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How to measure server energy efficiency in a compliant manner

A new international standard has been issued aimed at tackling server energy use in a compliant manner.

Server room
© Jonathan Nackstrand, AFP
© Jonathan Nackstrand, AFP

The global economy is dependent upon information and communication technologies. This comes in association with the generation, transmission, dissemination, computation and storage of digital data. Computer serves play a vital role in ensuring that data flows are streamlined and for access to be maintained. It is also important that servers are not wasteful of energy.

For IT departments, measuring and evaluating the energy efficiency of servers is important and this forms the core of a new standard: The ISO/IEC 21836 standard. This is a next-generation measurement standard, designed in collaboration with leaders of global energy-efficiency regulatory programs.

The focus of the standard is with energy efficiency measurement of single- and multi-node servers across the latest server architectures and processors. The conservation of energy is important from the cost and environmental perspective.

With the large and continually increasing data capacity demands that are being placed on data centres worldwide, the need for guidance on efficient use of data centre energy remains very important to business strategies.

Important concerns include developing mechanisms and metrics for managing environmental, cost, electrical grid capacity together with other impacts.

Meeting the needs of the new standard can be challenging. One organization that has made strides in this direction is the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC), a non-profit formed to establish, maintain and endorse standardized benchmarks and tools to evaluate performance and energy efficiency for computing systems. SPEC has made available a new ISO-compliant version of the SERT suite.

The SERT suite has been designed to help deliver server efficiency programs. SERT are developing, along with AMD, Dell, HPE, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and the University of Wurzburg, measures to augment existing or create new industry-standard benchmarks and tools with a power/energy measurement.

This includes meeting the U.S. ‘energy star’ rating system. This is a government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, designed to provide a simple, credible, and unbiased information service to consumers and businesses so they can rely on the rating in order to make well-informed decisions.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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