It was only last week that I commented on the progress report from the Open Data Centre Alliance (ODCA) after its first year in operation. The organisation, which aims to ensure the highest level of interoperability and standards for IT systems and services in the data centre, seems to be making great strides. But I expressed my concerns about its lack of urgency around carbon footprinting, which doesn’t seem to be an ODCA priority.
Well I’m sure it wasn’t my doing, but on Monday the organisation announced that it had formed a strategic alliance with The Green Grid, which has the aim of promoting efficiency in data centres. The two organisations will use The Green Grid’s efficiency metrics, including Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE), to align with ODCA’s cloud usage model. The initial focus will be to define a standard unit for measuring the carbon footprint for both existing and new ODCA usage models and The Green Grid metrics. The aim is to accelerate the development of standards related to energy efficiency in the data centre. Initial delivery of joint work is expected in the first half of 2012.
Well at least the ODCA is getting involved. There is already a lot of work being done on data centre energy efficiency metrics, in particular:
Last year a broad industry group including ASHRAE, The Green Grid, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, US Department of Energy’s Save Energy Now Program, US Energy Star Program, US Green Building Council and the Uptime Institute (among others) started work on common data centre energy efficiency metrics. In May this year it published Recommendations for Measuring and Reporting Overall Data Centre Efficiency.
Internationally, a number of global organizations – primarily from the US, Europe and Japan - have been working on a standard approach to energy efficiency metrics. In February 2011 the group published a progress report entitled Harmonizing Global Metrics for Data Centre Energy Efficiency. Work is ongoing and the group is looking at measuring work output compared with energy used.
In both cases it has been agreed that the Green Grid’s PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) measure should be the basis of any data centre metric, so the ODCA seems to be talking to the right organisation. In any case, this collaboration is taking it one stage further, looking at actual footprinting, not just measuring relative efficiency. It will be interesting to see what it comes up with.