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GCN : April 2013
he key to improving data center efficiency is finding that right metric, but that's not as easy as it once seemed to be. The problem is that agencies are beginning to think in new ways about the data center, even as they are trying to meet growing demand for the applications and services they provide. At the same time, technolo- gies that once were a secondary consideration are now taking a more central role in the data center. For example, as virtualization is increasingly used to enable higher workloads and better utilization, virtualized storage has moved into the spotlight. Using a mix of storage technolo- gies also can improve data center ef ciencies. Many organizations are now considering such things as tiered storage arrangements as a way of reducing costs, moving often used data to faster and more power- hungry drives, but putting the major- ity of the rest of their data to slower and higher density storage. Given the growing importance of storage, the Green Grid, an inter- national industry consortium, has proposed the Data Center Storage Ef ciency (DCsE) metric as a way for data center operators to help identify inef ciencies in their stor- age resources. The Green Grid is best known for developing the Power Usage Ef - ciency (PUE) metric, which has been a major driver for improving data center ef ciency since it was pub- lished in 2007. PUE represents the ratio of the total power used to run the data center facility, including that for lighting and cooling, to the power used just to run the IT equipment. The Green Grid has proposed other metrics as well, including some "green energy" ef ciency metrics, such as green energy coef cient (GEC), energy reuse factor (ERF), and carbon usage ef- fectiveness (CUE). The consortium said the new metrics "go a long way in addressing the limitations of the original PUE metric, which only really measures how ef ciently the energy consumed is being used." But some experts challenge the focus on energy efficiency. David Cappuccio, who is respon- sible for data center research at Gartner, thinks that while PUE is great for improving energy costs, it does nothing to help agencies get the most out of the IT re- sources they own. Instead, he proposes using a rack unit effectiveness (RUE) met- ric. Based on the same optimal/ actual usage concept behind the PUE, his RUE would measure how much of the available rack space is being used. Sponsored Report THE EFFICIENT DATA CENTER: OPTIMIZATION Data center efficiency: It s all about the metric FULL REPORT ONLINE Go to GCN.com/2013EfficientData 2. Rethinking data center efficiency 3. Virtualization: The key to driving efficiency 4. Storage plays starring role in efficiency efforts 5. Is the containerized data center an answer? Other The Efficient Data Center: Optimization Report Articles