Power Usage Effectiveness

What Does Power Usage Effectiveness Mean?

Power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a metric used to determine energy efficiency measurements. PUE is calculated by comparing the total power used by a data center to the actual power delivered to a computing device. This ratio was developed by a group of members from a consortium called The Green Grid, an industry group that primarily focuses on data center energy efficiency. The total infrastructure power is the total power entering a data center, which is measured at the utility meter. The total IT equipment power is the power used to run the computer equipment within the facility. Both are measured in kilowatts.


Techopedia Explains Power Usage Effectiveness

The PUE is the predominant metric used for measuring data center efficiency. In the last few years, PUE has gained huge popularity, becoming a widely used metric for measuring energy efficiency.

The power required for IT equipment covers all the IT devices such as servers, storage, switches, printers, work stations and USB devices that are used in delivering a software product and applications. The total facility power includes all the power used in cooling, air conditioning, lighting and the uninterruptable power supply. The TFP measurement is taken directly from the energy meter that controls the power supply to the entire data center facility.

Ideally, the value of PUE should be 1. For example, if a facility has a PUE of 2, it indicates that the amount of power used to run the IT equipment is half of the power consumed by the entire data center facility. Therefore, a lower PUE value indicates a more efficient data center.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.