Power Assure raises $13.5M for greener data centers

Data center energy efficiency startup Power Assure has raised another $13.5 million to scale up sales of its software that makes data centers more energy efficient. Electricity consumption of data centers has become a growing problem, and total electricity use by data centers in 2010 was 1.3 percent of all electricity use for the world, and 2 percent of all electricity use for the U.S. according to a study by Jonathan Koomey. Power Assure has now raised about $30 million from investors, including ABB, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Good Energies, and Judith Point Capital.

Think of Power Assure’s product as data center power like video-on-demand. So, say, in the middle of the night, when few web users are pinging websites, Power Assure’s service can dial down the energy consumption of the servers in the data center appropriately, and when there’s a sudden spike of traffic in the morning, the service can quickly ramp capacity back up. Most data centers are typically using just 10 percent of their capacity, yet running servers and the data center at full power. That’s highly inefficient, costly, and bad for the planet.

The key to Power Assure’s technology is the smart algorithms it has created to monitor and control energy usage in the data center in real time. The company starts out by installing one or two appliances in a customer’s data centers which sit on Power Assure’s management network and gather information about the demand of the customer’s web sites, as well as the power usage of the servers, cooling system and networking gear. Power Assure’s system then uses its algorithms to, in essence, dynamically match the website demand in whatever metric is available (such as cost per click, number of users or number of sessions per minute) to an appropriate level of utilization for the servers, cooling and networking gear.

Power Assure’s service can save data center operators 50 to 60 percent in energy costs without having a negative impact on service.

Image courtesy of The Planet.