Does the electricity usage reading on your data center utility meter accurately reflect the power which is flowing to your network infrastructure and related equipment?
Are you trending near to what the Uptime Institute says is the industry average PUE level of about 1.7? Are you even tracking PUE in your facilities?
There are several factors which influence Power Usage Effectiveness and one of the primary ones is the quality of the data center wiring which your facility is equipped with. Getting all the wattage from the street to your building, and to the equipment within, takes modern, reliable wiring.
Here’s why you should care about PUE and how wiring plays a pivotal role in attaining optimal PUE efficiency.
Why Data Center Executives Should Care
About 72 percent of companies responded to an Uptime Institute survey saying they measure PUE. 82 percent of those who said they measure PUE were executives. The surprising statistic in this survey was only 60 percent of enterprise customers, outside of the finance and colocation industries measure PUE. This bodes well for customers of colocation service providers, but many companies may not be getting the electricity from their utility provider that is reflected on their billing.
PUE is the ratio of Total Facility Energy compared to IT equipment energy.
For many companies, monthly electricity costs don’t come out of their IT budget, they come out of the overall Operations or Facilities budget.
IT managers may not have visibility into their energy consumption, relative to how much is being delivered to their servers, cooling equipment, network hubs, and switches. Having ongoing dialogs between these departments is vital. To set the bar for efficient energy best practices, Google manages PUE frequently. It rates power distribution as one of the five critical factors in optimizing PUE. With effective wiring, cooling, and airflow, Google saves $30 per server per month by optimizing PUE.
Why Wiring Matters to PUE
The best data center wiring emits minimal heat, delivers the most power to the target appliances, and isn’t connected to “comatose servers” which are no longer in use.
Effective placement of Uninterruptible Power Supply and breaker panel units relative to wiring, and keeping wiring and plumbing isolated, are some best practices from the Green Grid association.
If your data center facility was built in an older, repurposed building, ensuring the wiring can meet the necessary load demands of your technology infrastructure is key. Though the investment of rewiring may seem costly at the outset of building your data center, in the long term, the investment will pay for itself a number of times over.
Here are some great data center wiring tips from TechRepublic:
- Keep power and Cat5 cabling separate, as they may leach signal
- Test cabling repeatedly with installation
- Measure wiring twice and cut once while installing it. Having too much or too little wiring for the space needed is wasteful
- Plan wire routing carefully
Your data center can have high-performance utility providers, yet if your power wiring doesn’t have enough throughput capacity to deliver it where needed, you will be wasting a great deal of capacity and money.
Also investigate the efficiency of the transformers and/or Power Delivery Units (PDUs) which are installed in or around your facility. You might upgrade your data center wiring, but still not achieve the data center PUE goals you establish for your company if transformers or PDUs aren’t efficient.
Have you been testing your data center wiring quality to ensure the ideal PUE? What steps have you taken based on the results you’ve seen? Tell us about it in the comments section.
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