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Lack of KPIs shows holes in datacentre efficiency

Most datacentre operators see the benefits of efficiency metrics, but somehow fail to include them in their key performance indicators

The Green Grid has criticised IT teams for using the least relevant metrics when measuring datacentre efficiency key performance indicators (KPIs).

Most IT departments are positioning total datacentre power consumption and total datacentre power usage as primary indications of efficient stewardship of environmental and corporate resources, The Green Grid claimed.

It argued that these metrics are too broad.

A survey of 150 IT decision-makers for The Green Grid found that although most recognise that a broad range of KPIs is useful in monitoring and improving their datacentre efficiency, many have yet to implement these.

The survey found that while 88% of respondents regarded water usage effectiveness (WUE) as a useful metric, only 27% measured water usage in this way.

Power usage effectiveness (PUE) was considered important by 82% of those surveyed, but only 29% said they used it.

The Green Grid also found that 70% of IT decision-makers considered carbon usage effectiveness (CUE) a useful metric, but only 35% actually measured it as a KPI.

Also, almost three-quarters (71%) of the respondents thought measuring temperature was a useful metric, but only 16% actually measured their datacentre temperature as a KPI, according to the survey.

Roel Castelein, Emea marketing chair for The Green Grid, said: “The reason for limited adoption may come down to the perception that implementation will have a negative impact on capex and opex. This doesn’t have to be the case.

“With enough resourcefulness and datacentre knowhow, you don’t necessarily have to be a big spender to increase your datacentre efficiency and therefore save money and do less harm to the environment. Oversimplifying or even focusing on a single metric can create wider business issues as key factors are ignored. The impact is very real, however.”

Cooling was one of the areas that could benefit from better measuring, said Castelein. “Significant cost savings and sustainability progress can be made with the judicious application of meaningful analysis, metrics and clever ideas,” he said.

Read more on Datacentre energy efficiency and green IT