System News
Leading IT Vendors Launch the Green Grid Association
Goal to Lower Overall Consumption of Power in Data Centers
April 24, 2006,
Volume 98, Issue 4

IT professionals are telling us that demands on their data centers are growing to the point where they can no longer keep up...

-- Bruce Shaw
 

Sun has teamed with AMD, HP, IBM and Rackable Systems in launching the Green Grid - an association designed to assist IT professionals and data center managers create more energy-efficient data centers worldwide. The organization's goal, which is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Alliance to Save Energy, is to lower the overall consumption of power in data centers.

The Green Grid will function as an interactive body of members who will share best practices in data center power management. Membership in the Green Grid is open to IT professionals who are concerned or chartered with data center operations and facilities management.

"IT professionals are telling us that demands on their data centers are growing to the point where they can no longer keep up, and they don't know how they can fix the problems within their existing footprint," Bruce Shaw, director of worldwide commercial business at AMD, told Darrell Dunn with InformationWeek. "We are hearing horror stories about having to build new data centers costing millions of dollars because they just can't keep up with the performance envelope."

In an InformationWeek article, Shaw told Dunn that a November survey commissioned by AMD polled 1,200 IT professionals and found 83 percent reporting their number one issue today is cooling and power within the data center. Only 20 percent reported that a plan was in place to fix the problem.

"What we have is something of an epidemic, and it goes far beyond the processor," Shaw said. "It needs to consider the entire ecosystem: the servers, networking, the air conditioning, heating and ventilation, power supplies and even software."

One of the first steps for the Green Grid is to create metrics for measuring performance and power consumption in data center equipment. Sun recently announced it was working with the EPA, Lawrence Berkeley Labs and AMD to define a standard metric to measure energy efficiency in servers that could potentially work within the EPA's Energy Star program [16251].

"The question will be, what is the best metric to measure?" Shaw said. "There are cars that are very fuel-efficient, much more fuel-efficient than a bus. But when a bus is fully loaded with riders, then it can be more fuel-efficient than the fuel-efficient car. So do we measure performance, wattage or bandwidth? That will take time to work out."

Besides IT professionals and technology companies, the Green Grid sees potential participation coming from power supply and energy companies, state and regional utilities, channel providers and systems integrators.

Plans for the Green Grid's Web site are to play host to industry experts who will lead interactive online discussion boards, live chats and webinars to raise awareness and foster discussion around critical aspects of data center management.

Shaw told Dunn that he anticipates an initial symposium for Greed Grid members will likely be held in September or October.

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