The relevance of PUE

By Tom Jacob

The rapid expansion of the internet together with the declining cost of computation (in energy terms the performance per watt) has resulted in an exploding demand for servers. These servers are becoming denser and each rack requiring more energy, and creating more heat. Being able to meet the power and cooling requirements of a modern rack and managing rising energy costs are resulting factors of a more efficient data centre.

This efficiency can be measured and tracked using the power usage effectiveness (PUE), which is a measure of how efficiently a computer data centre uses energy; specifically, how much energy is used by the computing equipment (in contrast to cooling and other overhead).

PUE is much like the energy star rating that you see on white ware appliances. The lower the number the more efficient the data centre is. Low PUE translates to direct savings for customers and this measure should be at the top of the list when evaluating data centres.

The definition of PUE was established by a non-profit organisation called The Green Grid. Founded in 2007, their mission is to become the global authority on resource efficiency in information technology and data centres collaborating with companies and specialists all over the world.

10 years ago a PUE of 2.0 was pretty typical but by today’s standards is quite inefficient. The goal is to get the PUE at 1.5 or lower. In addition this should be auditable and readily available to show customers.

At Orbit our Auckland based data centre facility, we designed the PUE to be 1.5 and today we are achieving monthly PUE’s as low as 1.3. The current rolling 12 month PUE is below 1.5, and hence exceeding design specifications.

We invite you to tour through Orbit or Kapua our Hamilton based data centre facility and our team will show you what to look out for when evaluating data centres.

Tom Jacobs is Datacom’s General Manager of Data Centres.

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