Wednesday, November 26th, 2008 | Author:

The European Commission last week released a detailed set of benchmarks to guide IT managers toward the most energy-efficient practices as they build new facilities or upgrade existing data centres.

Part of the EC's Joint Research Centre, the Institute for Energy unveiled its "Code of Conduct on Data Centres Energy Efficiency" last week to help move public- and private-sector data centres toward the most efficient energy use possible.

Among the goals of the code of conduct are to "develop and promote a set of easily understood metrics to measure the current efficiencies and improvement going forward"; to raise awareness among managers, owners and others to help them understand the importance and benefits of energy efficiency in data centres; and the development and promotion of new, energy efficient technologies; and set efficiency targets for owners and managers of data centre facilities.

Some of the steps encouraged in the code of conduct for achieving the greenest data centre possible include the use of energy-efficient servers and virtualisation of servers; designing new data centres and optimizing existing facilities to minimize the need for external cooling; and along those same lines, keeping data centres from being overcooled by strategic management of a facility's actual cooling needs.

In order to join the voluntary code, data centre owners and managers in the public and private sectors must agree to monitoring the total energy used in their data centres for at least one month, and allow regular updating and auditing of those numbers over time. This includes not just the main IT equipment of servers, storage and network equipment, but also the cooling system and auxiliary hardware like lighting and monitors.

In developing the code, the EC has incorporated the Green Grid's Data Centre Infrastructure Efficiency (DCIE) metric, which breaks down energy usage in a data centre between the computing hardware and the facility itself as a way of gauging the overall efficiency of a facility. The DCIE metric goes hand in hand with the Power Usage Effectiveness measure developed by the Green Grid, which divides the total energy entering a data centre into the two components of hardware and facility.


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