PUE to Become Global Standard for Data Center Efficiency

PUE to Become Global Standard for Data Center Efficiency

The Green Grid today announced a global effort to develop an Energy Star-like rating for data center energy efficiency, using its popular power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio as the benchmark for green data centers.

The Green Grid, a consortium of IT industry leaders that formed in 2007 to address IT energy use, is working with government agencies and departments around the world to create a consistent and reliable metric for measuring data center energy efficiency.

PUE divides the total amount of energy entering a data center by the amount going to power computing operations (as opposed to cooling and lighting and other non-computing functions) to come up with a single number for energy efficiency in data centers. A perfect PUE would be 1; major IT companies like Google and Microsoft have announced PUEs of around 1.12 in recent months, and one data center designer has claimed a 1.05 PUE for a data center.

Among the partners for the effort are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the Energy Star program; the European Union's Joint Research Center Code of Conduct; the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's Green IT Initiative; and Japan's Green IT Promotion Council. Together, the groups will work to bring the PUE measurement to data centers around the world.

The agreement comes out of a February 2nd meeting of all the groups, where the following goals were set:

      1. Measure the actual IT work output of the data center compared to actual energy consumption. It is of note that in the process to define IT work output, the following interim measurements are being defined and / or validated:
           1a. IT - Measure the potential IT work output compared to expected energy consumption; and measure operational utilization of IT equipment
           1b. Data center facility and infrastructure - Measure the data center infrastructure efficiency (PUE)
      2. Measure renewable energy technologies and re-use of energy to reduce carbon.

"The ultimate goal is to create a set of globally accepted metrics for data center energy efficiency," Tom Brey, IBM representative and Secretary of The Green Grid, said in a statement. "One of the first, and perhaps most important factors to successfully achieving this aim is establishing a unity of communication."

The groups hope that by defining a consistent measurement for all data centers no matter where they're located, it will be easier to create widespread behavior change in the IT industry.

The Green Grid also announced today that it was opening a Program Management Office at the EPA's Energy Star program. The office will consist of members of the Green Grid's board of directors -- which include tech companies AMD, APC by Schneider Electric, Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Oracle -- and will serve as advisors to the EPA's efforts to develop an official Energy Star rating for data centers.

The Energy Star program launched a rating for enterprise servers a year ago, although some industry watchers faulted it for falling short on key issues like blade servers. Energy Star is also currently at work on rating for data centers, which may be launched as early as this summer.