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Metrics needed for green datacentres, says expert

IT managers will need a standardised approach to measuring energy efficiency in datacentres before buying in to plans to reduce carbon emissions, a government energy efficiency adviser has warned.

The draft Climate Change Bill, published last month, aims to bind the government to cutting carbon emissions by 60% before 2050. The bill does not give precise reduction targets for businesses to meet, but datacentres have been identified as high users of power, consuming 1.5% of all UK electricity. However, there is little data to advise managers on how to be more efficient.

A spokesman for the Office of the Mayor of London said that since datacentres were major users of energy, it was vital that datacentre operators in the capital used the most energy efficient technology available.

However, the mayor's office said it did not have any figures on the number of datacentres in London or how much energy they use.

Robin Murray, a consultant at the Market Transformation Programme (MTP), a government-funded initiative which advises and supports the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on energy efficiency, said, "There is not an agreed method for measuring energy efficiency in datacentres, and this is the biggest barrier for managers in determining how green their site is."

The MTP is undertaking research to clarify the state of efficiency in datacentres in the hope of developing a best practice approach or code of conduct which IT managers can use as guide to go green.

Initiatives such as the Green Grid should help, but Murray said a lack of statistics about datacentres came, in part, from business not wanting to disclose information.

"You need to gain a commitment to be energy efficient from the people who buy IT equipment, the people that maintain it, cooling and uninterruptible power supply suppliers and senior management. This will not happen if you cannot measure the success of how energy efficient you are being."

Related article: Datacentre kit to be given Energy Star green rating

Related article: Solving storage power and cooling concerns

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

 


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