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Compute More, Consume Less: Smart Policies Unleash Data Center Productivity

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Compute More, Consume Less: Smart Policies Unleash Data Center Productivity

Standard measures of data center efficiency focus exclusively on how a computing infrastructure uses the power flowing into it. Given that many data centers are reaching the limits of their power and cooling capabilities, these are important metrics. However, a second and equally important consideration can also affect the balance sheets: server utilization. To unlock the true potential of the data center, enterprises must shift their focus from power consumption patterns to the overall productivity of their IT environments.

In this interview, Dr. Albert Esser, vice president of power and data center infrastructure solutions at Dell, discusses several key topics related to overall data center effectiveness, why utilization is so important to data center productivity, and how organizations can dramatically improve their data center productivity while still staying within the boundaries of limited power supplies. For example, Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE)—the industry-standard metrics commonly used to measure data center effectiveness—can be misleading, because they are not designed to capture actual productive work being performed. A new metric proposed by Dell, data center performance per watt, captures not only power efficiency, but also the effectiveness of computing resources in doing actual work. Similarly, the metric of data center IT utilization captures how effectively a data center takes advantage of compute power already in place.

These metrics can help identify ways to improve infrastructure efficiency and increase IT productivity. Following key best practices—including optimizing data center temperature, utilizing best-practices data center design, and optimizing utilization through virtualization and regular hardware refreshes—can help organizations increase data center productivity and reduce power consumption to meet compute demand for years to come.

By Dr. Albert Esser

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