Since 2006 (if not earlier), IT heavyweights including IBM, Dell, Microsoft, and Google -- along with companies representing a variety of industries -- have embraced the modular data center concept. Now an upstart of sorts has entered the fray with a modular data center design that could be a game-changer, if third-party tests are to be believed.
Skanska USA, the American arm of the global construction and engineering giant, has announced a new modular data center system called eOptiTrax that reportedly operates at a remarkably low mechanical PUE of 1.012. (Note the word "mechanical" preceding PUE.)
It's a bold claim -- one that Skanska is going so far as to guarantee -- and researchers from the University of Maryland are backing it. "We test systems from manufacturers across the globe," said Ming Zhang, who led the tests. "These PUE readings are at least four times more efficient than simply moving air under ideal conditions, and much more efficient than traditional systems designed to the same level of reliability."
Importantly, the 1.012 measurement reflects the system's mechanical PUE, which only takes into account how watts are being used to power and cool equipment; traditional PUE also factors in how much is wasted through a facility's power distribution system. Even so, a mechanical PUE of 1.012 is pretty impressive, considering the industry average mechanical PUE ranges from 1.4 to 1.6. The combined PUE for the system ranges from 1.07 to 1.1, according to Lee Kirby, vice president of strategic operations, which is nothing to sneeze at. (In general, PUE scores need to be consumed with a grain of salt anyway.)