Green Grid Offers Free Tools for Data Center Power Savings

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-10-02
 
 
 

The Green Grid, a consortium of about 220 data center-related technology companies, had a high-visibility day on Oct. 2, ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange and meeting with media and analysts to introduce new tools and reports that data center managers can use to improve power efficiency in their operations.

The Green Grid's new free online tools and maps are designed to make it easy for data center and facilities managers in Japan and 33 European countries to calculate how much outside air-also known as free cooling-is available for individual data centers.

By entering country and city names into the tool, data center managers in Europe can input their specific variables-such as local energy costs, IT load and facility load-to determine the specific potential energy savings for individual facilities. The tool does the cost-saving calculations.

In addition to free cooling from outside air, the tool provides information about savings that could be obtained using water-side economizers, a Green Grid spokesman said.

For example, the Green Grid said, a 1 megawatt (1000kW) data center in Luton, England, with power at 13.6 cents per kW hour, could save ?ö?®??340,000 per year using free cooling, or ?ö?®??210,000 per year using a water-side economizer. Additionally, a 1 megawatt (1000kW) data center in Paris, France, with power at 13.2 cents per kW hour, could save ?ö?®??330,000 per year using free cooling, or ?ö?®??180,000 per year using a water-side economizer.

The Green Grid also introduced a new free online tool that data center managers can use to record their Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) scores. The PUE scores are designed to establish global consistency in reporting the split between energy flowing to IT equipment and facility operations.

A PUE score is a ratio of total facility power divided by IT equipment power. Ideally it should be less than 2 to 1; the closer to 1 to 1, the better.

"The Green Grid's PUE metric is now widely adopted as the standard for measuring data center efficiency, and we've taken necessary steps to refine it so that it becomes even more impactful," Green Grid board chairman John Tuccillo said. "We expect that the user-driven database will be an invaluable tool for data center managers to [use to] determine the relative energy efficiency of their operations by comparing to others across industries, or even inside their own company."

At the Oct. 2 event in New York, representatives from The Green Grid, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, along with executives from Disney Company and Verizon, discussed issues they face daily in new-generation data center energy management. They also offered practical advice to their peers on how to improve their operations.

The Green Grid presented the results of a recently completed assessment of a midtier data center operated by the EPA, along with recommendations for steps that EPA can follow to improve efficiency.

Tuccillo praised the EPA for making its report public, pointing out that the federal agency recently deployed new power-saving techniques in one of its own midsize data centers and improved its efficiency by more than 20 percent by instituting only a few basic changes.

"If the EPA can deploy techniques that improve efficiency by 20 percent, they can save $15,000 per year in this one data center," Tuccillo said. "IDC estimates that there are 75,000 similar-sized data centers across the United States, and if all of them could achieve that same level of savings, more than $1.1 billion in annual energy costs could be avoided in data centers across the country."

The Green Grid consists of about 220 member companies and features board members from Microsoft, Intel, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and four other top-tier corporations.

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