PCs Have a Place on the Green Grid Agenda

For now, the consortium will continue to focus on the data center.

SAN FRANCISCO - Going green means looking at desktops, too.

Most of the work of the Green Grid until now has focused on creating standards to measure power consumption in the data center, but while proposing methods for creating more energy-efficient environments, members of the consortium say they are also discussing ways to address the power consumption and problems associated with PCs.

The Green Grid held its first ever Technical Forum and members' meeting here and announced several new "deliverables," including reports on best practices and practical steps enterprises can take to develop and plan energy-efficient data centers.

During the two-day conference, most of the talk focused on the data center. But members also agreed to address some of the concerns about the power consumption of enterprise desktops and notebooks. The group's charter addresses all forms of enterprise computing and, as the consortium picks up steam, PCs could play a bigger role in its future agenda.

"Servers are managed as an entity, and so it's easier to adopt new technology or new best practices efforts, and that's one of the reasons why the Green Grid has focused its efforts for far on servers," said Jon Haas, who works with Intel's Eco-Technology Program Office.

One way the Green Grid is keeping an eye on what is going on with desktops is watching what other organizations, such as the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, are doing. These organizations are specifically focused on the power consumption of PCs. The members of Climate Savers are studying way to create more energy-efficient computers, components and power management tools.

"An organization like the Green Grid is looking at the data center holistically, while Climate Savors is specifically looking at the box and moving outward from there," Haas said. "Their [Climate Savers] focus initially has been on power supplies and motherboard efficiencies. I would expect that we would expect some synergies across both organizations for developing methodologies."

Learn more here about the Green Grid.

Tony Pierce, a technical evangelist with Microsoft, said that many of the issues the Green Grid is working on, such as methodologies and standards, have already been adopted by PC vendors. One example is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star rating that is applied to desktops and notebooks.

The EPA is now working a similar Energy Star rating for servers.

"Clients, to a certain degree, are ahead of the game," Pierce said. "You have the Energy Star 4.0 rating, but with data centers, you don't have a standard way to measure how much energy they use. You have to find that out first before you can improve it."

Larry Vertal, who works in Advanced Micro Device's Global Corporate Marketing division, said the Green Grid is still working to get feedback from its membership. He added that the fact that Intel and AMD, both fierce rivals, have come together to create standards for the data center will also lend credibility to the efforts of other organizations such as Climate Savers.

AMD and Intel are members of both the Green Grid and Climate Savers.

"There is a belief that ... working together and gathering input from all businesses will have a real impact on people using all types of computing equipment," Vertal said.