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What is PUE and How Can You Optimize it?

One of the important steps involved in maintaining an energy-efficient data center is in measuring it periodically to know where it stands. Only then can necessary steps be taken to reduce the consumption of energy and bring down related costs.

Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) is one such standard used for determining the energy efficiency of a data center.

Measuring PUE

PUE is defined as the ratio of the total facility energy to the IT equipment energy and is represented by the formula: PUE = Total Facility Energy / IT Equipment Energy

With PUE, the lower the better. In other words, if the PUE quotient is lower, the efficiency is higher. An ideal PUE is 1, or 100% efficiency.

While PUE can be measured by assessing the IT loads at the UPS and PDU levels, the most advanced and accurate way of measuring it is by assessing the IT load at the input point of each equipment entered rack PDUs.

Factors Affecting PUE

A number of factors affect the PUE of a data center. This includes:

  1. Location of the data center and weather conditions

  2. Datacenter design

  3. Energy-efficiency of servers and other equipment used

  4. Effectiveness of cooling solutions

Optimizing PUE

While all the aforementioned factors play a significant role in determining the PUE of a data center, it is also important to follow energy conservation best practices that can also help in optimizing PUE.

Additionally, here are some tips that can help you optimize PUE without having to make drastic changes to your data center:

Re-evaluate your payload power

By virtualizing more workloads, consolidating your virtual machines, and in general, keeping your IT equipment in the best condition possible, you can lower the amount of power used by them.

Get rid of zombie servers

Zombie servers are dormant, “comatose”, or “undead” servers in a data center that simply sit and consume both physical space and power without running any compute load. Identifying and getting rid of them from your data center will go a long way towards improving PUE. To know more about zombie servers, click here.

Insulate with a terrace garden 

If your data center is located in a place with particularly high temperatures, the roof will absorb a great deal of heat. This, in turn, will cause your data center to require additional cooling, especially in the summer months. By creating a simple spread of vegetation over your roof and watering it regularly, you can bring down your cooling costs drastically.

Cut down on electrical infrastructure

To bring down the costs involved in electrical infrastructure and optimize the distribution system, make runs as short as possible by bringing the UPS directly to the equipment. If every server rack is connected directly to a UPS, minimizing power loss and resistance.

Modernize your UPS

Remember to use modern UPSs without transformers as they are more efficient in comparison to traditional ones that use transformers and large filters. Running the UPS at full capacity to match the system load requirement significantly improves efficiency.

Choose your server storage wisely

Opting for server racks with perforated doors can greatly ease the burden on your cooling investments. For example, the perforated server racks from Hardy Racks that come with an 86% perforation in the front and back doors easily dissipate over 3.5 kW of heat.

Going beyond PUE – Reuse Residual Heat

A few data centers are now pioneering the idea of reusing the residual heat produced as a by-product of the data center facility’s functioning. In other words, the exhaust heat can be rechanneled into energy which can, in turn, be used to power the data center. This accounts for the Energy Re-use Factor (ERF) of a data center, further cutting down costs.

For more tips on running your data center energy-efficiently, click here.

At Hardy Racks, we offer expert consultation services for setting up and maintaining energy-efficient data centers. But that’s not all; we also offer high-quality data center storage devices, power distribution units, and other accessories to help you monitor and enhance the efficiency of your data center on a day-to-day basis. Get in touch with us today!

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