Computerworld Honors 2013: Measuring the sustainability of data centers worldwide

The Green Grid, the 21st Century Achievement Award winner for sustainability, continues to develop and promote the tools that organizations need to design and maintain more efficient data centers.

Computerworld Honors medal

Data centers require huge amounts of energy, and as the demand for new and updated data centers continues to grow, energy requirements could increase exponentially.

The Green Grid (TGG) is trying to counteract the growing energy demands by enabling IT leaders to employ proven sustainable solutions as they capitalize on the new digital economy.

TGG is the global authority on resource-efficient data centers. It is influencing data center design and maintenance by developing and providing metrics, models and educational resources that demonstrate best practices in sustainability. And its influence continues to grow as more and more IT and data center managers use TGG tools and metrics.

Such tools include the Data Center Maturity Model (DCMM) and the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metric, which has been formally adopted by the U.S., European Union and Japanese governments as a baseline method for quantifying energy use.

In February 2012, TGG created a case study highlighting eBay's implementation of DCMM, a benchmarking model that touches on major components of the data center, including power, cooling, compute, network and storage. The company used the model to consider all areas of operation in its new data center facility in Phoenix, enabling it to significantly lower its PUE and create one of the most efficient data centers in the world. DCMM offers a 360-degree analysis of how well a current data center is performing in terms of meeting efficiency standards and how well positioned it is for future growth. For eBay, the tool helped identify opportunities to become more efficient in its operations and track progress toward that goal.

TGG's case study of eBay's implementation of the DCMM has provided an ideal proof point, offering further industry validation and influencing other companies to follow suit.

Similarly, Facebook's adoption of TGG's Water Usage Effectiveness metric, which the company publicly announced in August 2012, illustrates how TGG's measurements and metrics are impacting some of the world's largest companies and leading others to follow in their eco-conscious footsteps.

More than 200 data centers globally now use the online DCMM tool and offer their performance publicly. Moreover, over the past five years, the growing use of TGG tools and metrics has helped reduce data center power and cooling energy overhead by 20%.

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Pratt is a Computerworld contributing writer in Waltham, Mass. Contact her at marykpratt@verizon.net.

Read more about the 2013 Computerworld Honors Laureates.

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