The Green Grid IT industry consortium is said to be fast approaching an agreement on the best metric to measure overall datacentre efficiency, according to a source familiar with recent discussions on the matter.
Speaking recently, Steve Sams vice president of global site and facilities services at IBM, said that he believed the group was set to endorse a measure originally proposed by a team at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory in 2003 that divides the amount of power going into a datacentre with the amount used for productive work to give an understanding of the entire datacentres' energy efficiency.
The most efficient datacentres typically boast a score of 1.5 – meaning that for every 1.5Kw going into the facility 1Kw is used to run the servers, storage and telecoms technologies and only 0.5Kw are wasted or used for cooling and other purposes. In contrast, the least efficient datacentres score around 3.5.
"My personal opinion is this is the metric that will be agreed," said Sams. "It's very simple and it has a lot of support. The only debate has been over how the metric should change or be weighted for a datacentre with tier one resilience against one with tier four resilience. But the energy efficiency gap between those different datacentres should be very small."
A spokesperson for the Green Grid neither confirmed nor denied that it was close to selecting the benchmarks it will endorse, but they insisted the group was committed to reaching agreement soon on a raft of new standards. "While there is no definite deadline for specifications we are working hard together as a consortium to bring these metrics to the industry as soon as possible," they said.
The imminent Green Grid metric is the latest in a raft of new energy efficiency metrics expected iun the coming months and aimed at datacentre managers. Most notably a new Energy Star label covering servers is planned for next year, while at the other end of the IT spectrum the group behind the Top 500 list of super computers plans to launch a Green 500 list of the most energy efficient super computers this November based on a FLOPS per watt metric.
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