The Green Grid is finally getting the ball rolling after a protracted start and will host its first Green Grid General Members’ Meeting and Technical Forum in February, one year after its formal launch.
The event will be held at the Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco on February 5-6.
The goal of the meeting is to advance the organization’s efforts around energy efficiency in the datacenter and to share some of the metrics being developed by the organization, a conglomeration of 110 technology and energy firms. This has been the Grid’s mission from the start.
One of the challenges facing the group is uniting the many individual efforts around cooling.
Each vendor seems to have its own project, whether it’s Intel, AMD, Seagate, Micron or IBM—all of which are Green Grid members. But often these efforts take place in isolation. A memory company like Micron works on its own project while a semiconductor maker like Intel has its own project, and a storage vendor like EMC does its own thing.
Together, the individual parts have no idea of what the other is doing or how to measure energy consumption and savings by various hardware components.
“It became evident if we want to make changes we can’t look at components, we have to look at things holistically. Everyone had their own initiative and there was no commonality. So we structured our technical committee more functionally than on a technology level,” said John Tuccillo, vice president of industry alliances with American Power Conversion and director of The Green Grid.
Among the companies working together: AMD and Intel, which usually spend their time fighting like cats and dogs.
Larry Vertal, senior strategist at AMD and a representative from the board of directors joked, “It’s quite surprising and probably not believable to a lot of the world how well the two companies have worked together.”
He said the reason the Green Grid, after its splashy debut, has been quiet for so long is that members had to resolve a lot of legal issues around intellectual property so they could participate while maintaining a competitive element at the same time.
“They will continue in their own direction to a certain degree and leverage the work being done by the Grid, but at the same time there is a real intent to get a baseline,” he said.
One effort the group has taken is to measure a mixture of hardware components as a whole rather than as separate parts. This is being done now by The Green Grid’s Technical Forum and will be a part of the February event. “If we take a good cross match of the industry and breadth of our members—120 and growing—if we could come to an agreement on the definitions for energy measurement, then we could have something there,” said Tuccillo.
Nik Simpson, an analyst with The Burton Group, said this kind of unification is necessary. “Of all the things The Green Grid can do, one of the most important is insuring interoperability between different computing and monitoring systems, because the last thing IT needs is to add any more complexity to their environments,” he told InternetNews.com.
To an extent, this effort must also be driven by customers. “If customers don’t force them to do this, there will be less impetus to insure interoperability. The industry has a habit of saying this will all work just fine if you buy everything from us, but I don’t think that’s how customers buy stuff,” he said.
The Grid’s first formal event, Plugfest for Independent Hardware Vendors, took place in November. Hardware companies like IBM, Sun, HP and other GG members hauled their big boxes to Dupont, Wash. to have their power efficiency evaluated by an independent third party. Each IHV received evaluations on how their components performed against existing specifications and how to improve.
“The event did well enough that people want to do it again,” said Tuccillo. “If we can offer feedback in energy efficiency for datacenters as well as componentry, Plugfest works pretty well.”