The Green Grid launches data center energy initiatives

Spearheaded by Microsoft, Sun, and other high tech vendors, The Green Grid is generating support among industry groups, users, and government agencies for building standards for efficient data center energy management.

By 2015, the costs of energy for operating servers will surpass the costs of server hardware, according to a group known as Intelligent Energy Europe. But until now, most of the available information on data center efficiencies has been "departmentalized and proprietary," and there have been few standards efforts geared to measuring data center efficiency.

To address this growing problem, The Green Grid, a one-year-old alliance spearheaded by Microsoft, Sun, and other leading high tech vendors, is using the setting of a technology forum in San Francisco this week to launch new efforts toward more energy efficient data centers, including a partnership with the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF).

Essentially, The Green Grid's mission is to develop and promote standards, technology, measurements, and best practices around energy efficiency in the data center, officials said, during a phone briefing for press and analysts.

The Green Grid will use the DMTF's Web-based Enterprise Management (WBEM) standard for distributed computing as the basis for interfaces it is creating as part of its own standardized technology for managing energy use across multiple vendors' platforms, both inside and outside of the data center.

The Green Grid, which now totals about 150 members, isn't excluding the possibility of drawing upon the resources of other industry groups, too, oficials said during the press call.

But the Green Grid "is not the DMTF, nor is it SNIA [Storage Networking Industry Association]," emphasized John Tuccillo, a director of The Green Grid.

Tuccillo acknowledged that the work of some other organizations might be complementary. Storage, for example, is certainly an ingredient in data centers.

"[But] we are a unique organization with a unique mission," according to Tuccillo.

Although some of the group's members also play heavily in the PC space, The Green Grid will stick to data center initiatives, at least for the foreseeable future, said John Pflueger, a director of The Green Grid and a member of the group's Technical Committee.

"If we attempt to build the ocean, our work becomes diluted," Pflueger quipped.

Founded in February of 2007, The Green Grid holds representation on its board of directors from Microsoft, Sun, AMD, Intel, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Rackable Systems, Spraycool, and VMWare.

Customers of these and other data center vendors now face skyrocketing energy costs, officials said during the call.

At its tech forum in San Francisco tomorrow, The Green Grid will present speakers from end user organizations such as Allstate Insurance and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, as well as from government agencies slated to include the US Department of Energy, the European Commission, the California Energy Commission, and NYSERDA, among others.

Members of The Green Grid will spell out a technology framework that will cover ways to design and operate more efficient data centers and to obtain realtime measurement and management of energy resources.

The energy alliance also plans to talk about a new baseline efficiency management study; a peer review of of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab's study on high voltage direct current in the data center; and white papers on topics such as saving server power and fending off organizational barriers to energy efficiency.

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