The 4-year-old Green Grid, a consortium of data center-related technology companies, staged its annual tech forum in Santa Clara, Calif., this week. This progressive organization is one of the global leaders in promoting best practices so that data centers disrupt the environment as little as possible.
Make no mistake about it. Data centers -- especially those football field-sized ones that Google and Facebook are building -- disrupt the environment. The environmental impact from the electrical draw and carbon emissions from racks and racks of servers, switches and storage arrays can be humongous. And those things are running 24/7.
At the tech forum, the Grid explained that it has expanded its organizational mission from energy efficiency to resource efficiency, a move that highlights the growing importance of natural resources and sustainability in the dialogue about business computing infrastructures.
Each year, the Green Grid introduces a set of data center management tools for its membership, including the following:
--Data Center Maturity Model, a white paper and model available to the public that helps end users determine how resource-efficient their facilities are, along a continuum of zero, or "Minimal," to five, or "Visionary." Once they identify where their facilities sit on the continuum, data center operators can use additional resources from the Green Grid to improve their efficiency.
--Two new white papers from the Green Grid's Utility Task Force that are intended to help stakeholders understand how to better engage with local utility companies in the U.S. to determine which technologies might qualify for financial incentives. "Understanding and Engaging Utility Incentive Programs" is an overview of utility incentive opportunities, and "An Analysis of Server Virtualization Utility Incentives" focuses specifically on the opportunities for utilities to incent data center operators to use server virtualization.
--Server Power Management, which is a new white paper and upcoming online course from the Green Grid Academy designed to educate IT managers about the terminology and functionality of power management features in servers.
The Grid also announced new metrics to help data center managers quickly assess the water, energy reuse and carbon sustainability aspects of their data centers. With these metrics, data center managers can determine if any energy efficiency and/or sustainability improvements need to be made. Among the new metrics are:
--WUE, or Water Usage Effectiveness, is a metric that assesses the water used on-site in operating a data center, including water used for humidification and water evaporated on-site for energy production or cooling of the data center and its support systems.
--ERE, or Energy Reuse Effectiveness, is a metric for measuring the benefit of reusing energy from a data center and provides operators with greater visibility into the energy efficiency opportunities in identifying and recovering energy from their facilities.
--DCcE, or Data Center Compute Efficiency, is a metric that enables data center operators to determine the efficiency of their compute resources, which allows them to identify areas of inefficiency. DCcE is an important piece of the ongoing work by the Green Grid to determine data center productivity.
The Grid is doing great work, so it deserves attention. Onward!