Harmonizing Global Metrics for Data Center Energy Efficiency

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A pivotal tool of modern business and government is the advanced data center.  You want the data center to be advanced, to have capabilities to deliver all the tools of today’s necessity: eGovernment, eBusiness, streaming video, social media and all of the accoutrements of life for that essential set of personal application feeding the smart phone, tablet, or laptop.  Reading the news (no longer paper, on your Smartphone, tablet or laptop) and almost daily you will see someone is predicting catastrophe on a global scale due to energy consumption of those “evil” data centers and all of that proliferating IT equipment in general.  It is often described as consuming the power of small to medium cities. Other comparisons are also made, so that you will see how much energy (enormous) and that it is too much.  Occasionally it is identified as the single handed cause of global warming (uh), global cooling (nope), global climate change (yeah, that’s the ticket). ;o)

My friends and colleagues at The Green Grid, under the leadership of a modern day Mahatma Gandhi (Mr. Dan  Azevedo), has gotten organizations and people who usually do not agree on anything, to agree to the latest round of metrics for measuring the Data Center.  Under the title of Global Harmonization of Metrics for Data Center Energy Efficiency; The Green Grid, US EPA, US DOE, Japan METI, EU JRC, and the Green IT Promotion Council agreed to the third round of metrics adding three new ones to the list.

Why? And Who cares?

When implemented correctly, these metrics save organizations a LOT of time, money, and additional resources (can you say ‘energy’). Although there is more work to do, this brings us one more step closer to a universally adopted set of metrics, indices and measurement protocols that will have a positive impact on the industry, and the environment.

The newly agreed metrics and their purposes include:

  • Green Energy Coefficient – GEC quantifies the portion of a facility’s energy that comes from green sources. The metric is computed as green energy consumed by the data center (kWh) divided by total energy consumed by the data center (kWh).
  • Energy Reuse Factor – ERF identifies the portion of energy that is exported for reuse outside of the data center. ERF is computed as reuse energy divided by total energy consumed by the data center.
  • Carbon Usage Effectiveness – CUE enables an assessment of the total GHG emissions of a data center relative to its IT energy consumption. CUE is computed as the total carbon dioxide emission equivalents (CO2eq) from the energy consumption of the facility divided by the total IT energy consumption.  CUE is computed as the total carbon dioxide emission equivalents (CO2eq) from the energy consumption of the facility divided by the total IT energy consumption.

All fun aside, Data Centers do consume a lot of energy.  They also provide a commensurate and substantial amount of work, for the power used.  If Data Centers were not efficient in today’s terms the ROI for corporations and governments would not support their deployment, and they would go the way of the dinosaur.  For your information, Data Centers can do better.  I am fortunate to work in an industry where we believe, better is not only possible, it is desirable.  How often do you read about a data center that has a new lower PUE? I see it all the time. But, I also look for it.  It is like a global sport, not as popular as Football (soccer for Americans), but nearer to my heart. Because this specific sport moves us all forward, globally.  Big strides have been made, and bigger strides are still to come.  This is a team sport, good for you (to think outside of the box), great for your employer (lower costs, improved productivity), and amazing what can be done for the environment (a serendipity), come and join us.

For more information about Harmonizing Global Metrics or to download the full memo, please visit: Harmonizing Global Metrics For Data Center Energy Efficiency

For more information or to become a member, visit www.thegreengrid.org or connect with The Green Grid on Twitter @TheGreenGrid, Facebook  and LinkedIn

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