In the data center world, “PUE” (Power Usage Effectiveness) has been a big thing over the past few years. The lower your PUE, the more “effective” and efficient your data center… meaning, the less the customer pays for power (in theory) and the more money a provider can make by both lowering their cost to deliver power and increase the amount of power they can turn around and sell to a customer within their data center.

I recently found out that the online payment processing and e-commerce giant eBay has developed their own version of PUE, a new metric by which they measure their own “effectiveness” within a data center. They call it DIGITAL SERVICE EFFICIENCY or DSE for short. Though you’ll see that this clearly isn’t a feasible replacement for data center owner/operators, I highly encourage you to check it out at and definitely read their “About the Dashboard” page. In short, having come close to optimizing the physical infrastructure used to process each transaction, they are now measuring how much power is consumed by each transaction that takes place within all their online properties.

DSE is also now being leveraged as a tool to put responsibility back onto the software development teams to produce more efficient code. To this end, simply “throwing hardware at the problem” will not be an acceptable solution as this will only increase the total power consumption required per each transaction. I expect those who are scale and maintain a large degree of control over their environments (Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, ect.) will follow in time with similar metrics. Will also be interesting if they’re as forthcoming and transparent with their information as eBay is being…


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