OSDA: The Open Standard for Energy Efficient and Sustainable Data Center Designs

Lex Coors and Rob Bunger

Data is only becoming more abundant, which is necessitating the need for more data centers. And these data center designs need to be sustainable and energy efficient, which forces designers to be a bit more creative and innovative and incorporate elements like alternative energy, such as solar, wind, fuel cell, or tidal, as the main power source, and so on.

But many designers are having difficulty obtaining acceptance for their designs because they do not match the existing industry benchmarks for high availability, which include a strict four-level hierarchy from weak to strong – basic non-redundant, basic redundant, concurrently maintainable, and fault-tolerant.

The Green Grid observed that, in addition to the mechanical and electrical subsystems, these four levels can be applied to other aspects of the data center, such as the electrical supply, network topology, and data center management, allowing for expanded use of these well-understood terms. 

To address this, The Green Grid has developed a new availability and classification system called the Open Standard for Datacenter Availability (OSDA), which allows for a less prescriptive framework than before and opens the door to more use of alternative energy sources and innovative efficient designs. This open, non-proprietary standard seeks to help designers weigh the tradeoffs of these type(s) of design choices, as well as multi-site architectures, to create a more holistic view of the data center. 

Graphic depicts how OSDA will expand upon the existing four levels of hierarchy for data center availability. 

This initiative is a work in progress, but OSDA has been recognized by the global industry as a way forward to identify availability with a focus on visionary, sustainable and energy efficient designs without any limitation. We are looking for input and cross-industry collaboration on the next steps in developing the functional framework. For more details on this project, click here

View the initial white paper for the background, impetus, and approach for OSDA. It is free to members. Non-members may purchase the white paper for $150.