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Console management can help IT leaders get beyond PUE

By Max Burkhalter
February 14, 2013

Power usage effectiveness is among the most common data center efficiency metric. Though it has its uses, the measurement tool is often fairly limited, especially becausemany organizations use it as a primary assessment of sustainability. Using PUE this way can limit energy-efficiency gains in the data center. However, looking beyond PUE and focusing on more sustainable operations can pave the way for more environmentally friendly operations. Console server architectures can play a major role in making this happen.

Looking closely at PUE
According to a recent report from The Data Center Journal, PUE is an inherently flawed metric and usage scenarios are already showing its problems.

All that PUE measures is the amount of energy that used compared the electricity needed to power IT equipment. As a result, a PUE of 1.0, meaning an organization is only using as much energy as it takes to keep systems running, is ideal. This is limiting, however, because it does not take how efficient actual IT systems are.

The news source said this issue can lead to many problems. To illustrate this, it explained that an organization can upgrade its IT systems to use power more efficiently. This can be a costly, but important sustainability improvement in many data centers. However, such an investment can actually hurt an organization's PUE rating because the IT infrastructure would need less energy and the PUE ratio would tilt in a problematic direction.

Conversely, an organization can run extremely energy-hungry infrastructure that is not necessary and improve its PUE even though the data center is actually less environmentally sustainable.

Another major problem with PUE is its role as a marketing tool. The Data Center Journal explained that many organizations will manipulate the system created by PUE to make themselves look like they are leading the charge toward more sustainable data center systems. This gives them marketing hype that can detract from industry sustainability goals.

Moving beyond PUE
Overcoming the limitations of metrics like PUE depends on introducing solutions into the data center that actually improve functionality in a way that is conducive to environmental efficiency. Console management systems can accomplish this by giving IT managers the control they need to operate facilities more effectively. Since console servers can be used to control everything from virtual machine configurations to physical aspects of the data center, they can be used to enable more sustainable operations in many areas.

Perle's wide range of 1 to 48 port Perle Console Servers provide data center managers and network administrators with secure remote management of any device with a serial console port. Plus, they are the only truly fault tolerant Console Servers on the market with the advanced security functionality needed to easily perform secure remote data center management and out-of-band management of IT assets from anywhere in the world.


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