Data Center ArchitectureData Center Planning

The Green Grid’s Data Center Maturity Model Can Delivery Big Energy Savings

Something rather remarkable has happened over the course of the last year at The Green Grid  (TGG) that anyone who owns and operates a data center ought to know about. Since the launch of our Data Center Maturity Model, more than 400 organizations have signed on and are actively using the tool, giving the entire industry a treasure trove of information against which to benchmark their own data centers.

The DCMM provides a way for organizations to benchmark themselves against other data centers of similar size, structure, location and many other attributes – more than 60 criteria in all. The idea is to enable companies to gauge the relative maturity of their data center, in terms of both IT and facilities, and identify steps they can take to achieve greater energy efficiency and sustainability.

The success rate for the DCMM is remarkable, and for all the right reasons. The model was developed with an international task force soliciting input from global subject matter experts throughout TGG. The initial DCMM was then presented to the full TGG membership for review and further input. As a result of that process, the model grew beyond the industry’s traditional focus on facilities to also include compute, storage, networking and other IT disciplines.

Another reason for its rapid adoption is that, unlike other data center benchmarking tools, the DCMM allows companies to protect their identities and the location of their data centers when they enter data to the model. That’s important for companies who must protect their identity, as many Fortune 1000 companies and government entities do. But an interesting thing is starting to happen: companies are identifying themselves publicly anyway. Most notable in this regard is eBay, which employed the DCMM for its Project Mercury, through which the company consolidated 11 data centers down to three. TGG has a case study on the project and we had this to say in a previous post:

Using this model, eBay determined that 80 percent of its applications required only Tier II reliability, which freed up capacity in its more stringent Tier IV data centers, essentially extending their lives. This helped lead to capital and operating expenses of the company’s Tier II data centers plunging by more than 50%.

One of the reasons the model delivers those kinds of savings is it allows companies to conduct what-if scenarios.  What if you moved your data center to a northern location, where you could take advantage of more fresh air cooling? Or what happens if, like eBay, you want to locate a new data center in Phoenix?  Using the DCMM, you’ll get a richer view of available options available to help you improve efficiency, reduce operating costs as well as capital expenses. Then you can make more informed choices about which products and tools to invest in to help you deliver on those efficiencies.

Governments around the world are now working with TGG to accelerate the model even further. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and the White House are all involved in advocating for and working to accelerate the value of the DCMM. TGG is also in discussions with the European Union Commission, as well as the Japanese and Chinese governments about using the model.

This involvement is timely. The original DCMM model came out in early 2011 and the DCMM Assessment Tool launched in January, 2012. Now TGG is now seeking input for an updated version of the assessment tool which will take advantage of all the industry improvements we’ve seen since then. Until that’s available, I encourage you to get familiar with the DCMM if you’re not already. There’s nothing like comparing yourself to your peers to learn what you’re doing right and where you may be able to do better.

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