Energy Star ratings have become a staple of personal computers, televisions, and other consumer devices such as refrigerators and clothes dryers. Now, servers and enterprise storage devices will receive a new version of the Energy Star rating sometime next year. The Environmental Protection Agency emailed the third draft of Energy Star 2.0 to server vendors this week, and IDG News obtained a copy. (The EPA Web site only carries the second draft at this time.) The rating’s overarching goal is to minimize power consumption within servers, saving energy costs and reducing stress on the nation’s power grid and resources. Energy Star 2.0 focused on the pedestal, rack-mounted servers and blade servers, while excluding server appliances from the mix. According to IDG, the most important element of the new, third draft—besides its effective date, Aug. 13, 2013—are the newly lowered power limits. The second draft had yet to define either the effective date or the expected date on which the Energy Star 2.0 specification for servers would be completed—the latter is now set as Nov. 9, according to IDG. The second draft also set the power limits for one-socket servers at either 55 or 65 watts, or 100 or 150 watts for two-socket servers. The third draft has reduced that to between 47 watts and 57 watts for one-socket servers and between 92 watts and 142 watts for two-socket servers. As before, the EPA also assigned additional power ratings per component, such as 8.0 watts per hard drive and 0.75 watt per additional gigabyte of RAM. The new tests also factor in the impact of so-called GPGPUs or graphics chips used for additional calculations. The EPA has indicated openness to factoring in the effects of other dedicated co-processors as well.

The EPA and Data Center Storage

The EPA is working to define a similar standard for data center storage—the first time the agency has done this. According to documents posted on the EPA site, Version 1.0 of the specification is scheduled for completion by October, and will take effect in January 2013. Manufacturers will test in three configurations: optimal, optimized for transactions and streaming performance, plus capacity; maximum, with 5 percent more storage devices; and minimum, with 20 percent fewer devices than the maximum configuration. Under the scope of version 1.0, only scale-up architectures will be tested, according to the EPA. Scale-out architecture isn’t covered in the scope of Version 1.0 due to the lack of definition of a node in scale-out systems, and a lack of data to show the common behavior of scale-out systems. The EPA also said that it is not pursuing idle power efficiency for the first version of the Energy Star storage standard, but would pursue it for version 2.0.   Image: Sergej Khakimullin/