EBay develops 'miles per gallon' metric for data centers

by Mike Rinaldi on 3/11/13 2:21 PM

The auction site has shared a new methodology for tracking energy efficiency

By James Niccolai, Computer World

There's a maxim in the data center business that you can't manage what you can't measure, and eBay has come up with the mother of all measurement systems for calculating data center efficiency.

The online auction giant has devised a methodology that looks at the cost of its IT operations in dollars, kilowatt hours and carbon emissions, and ties those costs back to a single performance metric -- in eBay's case, the number of buy and sell transactions its customers make at eBay.com.

The result is a set of data that provides the equivalent of a "miles per gallon" metric for data centers, which organizations can use as a baseline to improve on over time, said Dean Nelson, head of eBay's Global Foundation Services, which manages its data centers worldwide.

"EBay is a single system, it's the sum of a million parts, and we needed a way to measure and convey the efficiency of this system," he said Tuesday at the Green Grid Forum, a data center efficiency conference in Santa Clara, California.

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Topics: Emerson Network Power, data center infrastructure, Data Center, Green IT, data center design, data center energy, data center infrastructure management, PUE, Containment, Green Technology

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