Well, maybe not hate but a seething indifference definitely. First, some perspective.
If you buy a new household appliance and power consumption is a concern, you look for the Energy Star label. Simple.
For IT managers, it’s not that easy.
The EPA expanded the Energy Star program to provide efficiency standards for computer servers (PDF), a complicated procedure in and of itself. Just look at the PDF-laden EPA page logging the comments of stakeholders where common concerns included CPU utilization reporting of OSes and hypervisors, the definition of blade systems and the absence of hard drives in a system.
Add this to the list: It looks like Energy Star for servers and the enterprise class systems in which virtualization really shows its worth (think multiprocessor, heaps of RAM) aren’t very compatible.
SearchDataCenter.com’s Mark Fontecchio explores the strange mismatch between virtualization and Energy Star servers.
Some data center managers will take a close look at Energy Star qualified servers, but only if they meet their needs. Timothy Happychuk, the IT director at the Canadian media company Quebecor, said that “smaller servers with [fewer] CPU cores and more aggressive ramp down technologies will naturally have an easier time gaining a coveted EPA sticker but would be a poor choice for high-density virtualization platforms as the technology currently stands.”
The EPA is not completely oblivious to the issue fortunately. From its memo to stakeholders (PDF):
During the Tier 2 process, EPA plans to: review all specification elements and criteria for refinements; expand the scope to include, but not limited to, servers with greater than four processor sockets, Blade Systems, Fully Fault Tolerant Servers, Server Appliances, Multi-Node systems; and evaluate the potential benefits of a Net Power Loss approach. In addition, EPA is exploring an approach to efficiency that reconciles the energy consumed by the system and the work being performed.
Well, as long as they’re not sitting still.
Be sure to check out Fontecchio’s article as he asks other data center managers’ opinion of Energy Star, including one that makes the surprising admission that’s he’s under no power or cooling constraints for it to affect his IT procurement decisions. Lucky him!
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