With so many tech vendors claiming their solutions to be green and looking for a leg up with customers wanting to be more power efficient with everything from their servers right up to their entire datacenters, one big problem in the industry is a lack of standards on how "green" is meaured and what the lexicon is from one discussion (or solution provider to the next). Recognizing that it's in the best interests of the entire industry to be talking about green-ness in with same language and metrics, more than 100 companies have put their weight behind a consortium know as The Green Grid.
According to the consortium's home page:
The Green Grid is a consortium of information technology companies and professionals seeking to lower the overall consumption of power in data centers around the globe. The organization is chartered to develop meaningful, platform-neutral standards, measurement methods, processes and new technologies to improve energy efficient performance of global data centers.
Helping to drive that mission are some of the biggest tech titans in the IT business; server companies such as IBM, HP, Dell, and Sun, chip companies such as Intel and AMD, and software giants such as Microsoft. Not on the list of Green Grid supporters so far, however, are two key Internet players both of which are running and/or building huge datacenters right now: Google and Yahoo! Although they could eventually join The Green Grid, it's not clear whether the efficacy of their membership is a fair trade for their involvement in a consortium where they may be expected to share some of their secrets around datacenter efficiency.
After all, at the size and scale of the datacenters they run, some of Google and Yahoo!'s competitive advantage lies in the degree to which they can efficiently run their datacenters. Sharing their secrets with the world may help to reduce the aggregate carbon footprint of the world's datacenters. But in terms of maintaining their competitiveness over each other, one aspect of that competitiveness lies in how well they can control datacenter costs without compromising the quality of the end-user experience.
Nevertheless, The Green Grid is fully committed to arriving at standards that its membership can rely on when talking about how green something is. According to AMD senior strategist Larry Vertal and SprayCool founder and CEO Don Tilton, the organization which is divided into three committees (technical, communications, and liaison) has been making progress throughout 2007 since its initiatives were last reported here on ZDNet. Included in that progress were (1) a multi-vendor plugfest involving the measurement of a system's power efficiency according to standards established by one of the working groups in The Green Grid's Technical Committee and (2) the scheduling of the consortium's first major event where a lot of the white papers and findings of the various working groups will be shared for the first time, but only with member organizations and the press. So far, it hasn't been determined exactly how that information is going to be made public.
To hear my interview of Vertal and Tilton, press the play button in the Flash-based audio player above. Or, feel free to download the MP3 through the Flash-based player's menus. If you are subscribed to ZDNet's IT Matters series of podcasts (see how to subscribe), the podcast should show up on your PC, your MP3 player, or both, depending on how you have your podcatcher setup.