The Raritan Blog

Data Center Energy Productivity (DCeP) - The New Metric on the Data Center Block

Posted on April 21, 2014 by Paula Alves

Improving energy efficiency has continually challenged data center managers over the past decade. At the heart of the matter lies the ongoing debate as to what exactly is the best metric or combination of metrics by which to monitor performance and make improvements.

Up until now Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) has been the most common metric used. However, PUE has inherent limitations that the industry has attempted to overcome by introducing new metrics such as Green Energy Coefficient (GEC), Energy Reuse Factor (ERF), and Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE). 

The new Data Center Energy Productivity (DCeP) metric is an attempt to offer a more complete measure of data center efficiency.  In contrast to PUE, which only compares total power usage to the amount of power used by IT equipment, revealing how much is lost in distribution and conversion across the board, DCeP takes a more holistic approach.
DCeP, as defined by a global taskforce from The Green Grid, quantifies the ‘useful work’ that a data center produces based on the amount of energy it consumes.  Most interesting is that DCeP allows every data center to define “useful work” as it applies to its own business. And in addition to using DCeP, the taskforce recommends that the various data center dimensions be viewed in a multi-parameter framework. 
 
The concept is reminiscent of eBay’s recent unveiling of a methodology they have coined Digital Service Efficiency (DSE).  DSE lays out the most important dimensions eBay data centers track into a single dashboard: performance, cost, environmental impact, and revenue.  The dashboard draws direct connections between performance and cost, providing insights that have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.
 
While DCeP provides flexibility in allowing each business to define useful work, there are still several hurdles to overcome - inconsistencies in data center comparisons, for instance. But, even so, in its announcement about DCeP, Green Grid appears hopeful that these inconsistencies can be smoothed out over time ultimately providing the industry a better way to make energy efficiency improvements.
 
Of course, it’s important to note that you can’t manage what you don’t monitor. That is why data center infrastructure management software is an excellent starting point who those who aren’t quite ready to implement new or existing data center energy efficiency metrics.  As is often said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Begin your journey toward data center energy efficiency with DCIM.  Visit http://www.raritandcim.com/product/energy-management

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