What’s behind DCEM, the new data center energy management in Europe?

Now there’s again a new standard for data centre efficiency measurement. It is called DCEM, which has come from ETSI (The European Telecommunications Standards Institute). The standard was published by ETSI in June after two years’ discussion within a French IT managers’ group called CRIP. The press release and the full standard (ETSI ES 205 200-2-1) are online but the announcement was only picked up by French news outlets.

The discussion that took seed then stated, that DCEM has the potential to replace PUE, a standard developed by the Green Grid in the United States. PUE has often been regarded as too superficial by European data center experts and practioners.

But the truth is that the new ETSI standard is based on PUE, though it doesn’t refer to it directly. But it does include other factors such as energy re-use, the renewable energy consumption, and the physical size of the data center.

For further reading and a profound summary we recommend this blog post by Peter Judge on TechWeek Europe. He comes to the conclusion there:

“In one sense, data center energy standards don’t need to worry overmuch about DCEM, because PUE is already on its way to being enshrined in a standard from ISO, which is at the top of the tree of standards bodies. ETSI contributes to ISO, but would have to harmonise anything with ISO’s version of PUE version before it goes global.

But in another sense, this could be serious. Le Monde Informatique reports that 30 data centres have already assessed theirDCEM figure, and shared results in an anonymised database. The same article hints that the standard could be “imposed” on suppliers in some sort of certification.

We recently heard that the European Union wants to regulate data centers – and there is a danger that it may pick up an over-complex standard, This  will create perverse incentives and unforeseen consequences, and could produce wasteful parasitic industry,  making and marketing DCEM measurements simply to achieve certification.”

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