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Energy Star server ratings to include power profile

After years of development, Energy Star ratings for enterprise servers are set for release Monday, which will give buyers a "starting point" for comparing efficiency.

The first version of an Energy Star rating for enterprise servers is poised for release on Monday, with about one quarter of available servers expected to meet the standard.

The specification, which has been under development for a few years, is designed to give buyers a starting point for evaluating the energy-efficiency of servers, according to Andrew Fanara, a program manager for Energy Star at the Environmental Protection Agency.

It includes a common "power and performance data sheet" that reports energy data in a common format. Compliant products will also have relatively efficient power supplies, which means they will give off less waste heat.

Other criteria are the ability to report energy-related statistics to data center management software and relatively efficient idling, Fanara said.

The top-tier server vendors and some of the second-tier vendors are expected to comply with the standard. It covers different categories of products but does not address servers with more than four processors.

"We need better tools to work with to have a more in-depth discussion. This sheds some more light on this issue," Fanara said. "It's not the be-all, end-all but it's a good start to get better educated."

The most energy-efficient products will already meet the standard. The EPA plans to update the specification over time and is looking at establishing a benchmarking system that would reflect real-world energy performance, he said.