Facilities, IT and Data Center Power

The second approach is to not change the reporting structure but to instead review how goals and objectives are set and linked in regards to power. This approach exists because changing the reporting structure isn’t always an option and not always effective either. Instead, the organization’s Green goals are mapped to IT objectives, that are then mapped to objectives for specific teams. The relationships are mapped and then the needs can be formally documented in service level agreements (SLAs) to the business and operating level agreements (OLAs) between IT functions and facilities.

Either approach can be dramatically enhanced by the implementation of a Green IT process tasked with ensuring that the Green goals of the organization and objectives in business units are properly understood and supported by IT and that continuous improvement is being pursued.

Regardless of approach, IT and facilities need to be better integrated. The soft skills of team building, communication and so on are critical. Formal mandates alone can only go so far and then the need for leadership and cultural changes comes to the fore. Neither the structural change nor objective mapping approaches matter if people choose to ignore them and go back to business as usual.

To reinforce the change common metrics should be identified, generated and reviewed. These include metrics such as Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), Data Center infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE) and changes to the monthly and annual electricity expenditures. etc. Not only should these metrics be reviewed but also integrated into performance and bonus reviews of staff.

In closing, with the pressures to reduce costs and minimize the environmental impacts of data centers, the facilities and IT groups must work together to reduce power demands. Depending on the circumstances, management may elect to either change the reporting structure and have the data center facilities group report to the CIO or objectives need to be aligned and the relevant SLAs and OLAs put in place. The way business is conducted must fundamentally support the organization’s green goals and this will require cultural change. The data center facilities and IT organizations have much they can share and work on to better the organization for everyone.


Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency: Public Law 109-431. US EPA. August 2, 2007

Electronic Power Monthly Summary. US DOE. December 2008.

An overview of the Green IT process is presented in my book and briefly covered in a recent Jupitermedia webinar.

The Green Grid Data Center Power Efficiency Metrics: PUE AND DCiE. TheGreenGrid.com.