ICT Capacity and Utilization Metrics: Your Means for Communicating Capacity and Effectiveness

By Rona Newmark

The Green Grid recently developed metrics to help Information and Communications Technology (ICT) organizations improve the effectiveness of their operations. Why? With the right view of energy consumption, efficient ICT can do more than help reduce costs and environmental impact, it can also help decrease the physical footprint and unit count of ICT equipment in data centers. Ultimately, this can mean postponing and even avoiding capital expenditures and reducing administrative and licensing fees, and other operating costs such as energy consumption. 

In developing these metrics, we sought to balance simplicity and correctness with usability, and accuracy with practicality. It is not our intention to replace the expertise of knowledgeable operators and administrators or the use of detailed capacity planning and troubleshooting tools, or provide a detailed look at the utilization and capacity profile of individual pieces of equipment. Instead, we sought to give operators a way of communicating capacity and efficiency to senior management, to offer indicators of need and of progress, to assist in articulating the efficiency of the ICT investment, and most of all, to flag high-potential bottlenecks for further diagnosis. 

In this white paper, we view the data center is a single “black box” that delivers ICT services to its users or line(s) of business. To measure ICT capacity and utilization, we proposed an ordered set known as a “tuple.” One set of values describes the compute, memory, storage, and network capacity of the black box, and the other describes the utilization of each of those service capacities. The white paper describes how the values in the tuple for both the capacity and utilization metrics are measured and calculated, and it provides guidance on how they should be used. 

We recently held a webcast about these metrics where one attendee commented, “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!” I hope you too share the same sentiment in applying these metrics. Like PUE has helped with reducing energy wasted in inefficient data center power and cooling infrastructures, we see a real opportunity for these metrics to help data center owners/operators get a more holistic view of ICT capacity and utilization to aid in better decision-making and understanding down the road. 

Graph depicts an example of actual and target ICT utilization, with the efficiency metrics visible both numerically and as the ratio of the two colors.

Click here to view the metrics. This white paper is free to members. Non-members may purchase the white paper for $100.