When analyzing the effectiveness of a data center, one of the most critical components to consider is Power Usage Efficiency(PUE), a metric used across the board by mission-critical facility implementation teams, data center owners and operators, and C-level executives to assess a data center’s current and potential energy efficiency. When used properly, this information can be leveraged to produce a stronger, more efficient mission-critical environment, gain a deeper understanding of competition, and open the door to exploring options for added efficiency improvements such as data center renovations, new builds, or migrations to the cloud or a third-party service provider. In order for a facility to both evolve and adapt to ever-changing industry climates and customer demands, a deep understanding of what lies under the hood is vital to its success, and data center PUE is no exception.
PUE is by definition the ratio of total energy consumption of a data center including all fuels, divided by the total energy consumption of IT equipment. It was first developed by the Green Grid Association in 2007 and quickly became the go-to metric adopted globally to definitively measure and track data center energy efficiency. Originally designed as an end-user tool to assist data center operators, today PUE has been implemented throughout all facets of a facility, providing many benefits to data center owners and operators for the duration of a data center’s lifecycle. Since PUE is such a versatile tool, understanding how to properly use it with respect to the different stages and segments of a facility’s lifecycle is an important step to reaping the highest capacity of its benefits.
Below, we will provide insight into how some of the key stakeholders in the data center’s lifecycle, including designers, operators and C-suite executives, view the importance of PUE and how each party uses PUE to satisfy their demands and the demands of their customers.
When designing a data center, those in charge of creating a plan that is elegantly simple yet highly effective are faced with a difficult task. The design features must drive energy efficiency and innovation, while upholding maximum uptime and simultaneously protecting against outage threats. Through the use of PUE metrics, a balanced approach can be developed with clearer insight into how a data center will eventually perform, making it easier to implement a fresh, energy efficient mechanical/electrical system.
Utilizing environmental factors as well as documented, low-risk strategies such as increasing the supply air temperature and/or chilled water temperatures are some of the ways that many designers effectively save overhead costs on energy every day. To produce optimal results, the design team should adhere to Green Grid’s PUE definition of components during design and analysis and properly define source energy to ensure their initial calculations will match ultimate operational results. With PUE in mind, designers have the right information and knowledge to expertly select the best options for reduction of overall mechanical system energy use, while reducing risks to uptime.
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