EPA move may allow server energy use comparison


Salmon also said that over the past two years, Lehman has reached out to all its hardware vendors, either directly or via peer groups, and "expressed our desire to see more products that are energy efficient without significant impact to processing performance. If a standardized protocol were to be established by any government or industry entity, Lehman Brothers would encourage or require our hardware vendors to adopt such a reporting protocol."

Hardware vendors participating in the effort include Hewlett-Packard Co., Sun Microsystems Inc., Dell Inc., Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Intel and IBM.

The initial measurement protocol is aimed at 1U (1.75-inch high) and 2U servers, and may be eventually broadened to include larger and more complex servers as the measurement evolves.

From the protocol, the EPA may develop a specification and possibly an Energy Star rating, similar to those used on household appliances. Those specifications aren't mandatory, but they detail what requirements companies must meet to qualify for an Energy Star rating, according to Andrew Fanara, team leader at the EPA's Energy Star program.

When the final draft is released, the EPA will seek test data from vendors and use it to determine whether to develop a specification. In some cases, the EPA has decided against developing energy specifications for certain products. For example, there are no ratings for clothes driers because there's little variation in energy consumption from one model to another. "If all the products consume about the same amount of energy, there would be nowhere to draw the line to separate the good performers from the bad performers," said Fanara.