Google Data Centers More Efficient Than the Industry Average

[qi:053] Google today released the findings of some of its internal research, which shows that the company runs some of the most efficient data centers in the industry, without resorting to exotic techniques. The findings were based on the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric, which is defined as the ratio of the total power consumed by a data center to the power consumed by the IT equipment that resides inside of it. For instance, a PUE of 2.0 means that for every watt of power needed to run equipment, it takes an additional watt to cool and distribute power to that gear.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2006 U.S. data centers had, on average, a PUE of 2.0 or higher, a number the agency expects to decline to 1.9 by 2011. Some newer data centers, meanwhile, will hit a PUE of 1.3. “We’re happy to report that today, on average for all Google designed data centers, we meet the EPA’s most optimistic scenario for 2011,” Google noted in the report, which involved looking at six of its data centers over a period of six months. And indeed, some of its newer data centers were found to have the lowest PUE.

We’ve achieved state-of-the-art efficiency by optimizing IT hardware and data center infrastructure end-to-end. The energy-weighted annual average PUE for six large-scale data centers reached 1.21, and some facilities reach quarterly PUE values as low as 1.13. Through these efficiency efforts we save hundreds of millions of kWhs of electricity, cut our operating expenses by tens of millions of dollars, avert the emission of tens of thousands of tons of CO2, and save hundreds of millions of gallons of water.



By looking at Google’s expanding data center operations and its growing power needs, it’s easy to see why the company has taken a leadership role in clean technology. Katie, Craig and Celeste follow its activities on our cleantech blog, Earth2Tech. As Katie points out today, Google was the second most-active VC investor in cleantech in the third quarter.