Modular Data Center Saves 19% in Energy, Study Proves

by | Aug 21, 2013

IO modular data centerA third-party evaluation by Arizona Public Service (APS) showed that a modular design in IO’s Phoenix data center has achieved a 19 percent energy cost savings quantified by its improved Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) ratings.

APS’ findings confirmed that IO’s manufactured, modular approach at this location is more efficient than the traditional raised-floor data center environment.

APS analyzed 12 months of data from both IO.Anywhere modules and the traditional build-out located at the IO Phoenix data center. APS monitored PUE for calendar year 2012 and found the Data Center 1.0 (traditional build-out environment) had a PUE of 1.73, while the Data Center 2.0 (IO.Anywhere modular data center) had a PUE of 1.41, both below the industry average of 1.8-1.9 for traditionally designed data centers.

PUE is an industry measurement of how efficiently a data center uses power; specifically, how much of the power is actually used by the computing equipment. The portion of PUE above 1.0 denotes energy not going to IT equipment, and that’s where efficiencies can be found. IO reduced this portion from 0.73 down to 0.41 in its switch to the IO.Anywhere modular data center, a 44 percent reduction in energy spent on infrastructure versus primary business applications. That efficiency gain with the modular design translates into an annual savings of $200,000 per MW of average IT power.

An energy efficiency program manager at APS is assessing the appropriate rebate for IO’s efficiency work under the utility’s Solutions for Business program.

IO Phoenix utilizes both traditional and modular data center environments, providing a unique position to partner with APS on a comparative PUE evaluation. The following parameters were put in place, so APS and IO could create an “apples to apples” comparison rather than comparing disparate geographic locations with different operations staff. The local temperatures, humidity, IT load and operating practices can affect PUE and it would be misleading to compare PUEs among different data center locations. The APS calculation measured energy efficiency of the IO real-world production data center running a mix of enterprise equipment and applications – not specialized, single purpose environments.

  • Same Geography. All numbers from the report come out IO Phoenix, which contains traditional 1.0 and modular 2.0 data centers.
  • Same Chiller Plant, Shared chiller plant – same efficiency for both environments.
  • Same Building, Same Envelope. The IO.Anywhere modules are housed in a data center, though not all of the company’s deployments have this “nested” scenario.
  • Same Operator. IO operations staff monitor and maintain both environments on behalf of customers and IO.
  • Utilization: Current utilization of a 200 kW IO.Anywhere data module was used to project annual savings.

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