Study: Lack of standards slowing green datacenter initiatives

82 per cent of IT decision-makers at large corporations lamented that there is no clear industry standard for green datacenters

Companies seeking to inject sustainable practices into their datacenter operations are hankering for clear standards to guide the way, according to results of a study conducted by Digital Realty Trust, a developer and manager of technology-related real estate. The good news is, plenty of organizations, from private companies to non-profits to the Feds, are working to develop standards.

Among the respondents to the survey, comprising IT decision-makers at large North American corporations, 82 per cent lamented that there is no clear industry standard for green datacenters. The figure is up from 75 per cent compared to results from a similar survey Digital Realty conducted last year.

Further, respondents indicated a clear idea as to what they want in a green datacenter standard: 94 per cent said it "should outline how to achieve efficient power usage (i.e. maximizing energy delivered to IT equipment by the facility)."

Another 83 per cent said that the standard also should outline "how to enhance HVAC systems to use energy more efficiently."

There certainly are a number of efforts under way to develop standards to help companies make their datacenters greener, which means less waste, a small carbon footprint, and often numerous other business benefits.

Among them, the EPA is working to develop an Energy Star rating for datacenter infrastructures and is in the process of collecting data from organizations to help with the effort. Specifically, the EPA is asking companies to gather and share a year's worth of stats on energy use and the operating characteristics of their datacenters, stand-alone facilities as well as those in offices and other types of buildings.

Jim Smith, vice president of engineering at Digital Realty Trust, also pointed to the efforts of The Green Grid. "We industry-wide green datacenter initiatives by continuing to be an active member of The Green Grid, which is doing excellent work establishing standards and best practices for datacenter energy efficiency," he said.

Moreover, the company cited its own efforts in sharing information in the efforts: "We are ... committed to support industry-wide initiatives to increase datacenter efficiency," Smith said. "One of the key ways we are doing this is by sharing energy-efficiency data ... in response to customers and other end-user organizations who want data and benchmarks that educate them about the energy efficiency of competing facilities and about how their datacenter can support their corporate green strategy."

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