The Gartner Group has criticised environmental consortium the Green Grid for missing the opportunity to influence legislation and behaviour for broader green issues.
Gartner also says it considers that member self-interest may prevent the group delivering tangible standards.
The Green Grid is a non-profit consortium with over 80 members in the wide IT product supply industry. It has a 11-person committee with members from companies such as APC, Intel, Sun, IBM and Microsoft, and four working groups aimed at developing processes and metrics for making data centres more efficient in the way they use energy for power and cooling.
Specifically it will "foster discussion and information sharing between the best minds from the vendor and 'end-user' communities to address critical issues", and "develop a collective, vendor-neutral knowledge base so as to provide end-users with a trusted resource for vendor-agnostic solutions and information".
In its report, entitled Toolkit: The Green Grid: a Paler Shade of Green, Gartner says that the charter of the Green Grid extends beyond data centre power and cooling strategies to include dealing with broad environmental issues.
The Green Grid itself states: "The Green Grid is taking a holistic approach to addressing the entire computing eco-system. Standards and metrics will examine all relevant IT equipment (compute, network and storage nodes) and non-IT equipment (air conditioning, facility design) that impact the efficiency of the eco-system. However the initial focus is on the specific efficiency issues related to data centre environments."
Gartner raises several other criticisms about The Green Grid in its report. Among them:
- There is no specific timeline for The Green Grid's deliverables.
- It needs more user organisations to be members to balance the strong vendor membership.
- Vendors will develop proprietary technologies to enhance their greenness and won't want to share these with other members, limiting the effectiveness of the group.
- The IT industry needs a broad voice covering green issues outside the data centre and helping to shape legislation. The Green Grid is not involved here.
In its summary the Gartner report states the Green Grid: "has the potential to deliver some new standards that will benefit the industry, but don't hold your breath."
Board member Bruce Shaw of APC said: ""The decision was made early on to set up the board and get the by-laws and charter established for the rules going forward. Now we've expanded it and opened it up to end-user membership and are actively pursuing them. We've had hundreds of requests [from end users] for membership."
The Grid agrees it needs more user organisations to join. Any IT-using organisation interested in data centre efficiency can join, paying $25,000 or $5,000 annually depending upon the level of involvement desired.
Concerning talking to legislators the Green Grid's fact sheet states : "a top priority is to work with the EPA and other appropriate governmental organisations to develop appropriate efficiency metrics for the industry and to produce platform-neutral standards/metrics."
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