NEWPORT, R.I. - IT pros will have to become a lot more familiar with energy management control systems if Schneider Electric's vision of the future becomes reality.Schneider's new EcoStruxure initiative promotes green data center design and aims to increase efficiency by relying more on energy management control software. It will use an open standards-based Web services architecture, which will collect data from various systems -- from HVAC to power to physical security -- to produce reports tailored for specific managers and executives. "To get real efficiency, you have to work across domains," said Jim Simonelli, the chief technology officer of Schneider's business unit. Green IT: Less art, more science
Schneider is a French provider of energy management equipment and software. Its subsidiaries include American Power Conversion (APC), which it acquired in 2006. This cross-disciplinary approach to IT and energy management is a major consideration for other green-computing industry leaders, including Cisco Systems Inc., which has its own EnergyWise program.
Bridging the worlds of IT and energy management together requires staff on both teams to cooperate more and learn more about each other's technologies. When Greg Ganger started building the Parallel Data Lab, a data center for studying storage and energy challenges at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, he had to move out of his IT comfort zone and learn about thermal dynamics and airflow. "I'd never concerned myself with that stuff," he said. Ganger, now the director of the Parallel Data Lab, acknowledged he's still not an expert in those things, but he has enough of an understanding to reap the benefits of energy management control systems, and that's what's important, he said. "You have to be able to work together without being an expert in the other topic," he said. "You have to have technologies that allow you to interact effectively without making it really hard to interact safely. It's just too much stuff to understand all of it."