We'd like to present some current and future standards and technical documents related to Data Center sustainability. These are relevant to Data Center design, construction and operation. Sticking to standards-based environmental regulations, procedures and best practices is good for Data Center business. Especially as companies increasingly ask suppliers Data Center sustainability and efficiency-related questions. Not just to save on costs and energy consumption, but also because they have their own strict targets and image to consider.
Data Center Sustainability Standards and documents: an overview
CENELEC’s EN 50600 series standards define minimum requirements for data centre infrastructures of all shapes and sizes. This covers protection from environmental events and failure and unauthorised access, including internal and external environmental events within the pathways and spaces that house the infrastructure. EN 50600-3-1 deals with measurement, monitoring and metering energy consumption at specified locations. Properly managed, this operational information may help assess Data Center performance using sections from the EN 50600-4 series and its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). EN 50600-4 series directly handles efficiency such as Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) and Renewable Energy Factor (REF).
ETSI ES 205 200 defines so-called Global Key Performance Indicators (Global KPIs) enabling monitoring of ICT sites' energy management. This standard proposes a single Global KPI (DCEM) Dataprocessing and Communication Energy Management that specifies four Objective KPIs addressing total DC energy consumption, data centre task efficiency, use of renewable energy and re-use of energy, that allows benchmarking the energy efficiency of ICT sites of the whole industry.
ITU-T L.1300 from ITU-T Study Group 5 is largely based on the EU CoC Best Practices V4.0.5 for infrastructure design and includes 23 additional practices. Differences relate, in part, to the preference of ITU-T to reference ETSI environmental ranges supported by ETSI EN 300 019 series standards rather than those used in the EU CoC Best Practices.
Initial drafts of DIS ISO/IEC 30134 series on data centre KPIs are available, but this mirrors the works of JTC 1/SC 39 WG 1, a comparatively new body within CENELEC. To prevent duplication, the transposition of these documents into a European set of standards are being considered. The IEC is also considering the development of a Technical Report containing guidelines for data centre infrastructure design in relation to resource management.
IEEE802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet from the IEEE 802.3 Working Group estimates that network devices and interfaces represent more than 10% of all annual IT power consumption, amounting to tens of TWh. If we look at future requirements, things become even more challenging. Bandwidth trends in the office indicate that the number of network connections will keep growing rapidly, partly due to the vast uptake of WiFi devices and the demand for more flexible infrastructure, to suit current work patterns, across multiple locations. In 2010, Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) was introduced, to provide a mechanism and a standard for reducing network interfaces’ energy usage without hampering their functioning. Although this is a new technology, and best practices still need to be developed, Cisco / Intel LAB Tests have shown EEE can offer 15% direct Energy Savings on a Cisco 4500 Switch. Combining EEE with Wake-on-LAN (WoL), an ethernet standard which allows devices to be switched on or awakened by a network message, can bring further savings of up to 50%.
ISO 50001:2011 Energy Management System Standard provides organizations with a recognized framework for integrating energy performance into their management practices. Among other things, this involves establishing energy baselines that are measured, monitored and adjusted to ensure management control, using this data as a base for on-going forecasting and improvements to energy efficient operations and purchasing and deploying efficient low-energy equipment wherever possible
ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System Standard provides a framework for ensuring that interfaces are closely controlled in a manner that avoids or minimizes any negative environmental impact. The ISO 14001 standard promotes procedures that have been made in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner, requires proactive management of any design and operational environmental risks and supports lasting environmental and economic goals.
Please note that the various Data Center sustainability standards and technical documents mentioned may have been superseded by newer versions at the time this article appears.