Friday 30 March 2012

PUE = 1

Well, next week I'm off to the 451 HCTS summit at the Russell Hotel in London followed by an Concurrent Thinking event on the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres. This has set me thinking this week about the real future for data centres. Many consultants in the field will talk about energy efficiency as being getting the PUE as close to 1 as possible and I note that there is an ongoing ratings battle between google and facebook about whose PUE is better, as if it mattered!
It doesn't, as we all know (don't we!) PUE is the ratio of the total energy into a facility divided by the amount of energy that is used by the compute function (if you don't know then visit the Green Grid website)
This is expressed as a single number 2, or 3 or 1.16 or whatever, but it is NOT a measure of energy efficiency or indeed energy usage, it is just a number, and if I wanted to get pedantic I'd say that PUE is variable, as it actually is, because it is dependent on two factors, the first being the external temperature of the facility, as this links directly into the way your cooling system operates, warm outside, controls set to 21degrees, chilling will take place, 5 degrees outside, controls set to 21, no chilling takes place, thus colder outside less energy being used in chilling. So external temperature will affect your PUE, as will what your IT is doing, take for example 3 pm on the last Saturday before Christmas in a retail environment, lots of electronic transactions flowing through your payment systems, linked into your logistics systems for re-ordering etc, and you have a large IT load, contrast with 2am on a Sunday in August, do you think it's going to be anywhere near the same? Of course not, its going to be less or more depending on how your IT is used to support the business and the outside temperature, so PUE is variable and that delta could be quite wide so it amuses me to see the marketing spin put on the PUE figures. Another factor is two completely different organisations using PUE to trade insults "my PUE is smaller than yours" etc when their facilites are NOT comparable, a small retail chain for instance that has say 200 shops compared to a large cloud type search engine with multiple locations, but with huge facilities, say 100,000sq ft plus. The PUE cannot be used to compare, in fact the Green Grid website makes this very clear indeed, so marketing people huh? what can you do, well start by not spinning the truth would be a good start.
Anyway, I digress, the purpose of this blog is to think about those facilites whose PUE =1, WOW! 1 meaning that ALL of the energy in to the facility is going directly (do not pass AHU's, UPS, CRAC's Chillers etc, go directly to) IT. What does this mean? well it means that your facility is going to be using full fresh air, as it comes in from the outside, maybe with a filter to block those nasty particulates that reside in the atmosphere, and that you haven't provided any UPS's, so you're going to be at the will of your electricity company, and most importantly that you've saved money, and lots of it, and you continue to save it for every year that facility is operation (over your peers that is).
The capex costs of NOT providing resilience is something that you are going to have to explain to your IT and finance directors, ultimately its down to your risk appetite, can you withstand the loss of your facilities for the amount of time your power is down, do you have adequate backup, is your network resilient enough to go off site to a cloud facility to provide continuity? Do you in fact need to have compute on site? why not stick it all in the cloud and let them worry about the resilience, then because you only have network and the odd non cloudable app in your onsite facility, and you can get rid of that nasty HVAC system, that costs you the same as your IT to run and maintain.
If we all move to the cloud for our compute, we only need network, but that puts us in jeopardy, as we are now dependent on other organisations to support the platform that supports your business, its all down to risk.
I'll be at the event next week, please come and talk to me if you're there, it'll be emotional....

Tuesday 13 March 2012

A Broadband Saga

Some of you may have seen some of my more vicious tweets to Sky and BT over recent weeks, and believe me they well deserved it, we were left without broadband services for over a month due to what can only be described as a complete and utter customer service failure.
Apparently, and I do not believe a word of it, Sky were unable to provide Broadband services at more than 0.3MB, this from a line that up until changeover from BT had been able to provide close on 2MB.
So, unwilling to go cap in hand back to BT to change back again we decided to see if any of the mobile broadband providers could offer us a deal.
Yes, it turns out they could, we had a 3 dongle for use on trips to London etc that was costing the company £14 odd per month, 3 upgraded the dongle to their new wifi dongle with speeds up to 20MB+ (when the cell is upgraded) which arrived when they said it would. We can connect up to 5 devices to it (which at the present time is more than enough) and we're getting more than 2MB at the present.
So, we've saved the £17 per month on the fixed broadband service, getting a faster upload and download speed and touch wood getting a better service and should get an even better service in the future.
If you're having problems with your broadband service, go see what the mobile providers can offer, you may be surprised.

Good Luck

Friday 2 March 2012

Its getting better and better.

I'm creamed, absolutely creamed, since the start of the year I've been rushed off my feet.
First off, CEEDA, or the Certificated Energy Efficiency for Data Centres Award, this is a BCS initative and basically means that your data centre is assessed against a series of energy efficiency best practices that is closely linked to but not part of the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres, and I'm very sure that I've blogged about this previously.
Anyway, its gone mad, we have 5 assessments reserved, and at least another 5 where we are waiting on various contracts, board approvals or more information required. Its look like I'll be spending a lot of time overseas as well, as a number of potential clients are abroad.
Anyway, if you want your data centre assessed, contact me directly and I'll pas your details on to the engagement manager.

I was down at DCW this week, thats Data Centre World, met a lot of friends and business partners and was very well looked after by Simon Allen and Tom Absolom thanks guys!
Anyway, I'm going to cut this short and go look at a tender, as usual, no peace for the wicked.

Next Time..