26 April 2023

Calculating the Energy Efficiency Index of Data Centers

As the IT sector grows, the importance of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in data centers has become increasingly important. Kiwa has introduced a data center inspection service that adheres to the ISO/IEC 30134-2 and EN 50600-4-2 standards. We sat down with Bianca Ciarloni, Product Manager for Kiwa Italy's Personnel Certification & Inspection Division and Ugo Rossi, our Technical Inspector, to discuss the advantages for data center owners of requesting a data center inspection and the benefits of Kiwa's Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) inspection service.

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The advantages of requesting a data center inspection according to ISO/IEC 30134-2 and EN 50600-4-2

Ugo and Bianca explain: “The ISO/IEC 30134-2 standard defines the power usage effectiveness (PUE) of a data center and introduces PUE measurement categories. The EN 50600-4-2 standard provides guidelines for data center facilities and infrastructures. The advantages of requesting a data center inspection according to these standards include identifying areas for improvement in energy efficiency, reducing energy consumption and costs, improving reliability and availability of IT services, and ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.”

How Kiwa's PUE Inspection Service Works

The Technical Inspection process for PUE measurement in data centers involves examining the data center’s infrastructure, information technology equipment and information technology operations to determine their conformity with specific requirements or general requirements, based on professional judgment. The power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a metric used to determine the energy efficiency of a data center. PUE is determined by dividing the total amount of power entering a data center by the power used to run the IT equipment within it. PUE is expressed as a ratio, with overall efficiency improving as the quotient decreases toward 1.02.

The service is provided through specific measuring equipment installed by competent personnel while the process consists of these steps:

  1. Presentation of service, presentation of estimated costs
  2. Request floor plans and wiring diagrams of the data center
  3. Detailed design and actual cost calculation
  4. Having read and accepted the actual proposal by the customer
  5. Intervention planning
  6. Sensor installation intervention carried out by a specialized technician
  7. Design review of planned versus actually installed
  8. Measurement conducted by sensors automatically
  9. Removal of the sensors, thermographic detection carried out by a specialized technician
  10. Data analysis
  11. Report creation
  12. Report sent to customer

The installation and removal of the sensors do not require switching off the devices in electrical systems in compliance with the law.

Behind the Scenes of a PUE Inspection

During a PUE inspection service, areas of the data center that may be inspected include cooling systems, power distribution systems, IT equipment, and lighting. The inspection may also include an assessment of the data center’s energy efficiency and environmental impact.

Criteria Used to Assess Data Center Efficiency

The efficiency of a data center can be assessed using metrics such as Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) which provides a ratio of total facility power to the IT equipment power. Bianca and Ugo said: “The goal is to have the ratio come as close as possible to one, which indicates effective power usage. Other criteria that may be used to assess the efficiency of a data center include productivity, sustainability, and operations.” Kiwa uses inspection probes to measure the power usage of different areas of the data center.

Security Best Practices

To ensure the security of data in the data center, customers can implement several best practices. These include putting physical security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access to your network and data storage equipment, implementing and enforcing access restrictions, using the right security tools to report on and protect against security threats, ensuring endpoint protection by enforcing security policies across all devices that are used to consume data, regardless of the data location (cloud or on-premises) and protect data at rest by encrypting it at rest which is a mandatory step toward data privacy, compliance, and data sovereignty.

Bianca and Ugo conclude: “Data Centers, or the IT structures that house our data, are assuming a central role for any business, and their energy consumption is an important element to consider. Especially in the era of environmental sustainability. We can help you to make that transparent, both for you and your customers.”