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Gartner criticizes Green Grid

By Chris Mellor
July 30, 2007 12:00 PM ET - Gartner Inc. has criticized The Green Grid, an environmental consortium, saying it misses a greater opportunity to influence legislation and behavior for broader green issues. Gartner also suggested that member self-interest may prevent the group from delivering tangible standards.

The Green Grid, announced in February, is a nonprofit consortium with more than 80 members. It has an 11-person governing committee with members from companies such as Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Intel Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., IBM and Microsoft Corp. The organization also has four working groups aimed at developing processes and metrics for making data centers more efficient in the way they use energy for power and cooling.

Specifically, it has promised to "foster discussion and information sharing between the best minds from the vendor and end-user communities to address critical issues" and to "develop a collective, vendor-neutral knowledge base so as to provide end-users with a trusted resource for vendor-agnostic solutions and information."

In its report, titled "The Green Grid: A Paler Shade Of Green," Gartner says that the charter of The Green Grid extends beyond data center power and cooling strategies to include dealing with broad environmental issues.

The Green Grid said it is taking a "holistic approach to addressing the entire computing ecosystem. Standards and metrics will examine all relevant IT equipment (compute, network and storage nodes) and non-IT equipment (air conditioning, facility design) that impact the efficiency of the ecosystem. However, the initial focus is on the specific efficiency issues related to data center environments."

Gartner raises several other criticisms about The Green Grid in its report. Among them:

  • There is no specific timeline for The Green Grid's deliverables.

  • It needs more user organizations to be members to balance the strong vendor membership.

  • Vendors will develop proprietary technologies to enhance their greenness and won't want to share these with other members, limiting the effectiveness of the group.

  • The IT industry needs a broad voice covering green issues outside the data center and helping to shape legislation. The Green Grid is not involved here.
In its summary, the Gartner report states that The Green Grid "has the potential to deliver some new standards that will benefit the industry, but don't hold your breath."

Green Grid board member Bruce Shaw, director of worldwide commercial marketing at AMD, said: "The decision was made early on to set up the board and get the by-laws and charter established for the rules going forward. Now we've expanded it and opened it up to end-user membership and are actively pursuing them. We've had hundreds of requests [from end users] for membership."

Any IT-using organization interested in data center efficiency can join, paying $25,000 or $5,000 annually, depending on the level of involvement desired.

Concerning talking to legislators, Green Grid's fact sheet states, "A top priority is to work with the EPA and other appropriate governmental organizations to develop appropriate efficiency metrics for the industry and to produce platform-neutral standards/metrics."

Reprinted with permission from Copyright 2012 IDG, all rights reserved.
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