SAN JOSE, Calif. The Green Grid, a non-profit consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in data centers, will hold its first technical summit April 18-19 in Denver, Colo. The summit is expected to produce detailed objectives and program plans for 2007 for the group which also announced a broader slate of members.
The Green Grid hopes to set standards that could keep a lid on power consumption, now the chief cost bottleneck for large data centers. Rising problems in data center power consumption have been getting increasing attention in the past year from both industry and government groups.
At the summit, members expect to tackle three broad issues: how to define and measure data center efficiency, how to build efficient data centers and how to improve efficiency in daily operations.
The group announced nearly 30 new members, significantly expanding what had been largely a group of computer makers. The group now includes many communications, software, component and end-user organizations. New members include BT plc, Brocade Communications, Cisco Systems, Force10 Networks, Juniper Networks, Novell, Pillar Data Systems, QLogic, Texas Instruments and The 451 Group.
"With leading companies from across technology market segments joining the consortium, we can now truly bring the collective expertise of the industry to bear on this industry-wide challenge," said John Tuccillo, a director of The Green Grid.
These companies join founding members such as Advanced Micro Devices, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems.
Companies interested in attending the summit are encouraged to contact The Green Grid. New members can join as contributors with the right to sit on work groups and draft technical standards for an annual fee of $25,000, or as members who can vote on the group's actions for an annual fee of $5,000.
"We especially want to recruit end users to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and let us know what their requirements are," said Tony Pierce, a Microsoft executive and former chairman of the PCI Special Interest Group when the group was formally announced in late February.
One possible solution the group may debate is a shift from AC to DC power in the data center. Intel promoted that idea at a recent Intel Developer Forum address by its chief technology officer, Justin Rattner.
The shift could boost data center efficiency by as much as 14 percent, but it could require new standards, connectors, circuit breakers and safety guidelines.
"Power distribution and DC power are areas in scope of what the Green Grid will explore said Jim Pappas, a Green Grid board member who manages server technology initiatives for Intel, speaking at the February launch.
"We're not starting off, however, with an intention to push or implement DC. It is simply one of the architecture choices that will be evaluated," he added.
A handful of studies have already provided some details on the scope of the problem that has gotten so bad companies such as Google now locate large data centers near power plants. A group of researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently launched a broad initiative to tackle some of the issues with computers and network gear.