Cisco's new EnergyWise technology, which measures and manages energy consumption on just about everything on the network, is, indeed, wise. But it's going to get a whole lot wiser and useful early next year when it will be extended to the management of HVAC and other building systems.And that places Cisco in an enviable market position for this technology need.
In case you missed it, Cisco on Tuesday introduced its Cisco EnergyWise technology for its Catalyst switches that measures, reports, and reduces the energy consumption of IP devices, such as phones, laptops, and access points. The technology will be rolled out in three phases, starting in February.
As it now stands, the management of data center and building operations are seldom coordinated beyond deciding which department pays the electric bill.
Comments by William A. Harrison, president of American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), to his colleagues at the group's winter conference this week may shed light on why that has been:
"[T]here is an elephant in the room but it seems that hardly anyone knows it's there. Those in the building industry see and recognize it for the monstrosity it is, but most people don't know that they're essentially avoiding a huge energy issue.
"Everywhere you look, there's talk of increased fuel efficiency for vehicles, alternative fuels, and compact fluorescent light bulbs. These are admirable efforts, and I would never want to detract from those. But the elephant in the corner -- our world's existing building stock -- constitutes roughly 30% to 40% of our primary energy use, easily larger than either transportation or industry. It's time we all started focusing on it."
Harrison wasn't speaking of data centers in particular. But a lack of urgency by building owners to measure, manage, and ultimately reduce energy use in a coordinated manner makes it difficult for many data centers within those buildings to make serious headway, for example, in computer room cooling.
Also to its credit, ASHRAE last August began working with The Green Grid to share technical information, particularly guidance regarding energy efficiency. ASHRAE already had been working with the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to do the same.
Details on The Green Grid's Data Center 2.0 project are expected at its technical forum next week.