Global taskforce agrees on green datacentre metric

DCeP hopes to win widespread support as a useful and meaningful standard for measuring datacentre efficiency

A global taskforce on datacentre efficiency has agreed on a metric it hopes will give organisations a meaningful, standard way of measuring and reporting their energy productivity. The DCeP (datacentre energy productivity) equation quantifies the useful work a datacentre produces based on the amount of energy it consumes.

Spearheaded by industry forum The Green Grid, DCeP has been jointly agreed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the US Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, as well as by government and industry bodies in Japan.

DCeP allows organisations to define “useful work” in terms that make sense to their particular business. For a retail business that might mean the number of sales made, for example, while for an online information company it could be the number of searches completed.

Commenting on the agreement, Green Grid board member Deva Bodas, principal engineer and lead architect for server power management at Intel, said: “With escalating demand for datacentre operations and rising energy costs, it is essential for datacentre owners and operators to monitor, assess and improve performance using energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission metrics. This is why the recommendations of the taskforce are so important.”

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The agreement represents the culmination of five years of work by the taskforce, which has previously secured agreement on other datacentre efficiency metrics such as power usage effectiveness (PUE), carbon usage effectiveness (CUE), energy resuse factor (ERF) and the green energy coefficient (GEC).

Andrew Donoghue, senior analyst for datacentre technologies, at 451 Research said: “The industry has been trying to come up with a useful productivity metric for a long time without much success or uptake. Harmonisation efforts are to be welcomed, but there is a difference between proposing a metric and getting widespread adoption.”

He noted that other industry bodies and datacentre customers such as the BCS and eBay have developed alternative productivity metrics for datacentres, but added that none have so far caught on in a big way across the industry as a whole. “DCeP is another incremental step but it’s too early to say whether it will be conclusive or world-changing yet,” said Donoghue.

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