February 26, 2007 8:52 AM PST

IT titans hope to put data centers on energy diet

The Green Grid, a nonprofit designed to improve energy efficiency for data centers and corporate computing, announced on Monday its first board of directors.

The 11-member Green Grid board is made up of Advanced Micro Devices, Intel, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Rackable Systems, SprayCool, VMware and American Power Conversion. Also on Monday, the consortium finalized its organizational structure and technical charter and released three white papers.

The nonprofit, which announced its formation last April, aims to provide best-practices recommendations, as well as metrics and technologies, to lower power consumption for data centers and corporate computing worldwide.

The group's efforts come at a time when interest in clean technology is gaining ground. Power consumption has increased dramatically, as businesses and consumers demand more from their computers and chips and as companies must cool down their more densely packed data centers.

Last year, at the Global Conference on Energy Efficiency in the Data Center, Sun's chief technology officer noted that four or five years earlier a 6-foot tall rack of computing gear would consume 2 to 3 kilowatts of power, but now consumes 10 to 20 kilowatts.

As part of its announcement Monday, the Green Grid released three white papers: "The Green Grid Opportunity," "Guidelines for Energy Efficient Data Centers" and "The Green Grid Metrics: Describing Data Center Power Efficiency."

The papers delve into topics such as short-term and long-term objectives for increasing energy efficiencies in both new and existing data centers. The papers also discuss using a Power Usage Effectiveness metric, in conjunction with a Data Center Efficiency metric, as a way to let data center operators quickly assess the energy efficiency of their systems.

The organization, which seeks to create platform-neutral specifications and metrics, has two tiers of membership.

One is a general membership, which costs $5,000 annually and provides access to all technical documentation and intellectual property licensing produced by the group. The other, a contributing membership that costs $25,000 annually, also includes an ability to join Green Grid technology working groups, review technology documentation at each phase of development, and directly contribute to the direction of the consortium.

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