Green Grid Looks For New Data Center Energy-Efficiency Ideas - InformationWeek

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Green Grid Looks For New Data Center Energy-Efficiency Ideas

The nonprofit association founded last April by tech-industry heavyweights including AMD, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell is opening the door to new members, including end user companies.

Worried about soaring energy bills for your data center? Now you have a place to share your woes, learn from others, and air your ideas.

The Green Grid -- a nonprofit association founded last April by tech-industry heavyweights including Advanced Micro Devices, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell to tackle growing energy consumption in data centers -- is officially open for business as of Monday.

That means CIOs and other IT professionals can join the group -- for a fee.

There are two membership levels that come with a range of benefits. With a "general membership" costing $5,000, you get to vote on the organizational issues, receive the group's technical input and access to intellectual-property licensing, and can participate in group events.

A $25,000 "contributing membership" provides additional benefits, like allowing participation in Green Grid workgroups and contributions to the drafting of technical documents. Right now, the Green Grid's four workgroups are tackling issues including data collection and analysis of data center performance; emergent technologies to improve data center efficiency; operational scenarios for optimizing data centers day to day; and metrics and measurements for data center performance.

In addition to offering membership, the Green Grid also is making available its first three white papers. Those papers include an overview of the organization; guidelines and recommendations for energy efficient data centers; and metrics that can be used for measuring data center efficiency short term.

The ongoing development of data center performance measurement and metrics is top priority for the Green Grid this year, says Rick Schuckle, a Green Grid board member and senior technical staff member to the office of the CTO at Dell.

While Green Grid is only now open for others to join, since last April more than 1,000 individuals have registered on the organization's Web site requesting information to learn more about the group, says John Tuccillo, another Green Grid board member and a marketing director at American Power Conversion, another Green Grid co-founder.

Of those 1,000 individuals, half are from end user companies, not technology vendors, he says. That reflects the wide-ranging concern about data center energy efficiency, he says.

"The entire ecosystem -- from silicon, to computer hardware, software, cooling, and business software" -- is represented by the founding sponsors of Green Grid, says Schuckle.

Certainly, energy consumption by data centers should give most CIOs reason to worry these days. In fact, energy consumption by data centers in the United States and worldwide has doubled from 2000 to 2005, according to a research study by Jonathan Koomey, a consulting professor at Stanford University, released two weeks ago.The study was commissioned by chipmaker AMD.

Other studies indicate that many businesses are now spending more to power and cool their data centers than they did for the computers and other equipment housed in those centers.

The Green Grid's other founding companies include SprayCool, Intel, VMware, Microsoft, and Rackable Systems.

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