Mark Fontecchio: Does data center uptime affect energy efficiency?
The federal Environmental Protection Agency recently found that a data center's uptime has no statistically significant effect on its energy efficiency. But does the claim hold water?
At first blush, it would seem that uptime would hurt data center efficiency. Typically the more uptime a facility has, the more redundancy it has to build in to account for equipment failure. But that apparently is not as large a factor as other design elements.
"Tier level was not a huge predictor of energy performance," said Alexandra Sullivan, an engineer in the EPA's Energy Star program for commercial buildings. "When we looked at the data, we did not observe a significant relationship between tier and energy use."
The data was collected between March 2008 and June 2009. For the study, Energy Star looked at more than 100 data centers to determine their energy efficiency. The agency is using the information to create an Energy Star standard for data center facilities, which will be released on June 7. The software will allow companies to rate their data center's energy efficiency from 1 to 100, a scale similar to that for other commercial buildings.
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