Green Grid Project to Conduct Multiple Studies

Power and cooling might be hard to measure, but the Green Grid project wants to try.

The non-profit consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency will begin benchmarking energy inefficiency and data center costs. Data collection through a number of surveys will be the first step.

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The non-profit consortium, led by hardware vendors dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in data centers, kicked things into gear Tuesday with a discussion on efforts to address shortcomings in data center design and energy efficiency.

The effort will initially focus on data collection since, for all the talk and concern about power efficiency and data center costs, there really are no metrics or best practices for setting up and managing a data center.

Jon Haas, Energy Efficiency Programs Manager for Intel pointed out on a conference call that there is no way to measure energy efficiency across different vendor products in a data center.

"The solutions [that are available] are vendor-specific, and there is no way to integrate them across the data center, and there is no clear roadmap for future data center design. One objective of the Green Grid is to make that outlook clearer," he said.

The first wave of releases is due from the organization in the third quarter of this year. It will release the Datacenter Standards and Metrics Inventory study, which will document existing standards and metrics for energy efficiency, identify coverage gaps and make recommendations for future development.

The group will also release the Green Grid Metrics: Describing Datacenter Power Efficiency in third quarter, an update to a study in data center efficiency metrics, and a new study, Power Distribution Options for the Datacenter, which examines the pros and cons of different data center power distribution configurations.

The final third-quarter study will be the Datacenter Efficiency Baseline Market Study, which will identify key factors driving companies to take action on data center power consumption and the challenges in doing so.

Five more reports are slotted for fourth quarter. The first is Operational Best Practices for optimal data center power use and best practices in the adoption of virtualization and consolidation technologies.

The second is a Database for Datacenter Performance, a database of characteristics and performance schema for building an optimal data center based on the hardware deployed, along with Operationalizing Energy-Efficiency Data Collection, a study to identify the requirements for collecting and aggregating data center power consumption data.

As part of this effort, the Green Grid is interviewing data center owners and operators to determine where their power consumption is going. This will enable the Grid to build a database of energy consumption based on category — for example, server, router, cooling and battery backup — and vendor.

It will help improve operations not only in existing centers but also in the construction of new ones, said Haas.

The last two are the Initial Technology Roadmap to provide an assessment of existing and emerging technologies for the data center, and a Cooling Options Study to assess different methods of cooling in data centers.

All of these reports are designed to develop a unified voice around data center efficiency issues.

John Pflueger, Technology Strategist for Dell said that although everyone is aware of the problem, power and cooling have no standards for measure and evaluation.

"If you were to walk into a random data center today and ask how efficient their facility was, odds are they would look at you a little funny trying to understand what they meant about efficiency," he said on the conference call.

Data for measuring such efficiency is scarce, he points out. Everyone has huge electric bills and know where the problem is in general, but not in specifics.

"We need to enable real time monitoring and measurement in data center power efficiency," Pflueger said. "As we build that database, we want to provide data center owners a means to assess their data center."

This article was originally published on internetnews.

This article was originally published on Aug 8, 2007
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