Green Grid Measures Data Centre Efficiency

Data StorageStorage

The Green Grid consortium has issued a set of guidelines to solve one of the trickiest issues facing sustainable computing – how to measure the efficiency of a data centre.

No other corporate or industry group has yet been able to define scientifically – to the satisfaction of a majority of IT professionals – how to measure the performance of a data centre in power usage and cooling efficiency, and also how it treats the environment with its carbon footprint.

The consortium of data centre-related technology companies took a major step on 4 Feb by publishing its first data centre energy-efficiency reporting guidelines at its second technical conference in San Jose.

Quantifying the power efficiencies of a data centre at the moment relies on two metrics, which are now beginning the lengthy process of becoming international industry standards:

  • Power usage effectiveness (PUE): This is a ratio of total facility power divided by IT equipment power. Ideally it should be less than 2:1; the closer to 1:1, the better.
  • Data centre infrastructure efficiency (DCiE): DCiE is a percentage; IT equipment power x 100, divided by total facility power. The bigger the number, the better.
The Green Grid, whose 211 members include board members from Microsoft, Intel, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, also launched a new educational offering for members called New Data Centre 2.0.

This is a programme designed to provide the IT industry with a multi-year set of design guidelines for data centre operators and designers, so they can build and/or run more energy-efficient data centres.

“We’re basically saying, ‘Here’s the playbook, now go build off of it. Start today by changing your mental processes and start thinking differently,’ ” Dan Azevedo of Symantec, chair of the Green Grid’s metrics committee, told about 300 attendees at the conference.

The Green Grid also released a list of new white papers, which can be downloaded free of charge.

Topics include “PUE Scalability,” “Proxies for Estimating Data Centre Productivity,” and “Using Virtualization To Improve Data Centre Efficiency.”

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