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Facebook Launches Dashboards for Data Centers

Facebook Launches Dashboards for Data Centers
April 18, 2013 3:06PM

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Facebook Sustainability Program Manager Lyrica McTiernan Facebook is doing this because "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 has also shared the building and hardware designs, again through the Open Compute Project.

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Want to know more about the efficiency of Facebook's data centers? On Thursday, the social networking giant launched public dashboards for two of its data centers.

The dashboards show the efficiency metrics for Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE) at its data centers in Prineville, Ore., and Forest City, N.C. There are also graphs showing historical views over 7 days, 30 days, 90 days and 1 year, and readouts of the the temperature and humidity at the centers. The company advised that, since the centers are not yet fully completed, the values may vary wildly at times.

The company said that when its Lulea, Sweden, data center comes online, its stats will also be made public. Additionally, Facebook has said it will open-source the front-end code for the dashboards, so that any data center can share the information. The code will be made available within the next few weeks through the Open Compute Project's GitHub repository.

PUE, WUE

The PUE was developed by The Green Grid to measure data center efficiency, and it represents a ratio of total power consumed by a data center to energy delivered to the servers. The ideal is 1.0, in which all of the power reaches the equipment. In the real world, best practices for data centers is 1.5. On Thursday afternoon, the Prineville Center was showing a real-time value of 1.06.

The WUE, also created by The Green Grid, is a ratio of data center water use to the energy delivered to the servers. As a new metric, there are no generally accepted industry standards or baselines. The Prineville center showed a real-time value of 0.82 on Thursday afternoon. The dashboard also shows the annualized values over the last 12 months which, for Prineville, was a PUE of 1.09 and a WUE of 0.52.

The Green Grid Association, a non-profit, open industry consortium of more than 175 member companies, works to improve the resource efficiency of information technology and data centers.

Open Compute Project

On the Open Compute Project organization's blog, Facebook Sustainability Program Manager Lyrica McTiernan wrote that the company is doing this because "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." The company has also shared the building and hardware designs, again through the Open Compute Project.

The Open Compute Project is a Facebook initiative started by the small team of Facebook engineers that designed the Prineville data center from the ground up. As noted on the Open Compute Project Web site, the team "started with a clean slate," so it had total control over the entire data center and could custom-design servers, power supplies, server racks and battery backup systems to be the most efficient and economical possible.

As a result, the project reports that the Prineville data center, for instance, uses 38 percent less energy to perform the same functions as Facebook's previous facilities, and costs 24 percent less. The Open Compute Project makes those full specs public, takes suggestions for improvements, and invites collaboration to "collectively develop the most efficient computing infrastructure possible."

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