The Data Centre Maturity Model (DCMM) describes current best practice, covering power, cooling, computing, storage and networking activities, and provides a five-year roadmap for improving the sector’s resource and energy efficiency.
The DCMM will be used by data centre operators to benchmark their performance and identify actions to further improve their sustainability. This process of benchmarking allows data centres to migrate through six stages. Standards of attainment in the final three stages of the DCMM go beyond current industry best practice on sustainability.
The DCMM embraces resource and energy efficiency by incorporating new metrics covering water usage, energy recovery and the energy efficiency of operation of computing resources. This should allow better assessment of the overall sustainability of data centres.
The fast-rising number of server farms, mainly hidden online banking, networking sites and office email systems, makes data centres a growing source of carbon emissions. Firm figures are hard to come by but estimates suggest they already use almost 3% of the UK’s electricity. Government projections show this doubling by 2020.
The British Computer Society (BCS), a professional association for IT specialists, recently launched the certified energy efficiency data centre award (CEEDA), with which it expects to provide independent verification of energy efficiency claims and encourage operators to measure and compare their performance. There are three levels of award: gold, silver and bronze. For gold, an operator must meet a wide range of best practice criteria and have a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.5 or less.
Also, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) have extended the permissible temperature range for IT equipment, allowing data centre to operate with greater energy efficiency. And, the Carbon Trust says that it is working with others on a common method for calculating the carbon footprint of ICT products and services globally, and this should be available by the end of this year.
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