There are lots of complex metrics that datacenter operators and equipment vendors use to justify the cost of uptime. These metrics are usually based on lost productivity and general valuation of how much business is done on an annual basis. But eBay has a much more easily defined metric; every second of every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, they average $2000 in transactions on their worldwide sites.
This makes the cost of downtime not only incredibly expensive but also instantly noticeable at the bottom line. So you would expect eBay to be exceptionally conservative in their choices relating to their back-end operations. But this hasn't been the case, as eBay has been extremely aggressive in utilizing green technologies with the construction and operation of their latest datacenter. An effort that has culminated with the LEED Gold award presented to the facility last week.
The green features that eBay has highlighted about this latest datacenter include:
- The collection of rainwater to offset city water use
- The ability to use low outside air temperatures to reduce electrical costs for cooling our servers
- The use of low emitting materials throughout construction
- The use of over 20% recycled and regional building materials in the facility construction
- The use of a chemical free water treatment system
- Best practice heating ventilation design for office space comfort
They've also elected to use 400V power distribution in their datacenter which increases power supply efficiency and removes a layer of transformers that would otherwise be required. But the unsung hereo in the datacenter is the management side. With the way that eBay has instrumented the datacenter they collect information over the entire ecosystem (over 200,000 measurement points) multiple times per second and maintain an adaptive, proactive management scheme that optimizes the efficiency of their datacenter.
The management value can't be understated; power management systems in the datacenter are a rapidly growing market share because they are an absolute requirement for the best possible datacenter operation.