For all the number crunching that goes on in a data center, one number is often conspicuous by its absence: PUE (power usage effectiveness). PUE is a metric that shows how much of the power supplied to the data center is being used by IT equipment. While PUE has its critics, it remains a good benchmark that can help improve the energy efficiency of the data center facility infrastructure.
PUE was introduced in 2007. In 2010, we surveyed our audience to see how many facility managers had calculated the PUE of any of their data centers. Only 19 percent said they were using the then relatively new tool.
During the 10 years since PUE made its debut, many more data centers have started measuring PUE. But a new Building Operating Management survey shows there’s still a lot of room for improvement. According to the survey, only 53 percent of facility managers have calculated PUE for at least one data center. That’s a big jump since 2010, but it still means that almost half of the respondents aren’t using PUE.
PUE isn’t the only established benchmarking tool being neglected. Only 36 percent of respondents reported using Energy Star for their data centers.
Managing data center facility infrastructure is a complex, demanding job. And avoiding unplanned downtime is clearly the highest priority. But energy efficiency reduces operating costs and could delay the need for new data center space.Using a nationally recognized benchmark like PUE or Energy Star can help start the conversation about energy efficiency by indicating the scale of the opportunity for improvement. And benchmarking can be used to demonstrate success as initial steps are taken. In the best case, a low PUE or high Energy Star score may turn into a point of pride for the organization, while the effort to make continuous improvements becomes standard operating procedure.