Energy Star server specs could be finalised by next month

EPA releases final draft of energy efficient server specifications after two years of work

Businesses could soon find it much easier to distinguish between the competing energy efficiency claims of different computer server manufacturers, after long-running attempts to establish an Energy Star label for energy efficient servers last week came to a close.

Following over two years of work, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday finally released the final draft of the specifications that will determine whether a server can carry the label.

In a letter to industry stakeholders, Energy Star product development manager Andrew Fanara said that the final draft specification, which follows four earlier versions, will be open for consultation until May 8 and is then scheduled to come into effect from May 15.

If formally adopted, manufacturers of computer servers that comply with the standard will for the first time be able to carry the Energy Star label on their products - highlighting them as being among the most energy efficient products on the market.

The scheme has proved highly successful for PCs and household appliances, increasing customer awareness of energy efficiency and bolstering sales of those products that carry the label.

The draft specification covers definitions for those products that can carry the label, minimum standards for power supply efficiency and the amount of energy drawn when the server is idle, requirements that the products feature power management and virtualisation functionality, and energy efficiency performance benchmarks and standards for measuring and reporting energy use.

Fanara said that the new version of the specifications featured a number of important changes from previous drafts, including a decision to exclude blade systems from the specification in response to industry fears about the accuracy of the metric used to measure server energy use when idle.

Fanara said that the EPA will continue to work on developing an appropriate test method for measuring blade system idle power.

He also said that the EPA had rejected calls from stakeholders for special consideration for servers using multi-core processors, but pledged that changes could be made to the specification in the future.

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