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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Are you Green? Are you REC-less?

I have been looking into renewable energy sources for data centers a lot lately. Why? Because it is responsible, necessary and a way to stimulate the changes that must occur in the nation's electricity grid that is up to 100 years old in places.

The whole Virtualization movement got me thinking about this a couple of years ago, because I noticed that when my customers deployed blades and other high density solutions to support virtualization a funny thing happened - electricity draw to the cabinets almost doubled.

So the footprint shrinks but the electricity (and cooling) goes up dramatically. So I asked the next question which was - if I double my energy draw and that energy is not green (wind, biomass, nuclear, etc.) how am I reducing carbon? Hmmmm. Maybe I'm not. Oh but wait, my utility lets be purchase RECs - Renewable Energy Certificates so I am all set.

Next question - aren't REC's like putting a 'save the earth' sticker on a Hummer? It's feel good green - not measureable green.

So What is the answer? How do you get truly green? How do you move beyond the 'we print on both sides of the paper' and 'we turn off the lights at the diesel refinery' feel good green into actual, 'I am doing something that is not only measurable but so green it's almost black' when looking at our IT infrastructure?

Stay tuned for more. There is a way, using 'off the shelf ' technology and sources of power to do this. And it will save you roughly $6,000/year per cabinet/rack on electricity alone, let alone what the carbon reduction is. Can you say FAT bonus?

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