PUE Hype and Setting Realistic Expectations

Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) is a metric created by The Green Grid to determine the energy efficiency of a data center. PUE is a ratio, with overall efficiency improving as the quotient decreases toward unity.  In other words, PUE measures the extra power needed to power, cool, protect, and manage the IT load in a data center.

Since the issuance of PUE, many data center managers are under pressure to drive the PUE of their facility lower.  The notion of driving energy efficiency is a noble one, but the drive toward a PUE target is not a pragmatic endeavor.

PUE should be viewed as a tool, not a destination.  While the PUE is based upon very simple math, PUE comparisons are very difficult.  In fact, it’s dangerous to compare PUE values between data centers because so much depends upon where (with respect to the facility infrastructure) PUE readings are taken, as well as which data center energy components are included in the scoring.  There are simply too many variations from facility to facility and from operator to operator to know if one has a true “apples to apples” comparison.

Modularity and Emerging Trends in Data Center Design

TrendData Center Dynamics is always a great reading on the pulse of the industry, and the December, 2010 conference in Richardson Texas set the sounding board for contemporary developments in modularity and efficiency in data centers.  The following are thoughts and reflections on the discussions held during the conference.

Data Center Design:  From Traditional to the Future

The shift in computing paradigms over the past fifty years has, to some extent, followed generational timelines.  Early in the computing evolutionary timeline, computing and storage existed in a centralized in a consolidated data processing footprint, optimized for efficiency driven by high cost of systems.  End users reached their data and application through thin client devices.  The upfront costs for hardware and software were very high.