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EPA Launches Energy Star for Servers Spec

After several years of work, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today launched its Energy Star for Enterprise Servers certification, the latest addition to the EPA's overall goal to improve data center energy efficiency.

The new certification will allow manufacturers will cover all non-blade servers with one to four processors and at least one hard drive to apply for Energy Star certification as highly energy efficient devices.

Energy Star for Servers will measure three main categories of performance: managing power supply performance, functioning in a virtualized environment, and energy benchmarks for measuring and reporting server energy use.

Blade servers are not yet covered under the first version of the specification, nor are servers with no installed hard drives -- the EPA is still developing a measurement that can equitably compare blade servers with traditional servers.

Developing the certification took several years -- we first reported on the project over three years ago -- in part because of the complexity of measuring energy performance of a range of server types, as well as trying to ensure that the certification offers real-world applicability for IT managers.

“We don’t want it to be greenwashing,” Andrew Fanara, the director of the EPA's Energy Star specifications team said last month at the DataCenterDynamics New York conference. “But sometimes it takes a while to define what (real savings) means. This is a starting point for learning about the true energy consumption of these products.”

The EPA is also at work on developing an Energy Star rating for Data Centers, although as executive editor Preston Gralla wrote in March, "Don't hold your breath."

A number of OEMs are already working on servers that are expected to meet the new certifications, including Dell, IBM, HP, Sun and many others.

Full details about the new Energy Star for Enterprise Servers specification are online at

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