Power Electronics

Data Points

Green Grid to Collaborate with DOE

The Green Grid, a nonprofit consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in data centers and business computing ecosystems, recently announced a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the formation of two European-based working groups. The consortium also announced the addition of more than 50 new members since April 2007.

The Green Grid and the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will collaborate to improve energy efficiency by educating IT managers on both the technical implementation of a greener data center and the associated financial benefits. As part of the memorandum, The Green Grid and the DOE will develop a common set of best-practice information, terminology and tools to promote increased energy efficiency in U.S. data-center facilities.

The MOU was signed at an industry roundtable forum held in New York City, which included participants from the financial services and entertainment industries with large New York-based data centers, technology vendors, and state government and nongovernmental agencies and utilities.

“The memorandum of understanding with the Department of Energy signals an important step for The Green Grid,” said Roger Tipley, director of The Green Grid. “This collaboration will provide IT managers with a jointly developed set of guidelines to help improve their energy efficiency in their data center.”

The Green Grid also announced the formation of two new working groups designed to extend the organization's presence in Europe and to ensure that efforts are inclusive of regionally unique issues regarding data-center energy efficiency. One of the new working groups is technically focused on data collection and analysis, while the other new group is focused on consortium communications within Europe.

The Data Collection and Analysis Working Group is chartered to collect data from European members to extend and support The Green Grid's goals of providing industry-wide recommendations on best practices, metrics and technologies that will improve overall data-center energy efficiencies. The working group also will collaborate with existing local organizations to gather technical data specific to each region. The Green Grid's existing global Technical Committee will oversee the working group's activities.

The Communications Working Group will provide recommendations on regional communications activities and promote content and information developed by the Technical Committee to industry audiences based in Europe. The working group also will serve as a point of engagement for European-based organizations interested in collaborating with The Green Grid. For additional information, see www.thegreengrid.org.

Survey Accesses Energy-Efficiency Initiatives in Data Centers

An industry survey conducted by the Data Center Users' Group (DCUG) provides insight into the actions some data-center operators have taken to increase the efficiency of their facilities and identifies the challenges organizations face in driving additional improvements. The results of this survey, which were released by Emerson Network Power, include the finding that many data-center professionals have configured their data centers to improve cooling efficiency. The survey also identifies a “lack of management priority” as one of the most common hurdles faced by these professionals in their efforts to reduce energy use.

The DCUG — a group of influential data center, IT and facility managers formed by Emerson Network Power — completed the survey in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. The survey supported the EPA's recently released “Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency.”

More than 150 DCUG member companies and nonmember Fortune 500 companies participated in the survey, which covered a variety of data-center topics including power management, precision cooling, energy efficiency, technology implementation and consolidation.

According to the survey, the majority of respondents have made operational improvements to increase energy efficiency. Seventy-seven percent have their data centers arranged in a hot-aisle/cold-aisle configuration to increase cooling-system efficiency, 65% use blanking panels to minimize recirculation of hot air and 56% have sealed the floor to prevent cooling losses. The survey also shows the growing popularity of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to identify hot spots and optimize airflow within the facility, with 25% of respondents having already conducted a CFD analysis of their facilities.

Despite these gains, data-center professionals cite several challenges in their efforts to reduce energy use. Among the challenges reported were a “lack of management priority” (40%), “not clearly understanding the cost/benefit relationship” (36%), “not wanting to risk reliability” (35%) and a “lack of communication between IT and facilities” (33%).

Other survey results show that, on average, 60% of the data-center electrical load is used to power IT equipment, with approximately 56% of that being used to power servers, 27% for storage and 19% for network equipment. In addition, 41% of survey respondents said their data-center electrical usage is not metered separately from the rest of their facilities. Forty-one percent of respondents also noted that they did not have a dedicated facility for their data center. For more information, see www.liebert.com.

Vendor Licenses MOSFET Packaging Technology

Infineon Technologies recently announced that it has licensed International Rectifier's DirectFET power MOSFET packaging technology. Infineon will deploy DirectFET packaging with its OptiMOS 2 and OptiMOS 3 chip technology, sampling DirectFET versions of OptiMOS 2 in early 2008.

Designed for use in ac-dc and dc-dc converters in computers, notebooks and other equipment, DirectFET is a surface-mount power MOSFET package that provides efficient top- and bottom-side cooling in an SO-8 or smaller footprint. For more information, see www.irf.com or www.infineon.com/us.

Power Electronics Technology Nabs Editorial Award

The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) has honored Power Electronics Technology with an Azbee Award of Excellence for the West region. Power Electronics Technology won the silver for its “Digital Control” supplement that appeared in the November 2006 issue.

The 43-year-old ASBPE is the professional association for full-time and freelance editors and writers employed in the business, trade and specialty press. The annual Azbee Awards of Excellence competition has been around for 29 years and recognizes the best in editorial, design and online achievement.

Engineers interested in digital power-supply design also can take advantage of a unique online resource Power Electronics Technology offers. To view an extensive collection of design articles, white papers, product briefs, technology and industry news, and exclusive commentary from industry experts, visit http://powerelectronics.com/digital_power.

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