There’s an often-used management dictum that says you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and it certainly applies to data centers.
It is important for data center technicians to understand the capacity and resources required to operate a data center facility as it is the prime most factor to understand about the consumption of these resources. Consumption of resources and the quantity of byproducts the data centers produce are proof to how much green the building is. The reason to measure data center efficiency is quite obvious. But the data centers in reality don’t seem to take notice of this radical necessity.
Elements to measure in a data center
After understanding the importance of measurement of critical elements in a data center, it is important to take note of the individual elements, and their impact on various other upgrades.
The Energy Factor: Energy is the primary element that needs to be monitored in a data center. Effective monitoring of energy should be capable of answering questions like- How much energy does the facility house, and how much energy is consumed by the IT equipment and other ancillary devices like cooling systems and lighting.
It is vital to measure energy for several reasons-
- Power is a data center’s most valuable resource: The big energy demands of today’s high performance servers means most data centers will run out of power well before cabinet space or cooling. Even if you aren’t interested in green considerations, measuring energy usage is critical to understand the true capacity of the room.
- Power is the common element among disparate data center subsystems: Air handlers, servers, and overhead lighting are all different infrastructure of a data center, so different that they’re each installed and maintained by personnel trained in separate disciplines, yet they all need power to function. Measuring energy consumption creates a common standard by which you can tell how much they’re each drawing upon your overall data center capacity.
- Power consumption is the most expensive overhead cost of a data center: By measuring the specific energy usage of various data center components and applying the regional cost of electricity, you should be able to calculate the total monthly expenses of the components. This enables you to target which data center subsystems have the potential to save energy and money through energy efficiency programs.
- Power consumption largely defines a data center’s environmental impact: The amount of power that a data center uses on a day-to-day basis determines how much irreplaceable fossil fuels it consumes and the quantity of carbon emissions it is responsible for.
Because of these four conditions, green data center improvements that conserve energy provide some of the largest benefits to your business. Measuring power in your data center is, therefore, also the best way to appraise that value and understand the real impact of those green improvements.