There are several different types of meters that can be designed into a data center, ranging from high precision power quality meters to embedded meters (i.e. in a UPS or PDU). Each has different core functions and applications. This white paper provides guidance on the types of meters that might be incorporated into a data center design, explains why they should be used, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each. Example data centers are presented to illustrate where the various meters are likely to be deployed.
Meters provide data that offers insight into the operation of the data center infrastructure (i.e. power and cooling systems) within a data center. Specific types of meters exist for various reasons, from tracking the use of electricity to analyzing the power quality in a facility and reporting problems such as transients and harmonics to measuring the power usage effectiveness (PUE) of the data center.
As energy initiatives and legislation continue to increase, the necessity for more in-depth metering to better understand and optimize energy use is also increasing. Meters enable you to benchmark the data center’s energy use, identify improvement opportunities, and measure results from energy improvement projects.
Within a data center, you’ll likely find meters in place that measure power (kW), energy (kWh), voltage & amperage, harmonics, power factor, flow rates, temperature & humidity, and more. This paper focuses only on electrical meters that exist in a data center; and discusses their applications and purpose, their typical placement in the electrical and mechanical infrastructure, their relative costs, and their advantages and disadvantages. The scope of this paper is on the physical meters, and does not discuss the management software used in conjunction with the meters for visualization, reporting, etc.