Green Grid Publishes New Data Center Power/Cooling Metric

New standard combines three key metrics—PUE ratio, IT Thermal Conformance and IT Thermal Resilience—to supply needed real-time visibility into data centers.

The Green Grid has published a new, real time multi-metric view of data centers called Performance Indicator that will provide a broader understanding of a data center's cooling performance and enable managers to take more informed decisions to maximize performance.

The Green Grid is a seven-year-old consortium of data center-related technology companies dedicated to creating standards and metrics to improve efficiency in hardware power draw and cooling.

The new addition to the metric library released July 18 builds on the success of the Grid's PUE (power usage effectiveness) standard with its focus on power ratios (PUEr) to include IT thermal conformance and resilience to demonstrate performance during both normal operations and in failure scenarios.

PUE is a ratio of total facility power divided by IT equipment power. Ideally, it should be less than 2-to-1; the closer to 1-to-1, the better.

Combines Several Factors

Currently, the PUE metric is most commonly used to assess the data center's resource demands and has been a useful tool for large organizations to achieve improved industry energy efficiency targets. However, the absence of any other viable metric has opened the door to criticisms centering on its inability to account for other important aspects of performance.

The new Performance Indicator will enable data center operators to predict the impact of proposed changes before implementation and choose configurations that deliver the best combination of efficiency, resilience and conformance for the organization.

The Performance Indicator combines three key metrics: PUE ratio, IT Thermal Conformance and IT Thermal Resilience. These metrics were developed to adequately reflect how equipment is cooled during normal operation, maintenance conditions, and failure scenarios to ensure that the assessed facility maintains its ability to house and protect IT equipment throughout its life.

Additionally, using these metrics will allow data center operators to visualize the impact of changes they make to maintain acceptable thermal performance, while improving energy efficiency.

Operators 'Searching for Comprehensive Understanding'

"The desire to maintain and improve data center performance is a key objective for the data center operator," said Roel Castelein, the Green Grid's EMEA marketing chairman. "The added demands of availability, capacity and sustainability placed on the data center have left many operators searching for a comprehensive understanding of their facility.

"Rather than completely build the Performance Indicator metric from the ground up, the metric has been created to address the most critical aspects of a data center's cooling performance. While PUE is an effective step forward to measure current-day energy efficiency, in order to establish a more complete view of facility cooling, the requirement to calculate cooling effectiveness and the data center's future thermal state is also critical."

As demands increase to better understand a data center's resource efficiency, the need to define new metrics will also be required, Castelein said.

"The real strength in the Performance Indicator for data center operators is its ability to be easily scalable and accommodate additional new metrics in the future, as they are defined," Castelein said. "This will ultimately increase the scope of productivity for data center organizations, as well as preventing the criteria from becoming out-dated for modern data center demands.

"On top of this, organizations' attempts to strive for efficiency often results to IT equipment being compromised from a cooling perspective, further highlighting the need for additional assessment methods."

Go here to download The Green Grid's full report on the Performance Indicator.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...