Analyzing Data Center Energy Consumption By Using Business Metrics

About five years ago, the industry first heard about Digital Service Efficiency (DSE) – a method that was designed by eBay to help the company capture a holistic picture of their data center energy consumption and performance.

The initiative was then made public in an effort to assist other organizations establish their own data center energy consumption benchmarks and goals, and compare live system performance against those benchmarks and goals to determine actual efficiency levels.

While they tracking their data center’s power usage effectiveness (PUE), which illustrates how efficient a data center’s electrical and mechanical systems are, they felt like something was missing. Calculating PUE didn’t offer them insight into how efficiently their data center equipment (such as servers) was being used. The DSE initiative was formed to fill this gap.

Earlier this year, the team of eBay engineers who created the DSE initiative received a patent for it. With this news, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the data center productivity metric they introduced a few years ago. Even though it was created based on eBay’s core competency – e-commerce – there are still some lessons to be learned.

In eBay’s case, to measure performance and data center energy consumption, they chose to specifically measure how many online business transactions are completed per kilowatt-hour consumed. They calculated this by analyzing four metrics:

  1. The type of performance they wanted to measure (transactions, or the number of online purchases and sales)
  2. Cost per transaction (they measured cost per megawatt-hour, per user and per server)
  3. Environmental impact (amount of carbon dioxide produced per transaction)
  4. Revenue per transaction (they measured revenue per transaction, per megawatt-hour and per user)

Then they base their data center improvement goals around those metrics – goals like reducing cost per transaction by a certain percentage, for example, or increasing transactions per kilowatt-hour by a certain percentage.

The organization believes that, by substituting your own unique business metric in place of the metric they used – online business transactions – you’ll be able to create your own, unique way of measuring data center productivity and efficiency, too.

What performance metric could you use to measure and benchmark data center energy consumption? Here are a few ideas:

  • Healthcare: number of patients seen or number of appointments set
  • Hospitality: number of guests who stay onsite or number of reservations
  • Manufacturing: number of widgets produced
  • Financial: number of transactions

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Supporting Your Future of Network Technology: 6 Ways to Design Layer 0

The year 2014 was a key moment for the structured cabling industry. That is when the number of devices on the Internet officially surpassed the number of people on the Internet. In other words, we’re carrying and using more connected devices than ever before. Since then, Internet of Things (IoT) has begun to take over conversations about technology. Digital buildings – which feature a connected infrastructure to bring building systems together via the enterprise network – are moving to the forefront.

With these changes, how can you design your cabling infrastructure – your layer 0 – to support network technology changes? Every structured cabling system is unique, designed to fit a company’s specific needs. Taking the future into account during cabling projects helps maximize your investment while decreasing long-term costs. With correct planning and design, you’ll be ready for future hardware and software upgrades, be able to support increasing numbers of devices joining your network and will be set to accommodate higher-speed Ethernet migrations, such as 40G/100G.

We have gathered our best pieces of advice on how to design your layer 0 to support the future of network technology.

1. Abide by Cabling Standards

To provide guidance and best practices for the lifetime of your layer 0, following standards for structured cabling systems allows for the mix of products from different vendors and also helps in future moves, adds and changes:

  • TIA , North American standards for things like telecommunications cabling (copper and fiber), bonding and grounding, and intelligent building cabling systems
  • ISO/IEC, global standard harmonized with TIA networking standards
  • IEEE, which creates Ethernet-based standards for networks and relies on TIA and ISO/IEC layer 0 standards

2. Invest in High-Performance Cables

When your cabling system is designed to be used across multiple generations of hardware, it can remain in place longer while supporting fast and easy hardware upgrades.

Analyze how your business is currently run, as well as any expected business or technology shifts in the years to come. Then match these requirements with the performance characteristics of the cabling systems you’re considering.

Make sure that the category cabling can:

  • Support the full 100m distance per channel
  • Accommodate a tight bend radius inside wall cavities and other tight spaces
  • Support the highest operating temperature rating possible with low DC resistance
  • Maintain excellent transmission performance
  • Be bundled or tightly packed into trays and pathways without performance issues

Most Category 6A cables offer all of the benefits mentioned above, making Category 6A a solid decision that will support the future of network technology.

3. Find a Reputable Warranty

One of the best ways to ensure that your cabling and connectivity solutions will last is to find products that are backed by extensive and impressive warranties (such as a 25-year warranty).

When layer 0 is properly designed and installed, the structured cabling system will support your short-term and long-term needs. A reliable warranty ensures that this happens. For example, with a 25-year warranty, the installed system should meet or exceed industry standards for 25 years, as well as support future standards and protocols. If this isn’t the case, the manufacturer should address the issue.

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