What Is Power Usage Effectiveness?
One of the terms that often come up in IT is power usage effectiveness, often abbreviated as PUE. This is an important term to understand for all companies, and it becomes even more important for data centers. This is because data centers are buildings that draw a substantial amount of power. Depending on the size of the data center, it might be using as much as 100 times the amount of energy as an average office building, and this number continues to rise.
How Does the Data Center Determine Power Usage Effectiveness?
The PUE is a measure of the overall amount of power that is delivered and divided by the amount of power that is used to run all of the machines within it. This will determine just how efficient a data center actually is or isn’t. The PUE will be expressed using a ratio.
To determine the PUE, the data center will measure energy use at the meter. They will also need to estimate how much of the power used at the facility is not used by the data center. After all, they likely have other operations that are running, such as their security services. They will want to remove that amount of energy from the equation.
People at the data center will then measure the amount of equipment load after any power conversions, switching, and conditioning is completed. There are many different types of equipment that will need to be included, and some facilities will naturally have more than others will.
There are many elements with the potential to change the PUE. For example, when more machines are added or taken away, and when there are more energy-efficient machines brought into the mist, it can affect the results of measurement. Ideally, as machines in the coming years start to become more energy-efficient, we will see the PUE of more and more data centers improving.
One of the methods that could be used to help improve power usage effectiveness is through proper, controlled cooling. Everyone knows that it is important to keep the machines nice and cool, so they operate properly and not overheat. However, in many cases, data centers are overcooling the machines, and they are not following the hot/cold aisle configurations. They could be spending too much power on cooling that is not needed, which is going to be inefficient. This is something that data centers will have to be aware of when they are looking for ways to improve their efficiency.
Many data centers today are paying very close attention to their PUE ratio, as they want to drive their number down to as close to 1.0 as possible. This would mean that the facility is operating at 100% efficiency and that all of the energy they are bringing in will be properly used by the machines they have set up and running.