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Forum addresses data center sustainability

By Max Burkhalter
March 3, 2011
Data center sustainability took center stage at a recent forum organized by the Green Grid Association, a consortium of organizations dedicated to improving resource efficiency in data centers and enterprise IT ecosystems.

The event, called the Green Grid Technical Forum and Members Meeting, takes place annually and was held this year on March 1 and 2 in Santa Clara, California.

Presenters and participants in the forum emphasized the value of data centers in an evolving economy. As a growing number of companies utilize high-speed Ethernet networks and employ cloud computing solutions, high performance data centers are becoming a crucial component of many organizations' IT infrastructures.

As data centers are built and upgraded worldwide, cost efficiency and reduction of energy consumption have become key concerns for many governments, companies and nonprofit organizations. Participants at the forum introduced a range of tools designed to help meet these challenges.

Rob Bernard, a representative for Microsoft and board member of the Green Grid Association, said data centers have "fundamentally changed" the ways in which companies and governments live, work and communicate.

According to Bernard, small and large organizations alike can transform their data centers from an "operational burden" to a platform for both environmental sustainability and economic profitability.

"The Green Grid is taking steps to ensure that any organization using a data center can move forward with confidence in knowing that we are making substantial progress in regional alignment in the area of sustainability," Bernard said. "We welcome and encourage active participation from others to assist us in this journey.”

A variety of tools for greater resource efficiency were presented at the forum. One such tool is the Data Center Maturity Model, which assists end-users in determining the resource efficiency of facilities. This is widely viewed as an important first step before adjusting infrastructure.

Other solutions presented offer stakeholders a better understanding of the process of engagement with local U.S. utility companies. This engagement, according to the Green Grid Association, can help companies identify important financial incentives for making changes to existing data center infrastructure.

The Green Grid Association originally focused exclusively on energy efficiency. The organization recently expanded its mission to incorporate resource efficiency more broadly, in recognition of the growing importance of natural resources for the creation of more sustainable data centers.


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