eBay DSE Aims To Soothe Tech MPG Headache

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

A new performance dashboard provides a way for organisations to improve their infrastructure consumption and costs

The ability of IT managers to tackle their infrastructure costs and energy consumption habits may have got a little easier thanks to online auction specialist eBay, which has launched what  it is calling an MPG (miles per gallon) tool for technical infrastructure.

Dubbed ‘Digital Service Efficiency (DSE)’, the performance dashboard helps eBay “to see the full cost, performance and environmental impact of customer buy and sell transactions, giving eBay a holistic way to balance and tune its technical infrastructure.”

The company touts its methodology as a way for organisations to measure, tune and optimise their data centre infrastructure, as it allows for IT managers to directly link total cost of the services that power their websites.

Performance Dashboard

Green Datacentre featured“DSE is essentially a ‘miles per gallon’ measurement for technical infrastructure that makes an end-to-end connection between what customers do and the fundamental business metrics they influence – including cost, performance, environmental impact, and revenue,’ said eBay.

“Using DSE, eBay can make more informed decisions on how to optimise every aspect of its technical infrastructure, including the sourcing of electrical power, data center infrastructure, IT infrastructure, and the software that delivers services to users,” it said.

The company admitted that while some of the actual services and variables are specific to eBay, the methodology can be used by any company “to make better business decisions.” eBay hopes its DSE methodology will encourage other firms to be more transparent about the environmental impact of their tech infrastructure.

To this end, it has provided the eBay DSE dashboard for IT and data centre managers to experiment with, which shows eBay’s performance data for the entire year of 2012 or for individual quarters.

“The DSE dashboard helps eBay to see the full cost, performance and environmental impact of customer buy and sell transactions, giving eBay a holistic way to balance and tune it’s technical infrastructure”, said the company.

Information is displayed in a similar fashion to that of a dashboard in a car, across four key business priorities: performance, cost, environmental impact, and revenue.

Aggressive Targets

The company said its intent with DSE is to publicly establish its baseline figures for 2012, and set aggressive productivity and efficiency goals for 2013, such as increasing transactions per kWh by 10 percent year over year; reducing cost per transaction by 10 percent year over year; and finally reducing carbon per transaction by 10% year over year.

The data centres that eBay operates are currently, or are being upgraded to make wider use of green power sources such as wind and solar. The company itself displays its data center effectiveness using metrics defined by The Green Grid, by using metrics such as Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE), and Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE).

Last year the Green Grid conducted a case study that labeled eBay’s new Arizona data centre as one of the greenest ever constructed.

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