Green Grid lays out 2007 roadmap

The Green Grid consortium outlined its 2007 deliverables and technology roadmap. But first the group needs to nail down metrics on data center energy efficiency.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

The Green Grid consortium outlined its 2007 deliverables and technology roadmap. But first the group needs to nail down metrics on data center energy efficiency.

Green Grid is a non-profit consortium launched in February that includes technology heavyweights such as Intel, AMD, Dell, Sun and IBM to name a few. The company just delivered a WebEx presentation on its 2007 plans. While the Green Grid is wonky, its work is very important, especially as green IT (see all resources) grows in importance amid high energy bills. Meanwhile, Gartner has panned Green Grid for not doing more, but officials from the group noted that you need to start with baseline metrics--which don't exist today--before you do anything.

The presentation, led by John Pflueger, technology strategist at Dell, and Jon Haas, energy efficiency programs manager at Intel, broke down into three core parts outlined in the slide below.

What makes that technical agenda most interesting (at least to me) is the metrics development. What's really needed is standard measurements to compare data centers and energy consumption. Today, there are metrics that can be compiled but good luck trying to compare data centers across the industry.

"If you were to ask a data center manager how efficient their facility was the odds (are slim) that they would have detailed information available in real-time. It is likely that would take time to produce," said Pflueger.

Most of these deliverables come in the second half of the year. The general concept is to give data centers enough information to figure out what the appropriate size should be relative to energy efficiency.

Haas noted that "today data centers consolidate by unplugging something and seeing if anyone yells."

That's why Green Grid's database of data center performance--coming in the fourth quarter--will be handy for IT managers. A little benchmarking can go a long way.

The money shot for these deliverables comes in the fourth quarter when the Green Grid organization delivers a report examining the ROI case for a green data center and makes recommendations. Risk factors--since most of the recommended technology will be new--will also be addressed.

This ROI report will be interesting on a few levels. For starters, it comes from a bunch of vendors that would love for you to rip up your data center for a new one. So take the report with a slight grain of salt.

The one downside to the Green Grid's timing on its ROI report is that it looks like it will miss the IT budgeting process. Bottom line: If you planned on following Green Grid's recommendations to the letter it's likely that you're looking at a 2009 event.

The Green Grid will also detail its plans in a press release that should hit the wires in a few minutes. Here's that information in full:

Portland, Ore. — August 7, 2007 — The Green Grid, a non-profit consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in data centers and business computing ecosystems, today announced its technology roadmap and key deliverables for 2007. For the next several months, The Green Grid will focus on data collection through the documentation of existing standards and the evaluation of metrics; data assessment through a market study of current efficiency practices; and technology proposals that outline The Green Grid’s recommendations for the future of energy efficient data centers.

Specifically, as part of its technology roadmap, The Green Grid has announced the following deliverables:

Data Collection

*Data Center Standards and Metrics Inventory (Q3’07) – this study will document existing standards and metrics for energy efficiency, identify coverage gaps and make recommendations for future development.

*The Green Grid Metrics: Describing Data Center Power Efficiency (Q3’07) – this study will be an update to The Green Grid’s existing study on data center efficiency metrics and will look at workload classification through a data center segmentation model.

*Operationalizing Energy-Efficiency Data Collection (Q4’07) – this study will identify the requirements for collecting and aggregating data center power consumption data.

Data Assessment

* Data Center Efficiency Baseline Market Study (Q3’07) – this study on the current state of the industry will allow The Green Grid to identify key factors driving companies to take action on data center power consumption and the challenges in doing so. Collecting and analyzing this data will help to provide companies with a baseline to compare their own initiatives, goals and performance.

* Operational Best Practices (Q4’07) – these studies will focus on right-sizing the data center and will outline best practices in the adoption of virtualization and consolidation technologies.

* Database for Data Center Performance (Q4‘07) – The Green Grid will begin development work on a database focused on data center characteristics and performance schema.

Technology Proposals

* Initial Technology Roadmap (Q4’07) – this roadmap provides an initial assessment of existing and emerging technologies affecting data center efficiency and performance, taking into consideration both return on investment and risk to the end user.

* Power Distribution Options for the Data Center Study (Q3’07) – this study will look at the qualitative advantages and disadvantages of data center power distribution configurations.

*Cooling Options Study (Q4’07) – this study will focus on the qualitative advantages and disadvantages of data center cooling architectures.

These technology deliverables will be launched over the next two quarters and are aimed at bringing together industry leaders and end users from critical segments of the data center ecosystem to develop a unified voice around data center efficiency issues.

“Despite the fact that power consumption is one of the most important issues facing IT today, there is a lack of guidelines and resources available for those looking to drive a change,” said Lawrence Lamers, director of The Green Grid. “The Green Grid is focused on building the foundation and launching the key technology deliverables required to improve data center energy efficiency – both for existing data centers and for the design and operation of future ones.”

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