6 valuable green IT resources

A list of six valuable resources to consider tapping as you contemplate embracing green technology

Embarking down the sustainable IT path can be pretty daunting. You may very well appreciate, in a general sense, the potential benefits you can reap from green IT, including lower costs and a better environmental track record.

Fortunately, there are some valuable resources out there to assist you. Some sources might cost a bit of money. Some deliver information for free. And there's one that might not only provide some gratis guidance but will also help you pay for an energy-saving green-tech implementation.

The following is a list of six valuable resources to consider tapping as you contemplate embracing green technology.

1. ASHRAE - At first blush, you might not equate the long-winded organizational name American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers with datacenter efficiency. However, ASHRAE is an excellent resource for information on that very subject. The nonprofit group has some 50,000 members. Its lofty mission is "advancing heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world through research, standards writing, publishing and continuing education."

For starters, the group has for sale a book called "Best Practices for Datacom Facility Energy Efficiency," a title that leaves no question as to what the book is about. The 230-page publication thoroughly covers the gamut of reaping higher efficiency from the datacenter, from design and construction to operation and maintenance. Topics include HVAC equipment, airflow, liquid cooling, and lots more.

It's certainly not bedtime reading, nor is it well suited for a layman trying to get a better sense of what sustainable IT is all about. However, a datacenter admin or engineer will certainly find useful nuggets of information in this clearly written publication.

Also, because the group's not affiliated with a particular vendor, you needn't worry about it attempting to push a particular technology on you. For more information, go to the bookstore section of the ASHRAE Web site.

In addition to the book, the group offers workshops on datacenter efficiency, such as a series of free events coming up in New York this year.

2. The Uptime Institute - If shooting the messenger was standard practice in the IT industry, the vendor-neutral Uptime Institute would be riddled with bullet-holes. Take, for example, the results of the group's recent study, which found that 42 per cent of enterprise datacenters will exceed power capacity within 12 to 24 months unless they carry out a costly expansion; another 23 per cent said it would take 24 to 60 months to run out of power capacity.

Fortunately, Uptime doesn't just deliver the bad news; it provides answers in many forms. Like ASHRAE, Uptime hosts educational seminars on various topics pertaining to datacenter energy efficiency. (They're not free, by the way -- but they can be quite valuable, according to folks who've attended.)

Uptime also hosts a load of free white papers on its site with practical information on topics such as deploying alternative cooling systems and budgeting for the cost of a new datacenter.

3. The Green Grid - This consortium of high-tech companies has blossomed considerably since its official formation last year. It started off with 11 companies -- some of the most well-recognized IT companies in the world -- and now has a roster of more than 150 organizations. The group's ambition: advancing energy efficiency in the datacenter.

To that end, members of the Green Grid have worked feverishly since the group's founding to generate recommended metrics, best practices, and technologies -- while remaining vendor-neutral in the process. Some of the fruits of the group's labors are freely available for public consumption, both through white papers and at events. Much of the meat, though, remains restricted to paying Green Grid members. (Membership starts at US$5,000 per year.)

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Ted Samson

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