Date: 3rd September 2012
Metrics, they are not always perfect, but are a useful tool for us to measure our performance and improvement. PUE is a commonly used metric in the data centre industry, but there is room for more – and one of the most promising is called FVER.
PUE (power usage effectiveness) measures the waste in supporting mechanical and engineering equipment by assessing the ratio of overall power to IT equipment power. Despite a little marketing abuse and users moving some of their loads into the IT equipment, PUE has been a success for the industry, driving common M&E efficiencies from wasteful to rather efficient.
Now, enter a new metric supported by the British Computer Society’s Data Centre Specialist Group, Fixed to Variable Energy Ratio, or FVER for short. FVER is not to be ignored; it’s the brainchild of Liam Newcombe, the man who led the best practice element of the EU Code of Conduct for data centres. FVER attempts to target waste in the whole system (software, hardware, M&E and all) like PUE targets waste in M&E. FVER assumes your data centre is made up of a sum of two loads, a fixed load that would exist if the data centre was inactive, and a variable load that would be maxed out when the data centre was full to capacity.
Keysource says: Anything that joins all the elements of the data centre is always going to give a more balanced view of the overall strategy, but it will still be necessary to drill down and identify key areas to focus on.
The main challenge will be the need for organisations to take a joined up approach when measuring performance. However, we are still seeing many companies not even monitoring their M&E systems effectively or failing to use what data they do have to drive improvement.
Research conducted by Keysource suggests that an inadequate understanding of data centre performance is preventing many facilities from operating more efficiently, with only a third of owners and operators saying that they actively undertake data centre monitoring and measurement of their operations. With this in mind, there will need to be a major step change within the industry before this new metric can be widely adopted.