Data center facilities pro

Jul 6 2009   4:28PM GMT

Emerson energy exec calls for data center water metric

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Jack Pouchet, the director of energy initiatives for Emerson Network Power, is calling for a new metric measuring a data center’s water use as compared to its productivity (measured in Emerson’s own Compute Units per Second).

In a column in Environmental Leader, Pouchet writes that water could be “the next oil,” meaning that the availability of water is often difficult for many in the world, especially clean drinking water in developing nations. Pouchet suggests that the data center industry should be more cognizant of the water it’s using to cool IT equipment, and adding a water use metric to the current Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric — which compares facility energy use to IT energy use — is a good start.

From Pouchet’s column:

It is time for the data center industry to formulate a Water Systems Productivity metric (WSP). Take useful work or even a proxy for useful work, such as the proposed Compute Units Per Second, and divide that by the amount of water used during the period. Water may be measured in units, with 1 unit equal to an acre-foot. However, gallons/liters is also acceptable.

This WSP metric would ideally be reported monthly with your other metrics. Once we start to measure and report water utilization, we will quickly realize that simply flowing more cooling water in order to “economize” may not always be the best answer. Now we will be able to have a meaningful tool to determine the ideal mix between dry-coolers, CW plants and evaporative cooling towers compared to the increased energy used with alternative solutions.

2  Comments on this Post

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  • TexasEd
    Will they also count the water used at your local electric utility to generate your power? It may be possible to have a net savings of water if you reduce your electricity consumption through the effective use of evaporative cooling at your data center. Anyway, ignoring the water used by your electric utility would pretty much totally invalidate Pouchet's initiative.
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  • Darveniza
    I read the column and I am suprised that Jack P did not make mention of the poretty extensive exchnage done in the Data Center Dynamics forums on this topic were we defined the name of the metrics, etc. HP has already presented a white paper on the subjecct.
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