IT consultancy Glasshouse Technologies has launched a new service to help organisations get a green bill of health for their data centres, making them both more cost effective and energy efficient.

Earlier this year, Glasshouse launched a managed service to help companies control their virtualisation infrastructures, as well as optimise return on investment (ROI). Now the company has launched what it is calling the "Energy Proficiency Impact Analysis (EPIA)" service, targeting assets in the data centre and server rooms.

In essence, the EPIA consists of two invidual services. First there is the Green Proficiency Analysis (GPA), which provides a current state analysis and offers recommendations on how to achieve a more efficient, greener IT environment based on metrics and standards established by The Green Grid. The second service is the Cost Proficiency Analysis (CPA), which used in conjunction with the recommended improvements, shows the ROI and financial savings that can be achieved from the changes.

"A good portion of our business has been about going into people's data centres, helping them optimise and reducing risk," said Mark Shirman, CEO of Glasshouse. "We have been doing that for several years, but I started to look at reducing power and cooling needs, and thought it would be nice to capture the carbon saving figures as well."

Shirman told Techworld that this was part social imperative, and part being green and saving money.

"So we put together a team made up of consultants and academics and came up with this model, showing carbon footprint savings, number of equivalent cars off the road etc," he said. "We went to the universities, as we wanted to come up with standard metrics that would be accepted through out the industry, rather than being viewed as doing something on our own."

"We can now go into a company and do a ROI and impact on the environment analysis study," he said. "In Europe this is at the top of IT minds, but in the United States not so much yet, but will it increase going forward. Saving money matters, and the rest of stuff depends on the organisation. Some firms are in such distress at the moment, like the retail sector, that they don't care, but some do."

"We look at the current state of the organisation's infrastructure, and we gather information about the 'assets on the floor'," Shirman said. "It all depends on what they plan to do, but we can easily create a current state of their assets, and then we can plug in an asset projection for the future. Not to put too fine a point on it, it is a fancy spreadsheet that allows us to do 'what if' analysis against it."

"We can then provide figures to the organisation with measurable green cost savings," he said. Shirman went to highlight the pressures that are preoccuping IT management's minds today.

"Undoubtedly it is cost," he said. "And then it is about service levels. Customers now want the same service levels but at lower cost, and IT is pulling its hair out. But there is still a lot of efficiencies to be gained. Industry figures show that servers are currently only facing 20 to 30 percent utilisation rates, so a lot of efficiencies can still be gained, even without virtualisation."

"Often the biggest challenge we have is finding what assets they have on the floor," Shirman said. "For example, in one case we found that a third of servers were not being backed up at all."

Shirman confirmed the EPIA service is now being offered worldwide, but said that Glasshouse is not going to charge extra for it at the moment. "It is not our intent to use this as a revenue driver, but rather as differentiator around our services compared to others," he said.