Global Agreement Struck on Data Center Energy-Efficiency Metrics

by | Apr 6, 2010

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datacenterThe Green Grid consortium, together with several global government and industry organizations in the U.S., Europe and Japan, has nearly solved a problem that has plagued IT and data center managers for quite some time — how to monitor and measure energy use in data centers.

The organizations have agreed on guiding principles for globally accepted data center energy-efficiency metrics with the Green Grid’s power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating at the center of the industry’s new preferred energy-efficiency metric.

These organizations include the U.S. Department of Energy’s Save Now and Federal Energy Management Programs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR Program, European Union Code of Conduct, Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s (METI) Green IT Initiative, and Japan’s Green IT Promotion Council (GIPC).

The aim of these organizations is to ensure that data center efficiency metrics, measurements and reporting conventions can be applied consistency at the global level, which will lead to behavioral changes in the industry to improve energy efficiency.

The organizations hope to reach an agreement on energy efficiency metrics that measure the actual IT output of the data center to help users understand the efficiency of both the IT equipment and data center facility, reports Data Center Knowledge.

Market research firm Gartner reported last year that without metrics it is impossible to get accurate data, which is critical to evaluating basic costs associated with energy use in data centers.

In addition, capturing and analyzing energy-efficiency metrics in data centers can improve business management decisions in several areas, which include improving capacity planning for power and cooling infrastructure, avoiding costly brownouts and service interruptions, meeting corporate priorities for “green” initiatives, and calculating the real total cost of ownership (TCO) of infrastructure components, according to a report from Info-Tech.

The guiding principles also state that minimum IT energy measurements should be measured at the output of the UPS, and for a dedicated data center, total energy measurement should include all energy sources at the point of utility handoff. For data centers in larger buildings, total energy should include all cooling, lighting, and support infrastructure, in addition to IT load.

A global task force, with representatives from each organization, will meet later this year to evaluate the group’s progress.

In addition, the Green Grid established an EPA ENERGY STAR program management office to support the EPA’s efforts to reduce energy consumption in servers, storage devices and data centers. The EPA is planning to launch its ENERGY STAR program for data centers in June.

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