So what is the cost of work in your datacenter?

eBay's DSE dashboard drills down for the information that will drive datacenter growth
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor on

Back in March I told you about the eBay Digital Service Efficiency dashboard, an interactive view into the cost and efficiencies of the eBay datacenters. On the 24th of May, eBay updated the DSE dashboard with the numbers for their first quarter of 2013, and they are definitely getting the kind of details that any CIO/CTO would love to be able to present to the rest of their executive board, as well as corporate investors.

To a certain extent, it’s surprising that some of this data is being made public; there are few companies that will just come out and say that revenue is down 17% on a per 1000 transaction basis while revenue per user remains steady. But they certainly would be leading with the fact that the per transaction and per server costs of operating their datacenters has been significantly reduced while they have grown their datacenters by more than a third. In fact, their 37% increase in the number of servers saw only a 16% increase in the power consumption of their datacenters, indication that their process for minimizing the non-IT power loads has been very successful.

The variety of information that eBay ghas been able to derive from this methodology is quite impressive. They have really taken to heart the necessity of determining how much work is getting done for the money being spent in the datacenter, not simply how to reduce the various performance metrics that the industry uses, such as PUE. For example, regardless of the cost of a kWh of power, they are able to determine that they have increased the number of transactions that that amount of power reflects by 18%. Same kWh as before, just much more work being done for the same cost, indicating significant efficiency improvement.

I could sit here and walk you through all the information on the DSE dashboard, but it would be a far better use of your time to just look at it yourself and think about the value that this level of information would bring to your business.


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