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What’s a Green Data Center?

Q: Is there a proper definition of a green data center? Are there any official green data center standards?

A: Kwasi Asare, IBM's Green Data Guru: No. Unlike durable goods such as washers and dryers that have the Energy Star rating, the EPA-approved sticker, you don't get one of those when you buy a data center. And you definitely don't get one when you buy a server.

But the Spec.org organization is working with the EPA to bring forth an energy-efficiency standard. That would be a way by which all the IT vendors and manufacturers can build energy-efficient equipment, measured by performance per watt, per square foot. It's a drive toward IT optimization. You've got powerful platforms and systems in data centers consuming a lot of electricity and perhaps they're not as energy efficient as they should be. A 10,000-square-foot data center consumes more electricity than 8,000 60-watt light bulbs; that's six to 10 times the power used to operate the typical office building. We've got to get more intelligent about buying and consuming energy.

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