The Extension of the PUE Metric from the Data Center to Buildings and Smart Cities/Grids

This audio was created using Microsoft Azure Speech Services

At the recent Data Centres Europe 2012 conference, Aaron Davis, CMO of Schneider Electric gave a keynote address about energy and the issues faced by the data center industry as data and services proliferate around the globe. Here is part one of this three part interview series with Davis.

Before his keynote, we met at the Schneider Electric booth and I asked Aaron, how well he thought that the Green Grid’s PUE metric is working as a measure of data center efficiency and whether he thought it had any limitations.

“Well just the very fact that we have a commonly accepted standard for tracking, reporting and creating a little market competition, is an incredible accomplishment. When you look back at the origins of PUE, you had multiple companies that didn’t like each other very much coming together to create an industry accepted metric.”

“What I see as very exciting about PUE is the whole concept extending to things like water, carbon, and the whole mentality that’s driven by the IT fast cycle time of ‘let’s measure, let’s get better, let’s measure again’ constant commissioning.”

“I think are some limitations now, very similar to the old school people when we used to speak about five nines; five nines of availability and reliability. The good thing about PUE is that we don’t have five or six decimal points! But there is a concept similar to what we saw with five-nines 10 years ago, of diminishing returns.”

“As you are getting down to PUE’s of 1.5 or 1.2 as standard, it gets to where you really have to question what that next point of PUE is worth; what do I have invest to get it? Versus, what I think is one of the more exciting things becoming apparent at this event, concepts like demand response, energy pool – how does the most energy intensive application that a typical city might have, which is the data center, fit into a bigger picture of energy management?”

“What are the opportunities for today’s data centers to participate in the very innovative ways to save energy and therefore save money, that are happening at that next level up? So PUE I’m really excited by and I think it really has been an important step. I think the step that follows next is expanding this concept to other areas, from data centers to buildings, to cities and hopefully up to the grid.”

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