Energy Star Rating For Servers Expected By Year’s End

by | Jul 9, 2008

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energy_star.jpgThe EPA plans to have its first Energy Star rating for servers ready by the end of the year, The New York Times reports, but a comprehensive system that measures workloads will take longer.

“We all knew that in the long run, the most intellectually satisfying approach would be to marry energy consumption with work completed, yet admittedly we are not quite there yet in devising that holistic metric,” said Andrew Fanara, who heads the Energy Star product development team.

The Standard Performance Evaluation Corp., which is developing the benchmark tests, has so far only published one test for measuring power efficiency, based on a Java workload.

The EPA decided to sidestep the issue and come up with an initial, “Tier 1” rating that addresses two key areas it thinks can be measured. One is the efficiency of a server’s power supply, which can be measured at various load levels. The other is how much power a server consumes at idle, when it isn’t doing any real work.

The EPA is meeting with stakeholders at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Washington, this week.

In an EL column from last week, Jack Pouchet, director of energy initiatives for Emerson Network Power, wrote, “Let’s stop the debate over server classification, configurations, spec test protocols, etc. and get going building a meaningful database of server power performance.”

The EPA is also working on an Energy Star rating for data centers and will start to tackle storage equipment in the fourth quarter.

The EPA announced its efforts to develop new energy efficient specifications for data center equipment in early 2007.

An EPA report released found that data centers in the U.S. have the potential to save up to $4 billion in annual electricity costs through more energy efficient equipment and operations, and the broad implementation of best management practices. Congress requested that EPA develop the report to examine market trends in the growth and energy use of servers and data centers.

U.S. data centers and their associated infrastructure consumed five million kW of energy in 2005, the equivalent of five 1,000 MW power plants, according to a February 2007 report from AMD. The Alliance to Save Energy has also released a report on data center energy consumption.

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