Data centre efficiency industry body the Green Grid has released a new framework to allow organisations to assess the ongoing environmental impact of their facilities.
The framework seeks to help organisations define the various components of a data centre, so they can assess the environmental impact of all of those components throughout their lifecycle.
“One of the key problems confronting organisations is that, despite the co-ordinated efforts of standardisation bodies across Europe, there is not yet a generally accepted universal definition of what constitutes a data centre," said Christophe Garnier, EMEA Technical Work Group member.
"Each study must define its own boundaries, and it can be difficult to compare results across studies of different data centres using different methodologies."
By using a lifecycle assessment, The Green Grid says organisations can make more informed decisions regarding design and operation of their facilities. It could, for example, help them to determine when to retire equipment versus re-deploying it, and identify opportunities for virtualisation and consolidation of lower-performing systems onto a single platform.
The framework is based on the ISO 14040:2006 standard, a general purpose framework for evaluating the environmental impact of a given system throughout its lifecycle.
The standard requires the organisation to define the boundaries of its data centre system; to consider which functional units relate to which business serivces; to consider the environmental lifecycle of all the components of its data centre; and to consider the full gamut of environmental factors, including the impact on the natural environment and human health.
Garnier said that the framework will continue to evolve and improve, incorporating real-world case studies and collaboration with the organisations developing assessments to eventually arrive at common approved methods.