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Major Data Center Performance Metrics

March 2012 - Data Centers


What are the major metrics data center managers should analyze to understand how their data centers are performing?

A.    First: Total Power supporting data center compared to IT Power (UPS power support critical load).
B.    Second:  UPS power input compared to UPS power output.
C.    Third: Cooling power compared to Cooling Tonnage in Operation.

It would be prudent for data center managers to track the noted metrics on a weekly basis. Graphical representation of these performance parameters speak volumes in securing capital to upgrade, modify and replace infrastructure so as to improve reliability and preserve OPEX. Once these high level metrics are in place it would be prudent for data center managers to review the methodology for conditioning the data center environment (air & power) with an industry expert where space temperature/humidity and power conditioning is evaluated to determine their efficacy. Moreover, data center managers should consider adoption of the latest ASHRAE TC9.9 environmental parameters, particularly humidity thresholds against the equipment providing humidification. Legacy humidification is typically accomplished via infrared or stream humidification while new ultrasonic methodology accomplishes superior results at approximately 93% higher efficiencies. Furthermore, data center managers may want to review ventilation techniques for their data center securing an evaluation of heat recovery techniques for conditioning fresh air via existing data center computer heat loads. The approach may eliminate the use of heating energy sources such as electric, gas, and oil for winter outside air tempering. Return on investment analysis with total cost accounting is necessary. And, the application variable speed drives, on nearly all mechanical equipment, should be assessed and include research into incentive programs from local utilities. Of course, actual load analysis by an experienced professional should be pursued.

Answers provided by Paul Mihm, PE, executive vice president, Rubicon Professional Services





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