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Facebook Unveils Live Dashboard for PUE, Water Use

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A look at the new Facebook dashboard reporting its data center efficiency metrics.

The era of real-time data has arrived for the data center industry’s leading energy efficiency metric. Facebook has launched a public dashboard that provides up to the minute data on the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of its first two company-built data centers in Oregon and North Carolina. The social network is also providing data on its use of water, a topic of growing interest in data center design and operations.

Facebook isn’t the first company to make its PUE data public, as Google has been publishing its data center metrics since 2008. But with the new dashboards for its server farms in Prineville, Oregon and Forest City, North Carolina, Facebook is presenting “near real-time” data that includes the temperature and humidity at both sites, which is useful for analyzing the impact of environmental variables on data center efficiency. The dashboard features detailed data on the past 24 hours, as well as separate charts that allow users to review performance data over longer periods, ranging from 7 days to 1 year.

The PUE metric compares a facility’s total power usage to the amount of power used by the IT equipment, revealing how much is lost in distribution and conversion. The Prineville data center has had recent PUE measurements as low as 1.06, while the Forest City facility has recent readings of about 1.10. Once the Facebook data center in Luleå, Sweden comes online, the company will begin publishing data for that site as well.

Facebook is also advancing the use of Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE), a metric that was developed by The Green Grid to measure a facility’s impact on the local water supply. Some approaches to data center cooling use large volumes of water that can impact the local supply of potable water and test the capacity of area sewage systems. Facebook was among the first companies to report WUE.

“We’re proud of our data center efficiency, and we think it’s important to demystify data centers and share more about what our operations really look like,” Facebook’s Lyrica McTiernan wrote on the Open Compute Blog. “Through the Open Compute Project (OCP), we’ve shared the building and hardware designs for our data centers. These dashboards are the natural next step, since they answer the question, ‘What really happens when those servers are installed and the power’s turned on?’ ”

To encourage other data center operators to follow its lead, Facebook said it would make available the code used to create the dashboards.

“We’re excited about sharing this data, and we encourage others to do the same,” writes McTiernan. “Working together with Area17, the company that designed these visualizations, we’ve decided to open-source the front-end code for these dashboards so that any organization interested in sharing PUE, WUE, temperature, and humidity at its data center sites can use these dashboards to get started. Sometime in the coming weeks we’ll publish the code on the Open Compute Project’s GitHub repository … We encourage you to treat this as a starting point and use these dashboards to make everyone’s ability to share this data even more interesting and robust.”

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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