APC has tapped into the growing interest in data centre power consumption by launching a new tool that will assess power efficiency.

The move towards virtualisation and consolidation of servers has led to data centre managers look more closely at power consumption. Although a reduction in the number of servers will lead to a corresponding reduction in power, there's no guarantee that efficiency will improve.

APC has released a free online tool that will enable managers make decisions regarding the physical requirements of a data centre after a virtualisation project. The Virtualisation Energy Cost Calculator, which can be downloaded from the APC site, helps managers with their planning and allows them to test out different scenarios.

It doesn't, however, allow managers to differentiate between different servers and their power consumption. "It's not meant as an accurate planning tool," said an APC spokesman. "The idea is that gives facilities and IT managers a rough idea of the power consumption but it doesn't go into detail. APC does have another product to get a more accurate picture - InfrastuXure Central, although that's not a free tool."

The cost calculator also requires a detailed knowledge about power consumption of items within the data centre, not all of which would be available to managers. "It's true that they might have all that information to hand, but it's the sort of thing that managers do need to be thinking about," said the APC spokesman.

The spokesman said that the tool would benefit managers from both the IT and facilities management side of the business. "There's been a growing coming together of the two sides over the past few years," he said, "and this tool will help that process."