Nations agree to global data center metrics

A consortium of international interests have chosen a standardized energy efficiency metric

The U.S. government, the European Union and Japan have reached an agreement to designate Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) as the industry’s preferred energy efficiency metric for data centers. PUE is a measurement of the total energy of the data center divided by the information technology energy consumption.

“The ultimate goal is to create a set of globally accepted metrics for data center energy efficiency.  One of the first, and perhaps most important factors to successfully achieving this aim is establishing a unity of communication,” said Tom Brey, IBM representative and secretary of The Green Grid. A clear and well-defined language for energy efficiency metrics “will give us a common measuring stick for all data centers regardless of their location.  With that type of consistency, we can start driving behavioral changes in the industry."


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Representatives from the Energy Department’s Save Energy Now and Federal Energy Management Programs, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan’s Green IT Promotion Council, and The Green Grid, a global consortium of IT companies and professionals seeking to improve energy efficiency in data centers and business computing, met in February to agree on data center energy efficiency measurements, metrics, and reporting conventions. The organizations announced reaching the agreement earlier this month.

In addition to establishing PUE as the preferred metric, the group issued additional guidelines. It agreed that organizations should measure energy levels directly at the server level. At a minimum, measurements should be taken at the output of the uninterruptable power supply.

The group also agreed that or a dedicated data center, total energy measurement should include all energy sources at the point of utility handoff. For data centers in larger buildings, total energy should include all cooling, lighting, and support infrastructure, in addition to servers.

The group also recognized the necessity of adding other metrics in addition to PUE.

A task force comprised of representatives from each participating organization will continue to work on the guidelines and participants will meet again later in the year to evaluate progress.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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