Microsoft Tests Its Data Center Energy Use as EPA Begins Energy Star Tests

Microsoft Tests Its Data Center Energy Use as EPA Begins Energy Star Tests

Work to measure and steadily improve energy use by servers is progressing steadily, with Microsoft and the EPA both undergoing server efficiency tests.

In an article in CIO magazine, Nancy Gohring reports that Microsoft has developed an extensive program to monitor temperature and humidity in several of their data centers. The company is using around 2,000 sensors that wirelessly report the status of the data centers.

At first, the company is using the devices, which it developed itself using ZigBee wireless technology, to compare performance to server specs offered by vendors. Jie Liu, a Microsoft research who demoed the products for CIO, said that Microsoft has shown the system to the Uptime Institute, but has yet to announce any plans for offering the system for external use.

Meanwhile, the EPA announced that its pilot program for an Energy Star rating system for data centers began in July. About 240 data centers are currently taking part in the test, and InformationWeek reports that those test sites will begin reporting their findings every month beginning in August.

The data center test is in the beginning stages of a year-long project to determine the feasibility of certifying data centers as a whole under the Energy Star label. Companies involved in the data center pilot, according to Andrew Fanara, the leader of the Energy Star product development team, span a range of industries, a range of data center classes, and are primarily based in the U.S., although some of the 240 facilities are in Canada.

While the data center study is only just under, the EPA is much further along in developing an Energy Star rating for individual servers, a label that may launch as early as this year.