EPA Spec to Address Data Center Power Crisis

By Kevin Fogarty  |  Posted 08-18-2006
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to release a new measurement specification designed to give customers a standard way to gauge the power consumption of the servers in their data centers.

Such metrics already exist for desktop computers and laptops, under the EPA's Energy Star program.

Measuring server performance is harder, however, because servers rarely operate at full capacity, and the measures each vendor uses to scale back power use under lighter loads vary widely, according to Jon Koomey, staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and consulting professor at Stanford.

Koomey, who researched and published one of the first real-world estimates of power usage and waste in corporate data centers, chaired the conference EPA sponsored in January to bring vendors and analysts together to create a useful metric.

Power use and waste in corporate data centers has become a hot issue lately, as the cost of oil and electricity have risen.

A survey conducted by Ziff Davis Media, which was sponsored by AMD, found that 70 percent of large organizations track power consumption and cooling, but that 30 percent have used either one as one of the criteria they use to evaluate new equipment. Thirty percent are investigating data-center power consumption as a way to lower costs.

Both the House and Senate are already considering legislation to restrict data-center power use.

Data center managers gave Intel an earful on the subject at the 2006 user conference, even though both Intel and AMD have already begun shipping processors that draw less power.

AMD, Dell and other manufacturers have also created a group called the Green Grid Alliance to address the issue.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: EPA Power Spec to Address Data Center Power Crisis