I spent a couple of days last week in Santa Clara, Calif. at The Green Grid Forum 2013, the annual get-together where Green Grid members share their best on the latest ideas and efforts in data center sustainability. The Forum played host to more than 30 sessions and I could go on for hours on all the interesting information I picked up. But I’ll spare you that and just hit on a few highlights.
1. Standards Today; Regulation Tomorrow?
I lead this panel discussion, which touched on JTC1/SC39, Sustainability Of and By IT, a committee that I chair. It covers taxonomy, guidance for the development of energy efficient IT products as well as development of key performance indicators such as power usage effectiveness. I’ll share more news about what we come up with as work progresses.
Also on the panel was Colette Maloney, Head of the Unit Smart Cities and Sustainability unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content, and Technology. She talked about where the EU is going with respect to standards and, perhaps more importantly, where she perceives regulation to be headed. Short answer: expect more regulations over carbon intensity issues.
2. Green Grid Releases Recycling Metric
The Green Grid also played host to a session on some news the organization made at the event, releasing its first metric that addresses how organizations deal with equipment that’s at the end of its useful life. The Electronics Disposal Efficiency (EDE) metric is intended to help organizations measure their success in the responsible management of outdated equipment and improve their disposal processes over time.
In a statement about EDE, Kathrin Winkler, EMC representative and Board Member of The Green Grid, explained the goal behind the effort:
“Our goal was to leverage the great work that has already been done by experts in the field and apply The Green Grid’s organizational experience with defining and implementing metrics in order to create a measurement and management structure around it. Our hope is that the EDE metric will incent positive behavior and influence change on a global scale, and that organizations will be more aware of waste streams, ultimately helping them reduce waste in the future.”
3. The Maturing of the Data Center Maturity Model
Another session covered the Data Center Maturity Model (DCMM), which helps companies understand the current performance of various aspects of their data center and improve their performance and efficiency over time. The Green Grid came up with its first stab at the model in 2010 and is currently headed toward a 2.0 version. The Dept. of Energy has a similar tool, called the Data Center Profiler, which is likewise the first such tool they developed.
Each toolset has its strengths and weaknesses so the DOE and The Green Grid have been discussing combining forces as we each come up with our next versions.
4. eBay Shows Off Its Data Center Dashboard
During another session, Dean Nelson of Ebay spoke and attendees got a look at the data center dashboard that eBay developed for its own use. Dubbed the eBay Digital Service Efficiency (DSE) dashboard, it offers an efficient, simple way for eBay to track the cost, performance and environmental impact of its data center.
eBay intends to use it to drive efficiency efforts. As eBay says:
Our intent by releasing DSE, and our corresponding data, is to establish a baseline for 2012 and then set productivity and efficiency goals for 2013. Our goals for the year ahead are as follows:
- Increase transactions per kWh by 10% year over year
- Reduce cost per transaction by 10% year over year
- Reduce carbon per transaction by 10% year over year
Talks are underway about releasing a generalized version of the dashboard for public consumption. More on that as it happens; the same goes for other efforts discussed at The Green Grid Forum 2013. It was two days well spent, to be sure.