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Data Center Pulse: Finding Green Solutions for Energy-Guzzling Servers and Cooling Systems

Kathryn Siranosian | Tuesday November 10th, 2009 | 1 Comment

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Data Center Pulse logoThink of it as a support group for data center gurus.

Better yet, think of it as a support group on steroids for data center gurus.

Data Center Pulse (DCP) is a non-profit, open source community where data center end users can share information, voice opinions, define innovative next-generation solutions, and ultimately influence activities and trends in the industry.

Members can participate in LinkedIn discussions, download program proposals and presentations, stay up-to-date with breaking IT news, watch informational videos, network, blog…and more.

Founded only a year ago (in September 2008), DCP already boasts 1,240 members, representing more than 600 companies, spread across 45 different countries. It’s an exclusive group of data center owners, operators and users — and in this uniquely specialized community, consultants or individuals with primary roles in a sales, marketing or business development capacity are noticeably (and purposely) absent.*

“What we want to do is get peers in the industry together so we can have a larger voice to influence the industry,” explains Dean Nelson, chairman and founder of DCP. “It’s a community with open dialogue, where we don’t have to worry about being sold to.”

As you might expect, sustainability is a fundamental concern among DCP members.

After all, data centers are notorious budget-busting energy hogs. Plus, because they eat up so much energy running and cooling servers, data centers now account for about a quarter of total global CO2 emissions from information and communications technology. (As remarkable as it sounds, McKinsey & Company estimates that by 2020, the world’s data centers could surpass the airline industry as a greenhouse gas polluter.) Essentially, it’s this one-two punch that makes data center efficiency a top priority for companies looking to knock down energy costs and shrink carbon footprints.

As an example of DCP’s commitment to sustainable solutions, Nelson points out that the group is an official sponsor of “The Chill Off 2,” an independent project designed to answer one of the industry’s most pressing questions: What’s the most efficient way to cool a data center?

DCP is testing today’s leading data center cooling technologies side-by-side and will publish an industry report on the findings. You can follow The Chill Off 2 testing at a blog written by Brian Day, senior program manager at DCP.

In addition, the group is tackling a variety of other data center issues, including design, modularity, scale, dynamic matching, standardized metrics, and security–all of which overlay sustainability concerns, Nelson says.

“When it comes down to it, everyone has the same problems,” he explains. “We’re all dealing with tightening budgets that are forcing data center consolidation or with data centers that are rapidly growing. Either way, the goals are cost control and efficiency.”

Nelson should know. He’s been working specifically with data centers for over a decade, and he was a key player at Sun Microsystems before accepting a position as eBay’s senior director, Global Data Center Strategy, Architecture and Operations, earlier this fall.

“Data centers are just big beasts we have to deal with,” Nelson says, revealing equal parts reverence and determination. “We need to make them more efficient and more agile. At DCP, we’re hoping to push the industry forward and build a community that can function as a collective unit to solve those kinds of problems.”

It’s important work–because these days, data centers are fundamental to virtually every business plan.

“At eBay, we live and die by their performance,” Nelson concludes. “We cannot live without them, but we are dedicated to deliver performance both economically and ecologically. There must be a balance between the two. By joining forces with our peers to influence the industry we can achieve both.”

You can get more information about joining Data Center Pulse here.

*A second group, the “DCP: Industry” group does not restrict membership or participation.


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  • w k

    Small electric heating and cooling system for each room, usually installed celling and wall junction and operated with remote control. already used in 3rd world country, noisless, saves you money, you turn h/C off for area you are not using, cheaper to repair and cheaper to buy. But companies make more $$ celling these huge A/C units and comprossers and H&C pipes thru the roof and repair cost.Making more $, if that whats its all about money and corruption, thats why we don’t have these small heating vents. That will defenitly reduce “Big oil” and “king Coal” sales, and you talk about saving energy, first you, a bill like that to mandate use of small electric H&C syatem will not pass. just forget it,