How do you rate the maturity level of your power infrastructure?As data centers grow in size and density, they take an ever-larger bite out of the energy pie. Today, data centers eat up 1.2 percent of the electricity produced in the United States. This suggests that IT organizations need to take a hard look at the things they are doing to operate more efficiently.How do you get started down this path? Consider the following four steps toward a more energy-efficient data center. The degree to which you are doing these things is an indication of your power management maturity.1. Power usage effectiveness (PUE) measurements: Are you using PUE measurements to determine the energy efficiency of your data center? PUE is a measure of how much power is coming into your data center versus the power that is used by your IT equipment. You can watch your PUE ratio to evaluate your progress toward a more energy-efficient data center. To learn more about PUE, see The Green Grid.2. Equipment efficiency: Are you buying the most efficient equipment? Deploying more efficient equipment is one of the most direct paths to power savings. One example: You can realize significant power savings by using solid-state drives instead of power-hungry, spinning hard-disk drives. For general guidance in the U.S., look for Energy Star ratings for servers.3. Instrumentation: Are your systems instrumented to give you the information you need? The foundation of more intelligent power management is advanced instrumentation. This is a pretty simple concept. To understand your power issues and opportunities, you have to have the right information at your fingertips. For a good example, see Intel Data Center Manager.4. Policy-based power management: Have you implemented policy-based power management? This approach uses automated tools and policies that you set to drive power efficiencies across your data center. A few examples: You can shift loads to underutilized servers, throttle servers and racks that are idle, and cap the power that is allocated to certain workloads.If you can answer yes to all of these questions, you’re ahead of the power-management maturity curve. But even then, don’t rest on your laurels. Ask yourself this one additional question: Could we save more by doing all of these things to a greater degree?For a closer look at your power management maturity level, check out our Data Center Power Management Maturity Model. You can find it on the Innovation Value Institute site at http://ivi.nuim.ie/.