Caleb Tennis Metered Power

January 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Data Cave’s metered power offering can be a huge cost benefit to the end user.

Understanding Data Center Power

Each cabinet or rack installed in the data center needs power to operate.  Data centers generally charge for this power at a flat fee per circuit, based on the total capacity of the circuit.

When data centers charge for power in this fashion, their total charge must include 4 items:

  1. Their cost for the incoming power used in the circuit
  2. Their cost of the overhead for maintaining the power
  3. Their cost for the cooling required, since the power will turn into heat
  4. Markup

The above calculation is usually easy for the data center.  They know how much they are paying for power, they can factor in an overhead rate for the ancillary equipment (UPS systems, cabling, maintenance, surge suppression, etc).  #3, the cost for the cooling, is a bit tricker as it requires the data center to know how efficient their systems are to understand how much power is required to cool the IT systems.  Many data centers will estimate this, the most common estimation being the same cost as #1.  That is, there’s just as much cost in cooling the load as there is in heating it up.  While for well design data centers, that is not the case, it provides a rule of thumb that many follow.

Thus, the overall price a customer will pay for power is usually more than 2x the actual cost for just that power, simply due to the overhead.

Playing off inefficiencies

While the data center may provide a 120V/20A circuit, rarely are all 20A of that circuit used.  In fact, 20% of that circuit simply cannot be used, because of electrical code rules.  But furthermore, in many cases, a customer may only be utilizing a fraction of the total available power on a circuit.  This is common place in the data center, and it is also a big source of profit.

The profit stems from the fact that the data center is charging the customer for the worst case usage – that is, for 20A.  In reality, the customer may be only drawing 10A.  As such, the data center is profiting from the difference.  This profit comes from lower electrical usage, lower cooling usage, and lower total overhead.

While the overall cost and profit may be small at this scale, imagine a data center customer with multiple cabinets and multiple electrical circuits.  What if, instead of 1 circuit, the customer had 40.  And what if, on after, those circuits were only being 1/2 utilized.  The customer is overpaying for power that they are not utilizing.

Enter Metered Power

Data Cave’s electrical infrastructure was designed from the start for metering power at the individual circuit level.  With metered power, the end customer pays for power just like they were paying the electric company – based on actual consumption.  This billing arrangement can provide significant savings over a flat circuit fee, as the total consumption is aggregated across all customer circuits.

It also allows the customer better insight into how much power is actually being consumed.  It gives the customer feedback to know which systems draw more power, and which draw less.  Based on that information, a customer may be able to do a cost benefit analysis on when it’s time to replace systems with those that are more efficient – and reap the savings.

Metered Power

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