Some of the biggest names in the datacenter industry will gather in Silicon Valley next week to discuss the results of real-world tests intended to help identify the most effective ways to reduce energy consumption in datacenters.
Operators of some very large datacenters, including the U.S. Postal Service, Yahoo, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will present about a dozen case studies documenting their experiences with technologies and practices for improving energy efficiency. They include wireless sensor networks for managing air flow in datacenters, modular cooling systems that reduce heat spots around densely packed servers, and high-efficiency power transformers.
One of the goals is to produce real-world data that will help other organizations decide which technologies they can implement to reduce power consumption and what savings they can hope to achieve from them, said Teresa Tung, a senior researcher with Accenture, which plans to publish a free report on its Web site next Thursday that pulls together the results.
"If you want to make the case for your data center to use some of these initiatives, it's nice to have real-world data you can point to and say, here are the savings that somebody got," she said.
The project has been organized by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which represents some of the area's biggest technology companies, along with Berkeley Labs. Other companies hosting tests in their data centers include Oracle, NetApp, Synopsys and Sun Microsystems, which is hosting the event next Thursday, called the Data Center Energy Summit. The data centers have been testing technologies from SynapSense, IBM, Cassatt, Powersmiths, Power Assure, Liebert, APC, Modius, Rittal and SprayCool.
The vendors' motives for taking part are not only altruistic. As organizations try to expand their data centers and add more powerful servers, energy consumption could be a major inhibitor to growth in the tech industry and the economy as a whole. The event is a chance to promote technologies that allow organizations to keep growing their data centers.
The effort by industry may also help ward off potential government regulation in this area. "If there were to be regulation and certification, we definitely want it to be couched in real results that we know can be achieved by adopting these best practices and technologies," Tung said.