Power Management: The First Step in Data Center Sustainability

Josh Schaap
September 28, 2018

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It’s never a good feeling reading about a truly green data center, and then realizing just how far behind your own data center ecosystem is in its sustainability efforts.

Take Google, for instance. On September 14, Google announced a new commitment to achieving “Zero Waste to Landfill” in its data centers. As Google Technical Program Manager Rachel Futrell explained on the Google Green Blog, Google is striving to divert waste away from its data centers in a sustainable way. Six of its 14 sites are now achieving 100 percent diversion rates. Globally, Google is now diverting at least 86 percent of waste away from landfills. And Google wants to improve these figures!

“Sustainability doesn’t end with a really low PUE for our data centers,” Fuller stated.

That’s pretty impressive. But in a way, it’s like sitting next to the kid in class who is getting straight A’s and is volunteering for extra credit assignments. Your business, on the other hand, is using as much power as a small city.

We feel your pain.

PUE, in case you’re unfamiliar with the term, stands for power usage effectiveness. It’s a metric used to determine overall data center power efficiency. A PUE measurement of 2.0 means that for every watt of power consumed in the data center, an extra watt is deployed for power or resource distribution purposes.

It’s important to realize that Google has an average PUE of about 1.12, which means that almost all of its electricity is put towards computing. Most data centers hover closer to 2.0.

How is Google able to attain such a low rating? It’s simple: Google tracks and measures power consumption over time, and uses the data it collects to continuously reduce its footprint.

In other words, Google has mastered power management. And now, the company can focus on higher-level sustainability efforts without having to worry about being labeled a “green washer,” or a company that claims to be sustainable but cannot provide evidence.

Here’s the good news:

You can master PUE in your data center, too, with the help of Server Technology’s Per Outlet Power Sensing power distribution units (POPS PDUs).

Here’s how it works:

Server Technology’s PDUs can report total power draw within each cabinet in your data center. Power draw can be tracked in real time, and on a historical basis. This data can then easily be compared with your facility’s total power draw. Once sufficient data is collected and analyzed, you can then determine an appropriate course of action for reducing total power consumption.

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