Lots of people believe that perks for companies that run energy-efficient datacentres are A Good Thing and lots of government agencies say they are keen to offer sweeteners for firms that can demonstrate they are good citizens when it comes to energy consumption. But one question has been left floating in the air: how on earth do you do it?
It is generally agreed that testing every CPU, disk drive, fan, screen and graphics card is impossible. Even testing at the server system level is deemed to be very tough. That leaves the option of holistic assessments of entire datacentres, probably through a third-party auditor.
“It might not happen in the near-term but in the long-term you need a standard way to quantify the efficiency of a datacentre to support a carrot-and-stick approach,” says Aaron Davis who sits on the board of IT power management and cooling giant APC.
“You’re going to have to have a metric that is simple to understand and you can’t play a game with.”
Davis’s solution is based on a straightforward subtraction calculation that exposes the wastage that is often at the heart of datacentre power issues.
“It’s how much power is going into a datacentre and how much is being used, because all the rest is overhead,” he says.
Separately, Davis says APC plans a software release for datacentres in the April to June period of next year that is a “completely autonomic” approach to managing power.
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