Wednesday data center tidbits.

First up this morning, we have an article quoting a Microsoft person pondering about why many data center operators havn’t adopted any of the current data center “efficiency” metrics. It’s simple, the Green Grid’s PUE (power usage efficiency) and the EPA’s EUE (energy usage efficiency) are both a crock, since they’re ridiculously easy to game. Any data center energy efficiency metric that measures anything except total energy consumed vs total useful work achieved is misleading at the very best.

Vern, SwiftWater Telecom

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5 responses to “Wednesday data center tidbits.

  1. Christian Belady

    Who are you trying to game?

    • I don’t believe I said I was trying to game anyone. The fact that PUE is ridiculously easy to manipulate into an undeserved false positive combined with it being pushed as a marketing tool (“look at us, we’re greener than they are!”) is where the game is.


  2. Christian Belady

    oh I see, However, I would argue that companies that have adopted an efficiency metric such as PUE have substantially improved the efficiency in their operations and are more likely to change or adopt new technologies in the quest for improvement. However, I do believe that it is just one metric and you can’t evaluate any business on one metric. Just as with evaluating company on whether you should buy a stock, using EPS (earnings per share) is just one metric (that can be gamed per your definition) and it would be foolish to make a buying decision on that one metric. The same is true with any Metric in the data center….we need to look at it holistically and these metrics are just one of the tools for decision making. I think we both agree on that. Cheers.

    • As a limted internal tool to evaluate the effectiveness of changes to a single data center, I have no problem with the usefulness of PUE. As a tool to compare the relative green-ness of multiple diverse data centers, it’s misleading at the best.

      To be fair, I’ve criticized the EPAs EUE for the same issue and they’re specifically promoting that as a comparison method by awarding Energy Star ratings to data centers based on it. In my opinion, any metric that doesn’t apply the gold standard efficiency calculation (total energy consumed vs useful work produced) can’t be used to compare different facilities to each other. The current hype level of PUE is well out of control.

      I do agree on the need to consider multiple metrics, I just wish for one that will produce a result that can truly compare data centers apples to apples and put everyone on a level playing field.

      Vern, SwiftWater Telecom

  3. Christian Belady

    I completely agree with you on the ultimate goal….you’ll see I have been advocating that publically since Jan 2006 at the EPA Summit….look at slide 18 on the deck at:

    However, I would also argue that if we can’t get people to agree on something as simple as PUE or EUE, how will we ever get pople to agree on useful work produced. 🙂 People in various orgs are working this and finding exactly that…In the end of the day, we will get there but its going to take awhile.

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