A new global system has been proposed in order to rate the performance of colocation data centres

The iMasons Data Centre Performance Index (DCPI) aims to give colocation customers a way of seeing how data centres perform over time. It’s targeted at owners, operators, providers and site selection professionals. With the relevant knowledge taken into consideration, customers can then make a fair, informed decision. The DCPI also aims to provide a common mechanism for providers to showcase their performances to the industry.

The DCPI is the brainchild of Infrastructure Masons, a group of industry professionals who design, build and operate the technical infrastructure of the digital age. Its founder and chairman Dean Mason has put together a detailed plan of how the DCPI works, the reasons for introducing the index and initial plans.

The background to the DCPI is to ensure that the wrong choice of data centre isn’t made. Such a choice could impact upon business, customers and also revenue. So, a system has been introduced which applies letter grades to a data centre across three specific categories: Availability; Efficiency; and Environmental.

The first of these categories, availability, is the measurement of downtime (for example, loss of power, cooling, and fibre network which interrupt service). These elements constitute the availability score. The accompanying paper says that such losses can result in the loss of millions of dollars’ worth of productivity and revenue to data centre customers.

Data centres are built to power and cool IT gear, and so, the efficiency in which this capacity is delivered is the next category (measured in Power and Water Usage Effectiveness – PUE and WUE). The paper explains that the design of the data centre and how it is tuned over time will directly influence the DCPI efficiency rating. Customer operating expenses are affected by efficiency – the customer is usually charged rent for kW capacity and a kWh cost for power consumed.

For the environmental category, this considers the various waste streams generated by the large amounts of resources consumed by data centres and how the environment can be affected. The choices that the data centre providers make on how energy is sourced will thus impact on Green House Gas emissions attributed to that data centre customer in the calendar year.

Each of these categories is based on actual vs hypothetical performance. The metrics are intended to be of a high level, and which can be both easily interpreted by customers and easily implemented by data centre providers.

The initial roll-out of DCPI is targeted at colocation facilities, Mr Mason says that it can also be used by cloud and enterprise data centres.

The end result is that the ratings provide a level of confidence in data centre performance that currently isn’t available.