power usage effectiveness (PUE)

Power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a metric used to determine the energy efficiency of a data center. PUE is determined by dividing the amount of power entering a data center by the power used to run the computer infrastructure within it. (Continued...)

Power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a metric used to determine the energy efficiency of a data center. PUE is determined by dividing the amount of power entering a data center by the power used to run the computer infrastructure within it. PUE is therefore expressed as a ratio, with overall efficiency improving as the quotient decreases toward 1. PUE was created by members of the Green Grid, an industry group focused on data center energy efficiency. Data center infrastructure efficiency (DCIE) is the reciprocal of PUE and is expressed as a percentage that improves as it approaches 100%.



How to Determine PUE

1. Take a measurement of energy use at or near the facility's utility meter. If the data center is in a mixed-use facility or office building, take a measurement only at the meter that is powering the data center. If it is not on a separate utility meter, estimate the amount of power being consumed by the non-data center portion of the building and remove it from the equation.

2. Measure the IT equipment load after power conversion, switching, and conditioning is completed. According to The Green Grid, the most useful measurement point is at the output of the computer room power distribution units (PDUs). This measurement should represent the total power delivered to the server racks in the data center.

According to the Uptime Institute, the typical data center has an average PUE of 2.5. This means that for every 2.5 watts in at the utility meter, only one watt is delivered out to the IT load. Uptime estimates most facilities could achieve 1.6 PUE using the most efficient equipment and best practices.

This was first published in April 2009

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