Computerworld - There's a maxim in the data center business that holds that you can't manage what you can't measure, and eBay has come up with a new metric designed to make it easier to measure -- and therefore manage -- data center performance.
The online auction service looks at the cost of IT operations in dollars, kilowatt hours and carbon emissions, and then ties those costs back to a single performance metric -- the number of transactions its customers conduct on its website.
The result is a "miles per gallon" type of metric that eBay can strive to improve over time, said Dean Nelson, head of eBay's Global Foundation Services unit, which manages the company's data centers worldwide.
"EBay is a single system; it's the sum of a million parts, and we needed a way to measure and convey the efficiency of this system," he said at a recent conference hosted by the Green Grid Forum.
EBay published the methodology for calculating the metric, called Digital Service Efficiency, in hopes that other companies will adopt it -- much as the industry rallied around Power Usage Effectiveness, or PUE, as a measure of data center efficiency.
In the process of sharing its methodology, eBay took the unusual step of releasing a wealth of information about its data center operations. For example, the company revealed that it had 52,075 physical servers at the end of 2012 and generated 740 metric tons of carbon per million users, or 1.6 tons per server.
EBay set a target of reducing its cost per transaction and carbon emissions per transaction by 10% this year, and it wants to increase its transactions per kilowatt hour by the same amount, Nelson said.
It may not be easy for other companies to replicate eBay's methodology because other organizations' business models may be more complex than a straightforward count of the number of transactions that customers make.
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.
Read more about Data Center in Computerworld's Data Center Topic Center.
- Hadoop for Dummies Today, organizations in every industry are being showered with imposing quantities of new information. Along with traditional sources, many more data channels and...
- The Top Five Ways to Get Started with Big Data Despite the increased focus on big data over the past few years, most organizations are still talking about what big data is rather...
- Data Warehouse Augmentation: The Queryable Data Store While organizations have, to date, been busy exploring and experimenting, they are now beginning to focus on using big data technologies to solve...
- The IBM Big Data Platform IBM is unique in having developed an enterprise class big data platform that allows you to address the full spectrum of big data...
- Live Webcast Best Practices: How to Improve Business Continuity with Virtualization VMware solutions include a range of business continuity capabilities to help ensure availability for applications across your virtualized environment. Learn More>>
- Live Webcast
Transforming Finance, Procurement and Supply Chain Effectiveness with Cross-Functional Analytics
Date: May 6th, 2014
Time: 1 PM EDT
Attend this Webcast to find out how Oracle's packaged analytic applications enable line-of-business managers to examine all...
- Live Webcast LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- Endpoint Data Management: Protecting the Perimeter of the Internet of Things Not surprisingly, "Internet of Things" (IoT) and Big Data present new challenges AND opportunities for enterprise IT. Teams need to harness, secure and... All Data Center White Papers | Webcasts