Thinking micro about PUE

Thinking micro about PUE

Summary: You've doubtless heard of the power usage effectiveness (PUE) metric touted by the Green Grid, the U.S.


You've doubtless heard of the power usage effectiveness (PUE) metric touted by the Green Grid, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and others interested in the greening of data centers. That's the ratio that figures out how much facilities and cooling infrastructure is needed for corresponding technology infrastructure. Well, now one company is trying to take that concept to a more granular level with a new concept that it is touting as "Micro PUE."

This idea, proposed by vendor Trendpoint Systems, postulates that PUE should be applied for each individual cooling unit, rather than just as an aggregate number. The calculation measures that energy used by the cooling unit along with the heat removed by each unit. It's the same formula as PUE but focused down on the cooling unit level. "PUE is a nice metric, but it is a single number. It is difficult to get information from a true management level. Our whole focus is to get down to the granular level," says Trendpoint CEO Bob Hunter.

Sometimes a focus on reducing IT loads could actually raise an overall PUE number, Trendpoint notes. For some of the biggest potential impact, the focus should be on reducing cooling energy at a more detailed level, according to Hunter. Trendpoint outlines its ideas and some examples in a paper called "Micro PUE: The Key to Data Center Energy Savings."

Mind you, Trendpoint's theory is not self-interested. The San Ramon, Calif.-based company makes and sells energy management systems for data centers under the EnerSure line, which is essentially a smart meter for branch circuits. It provides the "ecometer" technology, if you will, that is used within technologies sold by CA and Schneider Electric (to name just two). Its customers include Facebook, the Federal Aviation Administration and VMware.

Topics: Hardware, Data Centers, Storage

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  • Micro PUE misses the point...

    In the end, the central "clients" of any datacenter are the CPUs, Memory, & Disk Drives. James Hamilton of Amazon has written extensively on the topic - if we can narrow ourselves down to these central components, we will be getting somewhere. That is not to say that the efficiencies of infrastructure components isn't applicable (it most certainly is), but the true goal is to deliver as little energy as possible to the computing components and, in parallel, ensure the optimal environment for them to do their work (you'll see some metrics out there talking about useful work, etc)...the cooling, heat extraction, etc.

    Cutting to the chase, the ultimate (IMO) shall reflect both the power source (carbon impacts), power delivered (transmission) to computing components (and all losses) and the power used to provide/maintain proper environment (this includes server fans ala JH's writings) - then we will truly understand how/where we can further optimize our Information Plants...

    Richard Donaldson
    CEO - Core4 Systems / 6connect
  • RE: Thinking micro about PUE

    There definitely needs to be more attention paid to the eco impact of computer and electronics. Looking into PUE is one way to get that started. Check out <a href="">income infuser</a> if you are looking to make money online.