water-usage effectiveness (WUE). Perhaps Sprint and other telcos could come up with their own metrics that are appropriate for their business models.
That way, telcos could get a better picture of the efficiency of its infrastructure, which could reveal energy guzzlers that might be swapped out in favor of more efficiency gear, which in turn could lower operational expenditures and later lead to price cuts for customers. That’s exactly what could help telcos become viable alternatives to the more popular public cloud providers — and other kinds of companies that want to keep an eye on energy consumption as they boost computing capacity.
Joining up with OpenStack or implementing OpenFlow might not be enough for telcos to get more competitive in the cloud.
Specialized building design a la Google (s goog) might be out of the question. But maybe a small team inside a telco could implement advanced efficiency metrics and make changes on a small scale and compare costs with operations elsewhere in the company that are going no further than PUE. Modular data centers performance-tuned for energy efficiency might also be worthy of consideration.
Regardless of the routes telcos take, it makes sense for telcos to do more to optimize their own infrastructure. Without that, there is no cloud. And without efficient, scalable clouds that appeal to businesses, there’s lost opportunity.