The Green Grid, self-described as 'a global consortium dedicated to developing and promoting energy efficiency for datacentres and information service delivery,' has made available three new documents to its members:

- A qualitative analysis of seven power distribution configurations for datacentres with pros and cons discussed,
- A consolidated list of all organisations involved in datacentre efficiency measurements and all datacentre efficiency measurement types (metrics),
- An updated white paper discussing datacentre efficiency metrics which now highlights infrastructure efficiency.

These publications are not available to the general IT public on the Green Grid's website so there is no way of judging their effectiveness. (UPDATE: Two of the three new papers are now available on the Green Grid's website.)

Simultaneously, the Green Grid has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the IT technology industry's most prominent government lobbying group in Washington, the Information Technology Industry Council.

The Grid states it expects the MoU will help align the two organisations’ positions and affirm the respective and distinct role each organisation is playing to help the IT industry address the demand for energy efficiency.

Another interpretation of the MoU is that it could help both organisations fight more effectively against potential environmental legislation they deem detrimental to their members' interests.

The Green Grid might appear to be over-promising and under-delivering to the general datacentre world as there is nothing concrete for datacentre operators in these two announcements at all. In fact the signing of an agreement with a prominent US government lobbying group can be seen as a trade organisation tactic.

Recent joiners and non-joiners

The Storage Networking Industry association, SNIA, has recently joined the Green Grid. Is this an example of one industry trade association, which professes not to be a trade association, joining another which also presents itself as not a trade association?

Utility storage provider 3PAR has decided not to join the Green Grid. Why not? CEO David Scott said that to do so might put 3PAR's intellectual property at risk. The Green Grid could, if 3PAR's IP was identified as necessary for greener datacentres, make it publicly available. He said 3PAR has joined the SNIA green initiative and, through it, has a watching brief-type connection to The Green Grid.

The Gartner Group has criticised the Green Grid, suggesting that members' self-interests may hobble the group's ambitions to produce tangible standards.

Sepaton and the Green Grid

Sepaton has recently joined the Green Grid. Why? It's announcement states: 'Sepaton looks to impact the group’s initiatives by offering unique and valuable insight, innovation and perspective on how emerging data de-duplication and virtual tape library (VTL) solutions can positively impact the growing energy strains facing datacentres today."

Well this doesn't say much about datacentre efficiency, but it does say a lot about Sepaton's marketing intentions and strategy. The Green Grid is a vehicle to hopefully accelerate its sales, just another trade association type tactic in fact.

Mike Worhach, Sepaton's president and CEO, said: "Organisations like The Green Grid have the power to positively influence technology industries and help spur solutions for one of the most profound environmental issues facing businesses today. We are committed to working with The Green Grid consortium in developing a viable plan to make datacentre energy consumption more efficient."

Combining that with the previous statement means that Sepaton's answer to 'one of the most profound environmental issues facing businesses today' is to buy Sepaton product. Just another vendor marketing message in other words.

Remember Gartner's point about members' self-interests? Rome burns, Nero fiddles, and suppliers try to sell him new violin strings.

Green Grid membership costs a minimum of $5,000 (£2,500 at ordinary conversion rates), rising to $25,000 for corporate membership. It is 'open to any company developing products and technologies aimed at the datacentre market, as well as information technology professionals tasked with datacentre operations." Datacentre professionals willing to stump up $5,000 will be quite rare.

In other words, end users will find it prohibitively expensive to join.

With 102 members the Green Grid has raked in up to $2.5 million of membership fees and produced just three documents publicly available from its website. That is not much to show for two and a half million dollars and an awful lot of public goodwill.