Pleas to improve data centre power efficiency tend to be vague: Consolidate to fewer and more efficient systems; use virtualization to allocate resources based on need; and choose microprocessors, infrastructure components and system architectures that are built with power conservation as a key objective.
A non-profit consortium called The Green Grid has been formed to turn green intentions into the hard facts and formulas that underlie IT action plans. The Green Grid is taking a holistic approach that addresses all contributors to power inefficiency.
And to help IT buyers identify vendors genuinely committed to saving power, The Green Grid is developing a logo program to label equipment that meets its criteria for minimum necessary power utilization.
The consortium has a blue chip roster of charter members including Intel, AMD, Sun, IBM and VMware, along with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Alliance to Save Energy.
These heavy hitters aren’t just getting together to play pinochle. In one of its first publications, entitled “Guidelines for Energy-Efficient Datacenters,” The Green Grid lays out plainly what journalists like myself have used hundreds of words to say: that IT doesn’t pay the electric bill, so it doesn’t have the tools to determine how much power it’s using and how much of that is wasted.
The Green Grid proposes to close that gap, so its initial publications point to the need to pull together IT, facilities, electrical contractors, HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning), and vendors that sell power routing and battery backup equipment. Everyone should learn enough about facilities, cooling and power management to know what they shouldn’t mess with and to know when they’ve messed up. The Green Grid and similar efforts can help with that — but they also have a more important role, and that’s pressuring vendors. Technology that wastes energy should be re-engineered. And when IT misuses hardware (deploying overpowered UPSes, for example), smart energy-aware devices should dial down power consumption automatically. With big-time backing, The Green Grid looks like it will have the clout to transcend fuzzy sentiments about “going green” and yield measurable, unambiguous results.
Yager is chief technologist of the InfoWorld Test Center.