The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the 1.0 version of the Energy Star for Servers specification. This first release only covers standalone servers with one to four processor sockets; it does not yet cover servers with more than four processor sockets, or blade servers of any size. Three criteria are being weighted by the specification: power supply efficiency, virtualization functionality, and energy-efficiency benchmarks and standards for measuring and reporting energy use.

The EPA estimates that servers – in the covered server categories – that earn the Energy Star rating will be around 30% more energy efficient, on average than standard servers. Because so many new servers are being added each year as older models are replaced and the total number of servers installed continues to balloon the cumulative energy saving potential could amount to almost $1 billion per year with an avoided CO2 emissions equivalent to removing one million cars from the nation’s roads.

To read about one of the world’s most energy efficient and greenest data centers see our post: World’s Greenest Data Center Opens in Frankfurt am Mein

According to the EPA, here’s what servers that can carry the label will include

Efficient power supplies that generate less waste heat, reducing the need for excess air conditioning in the facilities where they are housed;

Improved power quality, which provides building-wide efficiency benefits;

Capabilities to measure real time power use, processor utilization, and air temperaturewhich improves manageability and lowers total cost of ownership;

Advanced power management features to save energy across various operating states; and

A power and performance data sheet for purchasers that standardizes key information on energy performance, features and other capabilities

A Good First Step But Much Is Still Needed to Promote Energy Efficient Servers

This first release still does not cover many important classes of servers, but it will help guide IT managers in their purchase decision making and still represents an important milestone in the green computing space. A second tier specification is expected out by January of next year that will add measure a server’s energy consumption when it is being worked; currently the specification only measures power draw when idle.

The EPA hopes to add Energy Star specifications for bigger multi-core servers, blade servers and fault tolerant clustered servers by October 2010.

It is particularly important to cover the burgeoning market for blade servers, which lie at the core of virtualization projects in data centers. This is where most future growth in demand for new servers will be in datacenter class servers over the next years.

© 2009, Chris de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Chris de Morsella (146 Articles)

After a decade performing as a lead guitarist for rock bands, Chris de Morsella decided to return to the career his uncle mentored him in as a youth....Software Engineering. Since that time he has thrown himself into his work. He has designed a compound document publishing architecture for regulatory submissions capable of handling very large multi-document FDA regulatory drug approval submissions, for Liquent, a division of Thompson Publishing. At the Associated Press, Chris worked with senior editors at facilities around the world, to develop a solution for replacing existing editorial systems with an integrated international content management solution. He lead the design effort at Microsoft for a help system for mobile devices designed to provide contextual help for users. Chris also helped to develop the web assisted installer for LifeCam2.0, the software for Microsoft’s web cam and developed late breaking features for the product He also served with the Rhapsody client team to redesign and build a major new release of Real Networks Rhapsody client product. His most recent assignment has been Working with the Outlook Mobile Time Management team for the next release of Outlook Mobile for the SmartPhone. Chris' interests are in green building and architecture, smart grid, the cloud, geo-thermal energy, solar energy, smart growth, organic farming and permaculture. Follow Chris on Twitter.