Data Center Performance Metrics: Understanding the KPIs

Posted by Duke Robertson on August 25, 2023

Data centers play a mission-critical role in the enterprise IT environment. For organizations in the co-location, hosting, or related business, data centers are central to their revenue model. Whatever category a data center falls into, top performance is the goal. Data center operators must track performance and other metrics over time to identify areas of improvement and determine the impact of environmental changes.

To that end, the data center industry has developed several key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure various aspects of performance. Although these KPIs do not cover every factor impacting performance, they help data center operators to make more effective, data-driven decisions.

Data Center Efficiency Metrics

Efficiency is a key metric used to evaluate data center performance. Here are five of the KPIs used to measure efficiency.

Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)

PUE is a ratio that measures the energy efficiency of the data center. It is calculated by dividing the total energy used by the facility by the amount used by IT equipment. If all energy is delivered to the computing equipment, the ratio will be 1.0. A more realistic target is a PUE of less than or equal to 1.4 for a new data center or 1.5 for an existing facility.

Space Capacity and Utilization Metrics

Optimizing floor and cabinet space is essential for effective capacity management and planning. By tracking available floor space, operators will know how many more cabinets can be deployed. Tracking available cabinet space by rack unit lets operators know how much capacity they have for new IT equipment.

Physical and IT Resource Capacity

Operators need accurate, real-time information on the amount of power, cooling, and connectivity capacity available to determine if and where to deploy new IT equipment. Resource capacity KPIs also enable operators to locate resources and reserve resources.

Peak Power Load per Cabinet

Knowing how much power is available in the facility and how much each cabinet uses is essential. By measuring the active power readings from rack PDUs, operators can locate stranded power capacity and use power more efficiently. Per-cabinet power metrics also enable operators to improve uptime by setting alerts for critical loads.

Power and Data Ports Availability Metrics

Identifying cabinets with the most available power and data ports enables operators to implement new equipment where resources can be used most efficiently. This KPI also allows operators to reduce operating expenses and make more-informed capacity planning decisions.

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Data Center Operations Metrics

Data centers must be well-managed to deliver optimum performance. Operators should collect data on maintenance activities, service level agreements, documentation accuracy, security procedures, staff training, and more. Analysis of this data helps determine the maturity of operational processes and identify areas of improvement.

Data Center Sustainability Metrics

Data centers are some of the most power-hungry buildings on the globe. They currently consume two percent of the world’s energy. By 2030, that number is expected to reach eight percent. Operators need to keep data center sustainability top of mind to continue scaling their facilities and, more importantly, keep their carbon footprint as small as possible.

Many organizations have set aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become carbon neutral. At a minimum, data center operators strive to utilize renewable energy sources as much as possible. Key sustainability KPIs include the facility’s total carbon footprint, the ratio of green energy sources to the total energy consumed, and water usage.

The sustainability consortium, “The Green Grid,” has spearheaded the creation of several key metrics to help measure data center resource efficiency. One such example is the aforementioned “power usage effectiveness (PUE)” metric, and another is below:

Energy Reuse Effectiveness (ERE)

ERE measures how spent energy is reused in a data center or the surrounding area. For example, waste heat from cooling solutions can be used to heat offices instead of having it go to waste. To calculate ERE, you must first establish an energy reuse factor (ERF) by dividing the reused energy by the facility’s total energy used. You then multiply the facility’s power usage effectiveness (PUE) by the energy reuse factor to get your ERE.

Enconnex Can Help You Maximize Data Center Performance

Enconnex offers an array of products to help you hit your KPI targets. Our new InfiniRack data center cabinet is configured-to-order and ships fully assembled for minimal time-to-value. Its high-quality construction provides excellent static and dynamic (rolling) load capacities and maximum usable width and depth. Its unique frame design features integrated, recessed PDU mounting brackets for unobstructed device access. Robust thermal management, cable management, and power options are available. Contact one of our data center infrastructure specialists to learn more.

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Posted by Duke Robertson on August 25, 2023

Duke is the Vice President of Product Management and Marketing at Enconnex. He brings over 25 years of experience in a wide range of disciplines including product management, design, manufacturing, and development. Previously, Duke was at Chatsworth Products where he spent 14 years managing all products for cabinets, communication infrastructure, and containment

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