The Green Grid has developed a new multi-metric view that will provide a broader understanding of a data center’s cooling performance and enable data center managers to take more informed decisions to maximize performance. The new addition to the metric family builds on the success of PUE 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. The 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.

Commenting on the development of the Performance Indicator, Roel Castelein, EMEA marketing chair of The Green Grid said, “The desire to maintain and improve data center performance is a key objective for the data center operator. 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.”

The latest metric has been built off existing models also created by The Green Grid, including The Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and the Productivity Indicator. Currently, the PUE metric is most commonly used to assess the data center’s resource demands and has been a positive tool for large organizations in achieving 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.

To address these concerns and better understand a data center’s performance, 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.

As demands increase to better understand a data center’s resource efficiency, the need to define new metrics will also be required. Roel continues, “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. This will ultimately increase the scope of productivity for data center organizations, as well as preventing the criteria from becoming outdated for modern data center demands. On top of this, organization’s attempts to strive for efficiency often results to IT equipment being compromised from a cooling perspective, further highlighting the need for additional assessment methods.”

Mark Seymour, CTO at Future Facilities and chair of the white paper concluded, “The Performance Indicator makes it easy for data center operators to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of their data centers. To achieve the best results for their business, it is important they consider future operations rather than solely focusing on the present day. The Performance Indicator allows these critical business decisions to be made based on scientific assessment, rather than relying on historic PUE and guesswork.  Now, facility managers will be able to have a clear view of what needs to be improved and the impact these changes would have on the entire ecosystem. This will ultimately add a level of protection and reassurance for data centers, while retaining the focus on energy efficiency and cooling.”

To download The Green Grid’s full report on the Performance Indicator, please click here