When considering a colocation provider, there are a number of metrics that need to be evaluated. One metric that many people overlook is the PUE, or Power Usage Effectiveness. Simply put, the PUE is a metric that quantifies the power efficiency of the overall data center operation and is expressed as a ratio between the power entering the data center over what the IT assets actually consume. According to the Uptime Institute, an enterprise data center industry group, the average data center PUE is 1.8.
In a typical data center, there is a significant amount of support equipment needed to provide the servers (and technicians that physically maintain them) with a suitable operating environment. This support equipment includes lighting, CRAC (computer room air conditioners), UPS (un-interruptible power supplies), chillers, cooling towers, security systems, and other PUE systems designed to provide an environment conducive to server up-time and reliability. The PUE concerns the efficient operation of this equipment and directly reflects the overall efficiency of the operation.
There are several very good reasons to be concerned about PUE. First, there is the bottom line. A lower cost of operation could easily translate into a lower colocation expense. Every dollar of electricity saved by the colocation provider can be re-invested in the operation to make it more reliable, more efficient, or both for you, the client. It can also serve as a hedge against rising energy prices which, in a less efficient center, would likely pass on to the client.
Second, government regulatory agencies, environmental management systems such as ISO 14001, and the Global Reporting Initiative are increasingly requiring organizations to report their carbon footprint. A colocation organization is considered a supplier to another firm and a part of the client firm’s company footprint. Thus, the vendor’s consumption of resources is attributed to their client’s as well. When considering your company’s environmental impact, your vendors matter. Obviously, from this perspective, it makes sense to choose vendors who demonstrate and practice world-class performance. The PUE is a good metric to help colocation clients make an informed decision.
Third, there is sustainability. There is a growing interest in sustainability in the business community and a growing demand from consumers for products and services that are considered “green.” Smart business owners recognize an opportunity to carve out a niche that differentiates themselves from their competition. Choosing vendors that use energy and other resources in a responsible way can translate into into increased profits through lower costs and increased consumer loyalty and goodwill.
There are many different factors to consider when choosing a colocation provider. A colocation provider with a world-class PUE has demonstrated a forward-thinking approach to future-proofing their business against rising energy prices, regulatory issues, and social responsibility. Such a provider may not have the lowest price, but will ensure that your IT assets continue to operate securely and efficiently, thus making you money.
Global Communication Networks has sourced, negotiated and project managed colocation and telecommunications projects all over the world. Should you have questions or need assistance on your next project please do not hesitate to contact me here.