Can Umbraco Save The World?

(And other such clickbaity titles)

For a long time I’ve actually ran my personal Umbraco sites off an inhouse server running off a tiny Intel NUC box, designed to be as energy efficient as possible. Over time with the Umbraco 7 site getting more and more bogged down with increasing node counts and complexity, I had had to turn the processor performance of this little box up to maximum performance just to keep my biggest Umbraco instances running as snappily as possible. It still doesn’t use a lot, but it’s the maximum of not-a-lot that it is possible to be!

Fast forward to January this year, when people may remember I migrated my biggest site to Umbraco 9.2, and gushed endlessly how much better the performance was (I still make no apologies for this). One thing that did seem to get overlooked by me at the time though was this processor power setting. It’s only during the recent heatwaves in the UK I’d noticed the fan on the NUC box was running a lot more than expected and delved into the settings. Given the huge improvements since that upgrade, I’ve now had full confidence in turning the processor speed from the maximum setting to the absolute minimum ‘power saving’ mode, meaning it will throttle the speed of the processor right down when load is low.

It’s still a bit early to be able to fully conclude the improvements, especially as I do run other variable use things off this same power outlet (eg televisions). However after a few days I’m already seeing what look to be around 20-30% energy savings, with absolutely no discernable difference in the performance of the Umbraco 9.2 site (certainly compared to the impact it had on 7).

Power usage, as measured in kWh

I’m planning to do the Umbraco 10 upgrade on this site in the next week or so which could improve that performance even further. So yes, coming back to the original clickbaity-sounding headline, by itself this one site may not make a big difference on a global scale (though it may make a difference to my personal electric bills). But when planning out new builds of current Umbraco 6 and 7 sites for the day job, I’m actually factoring in just how much we can reduce server requirements at the same time now or switch to burstable performance hosting. So if you can imagine multiplying this same reduction up across thousands of sites, with people across the community making the same sorts of migrations over the coming year or two. If we can all see this sort of reduction in resource requirements, then while I can’t guarantee Umbraco could save the planet, we could certainly make a good start in improving it!

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