When last we checked, the U.S. government’s Energy Star for Enterprise Servers was scheduled to become effective May 1 after several delays. Today is May 1, and the new server spec is not quite here yet, but it's close. The EPA has announced a May 8 deadline for a final round of feedback, with a May 15 launch for the standard, which aims to provide buyers with an "apples to apples" method for comparing the energy efficiency of servers from major vendors.
The Energy Star server initiative has been in the works for several years, and was originally planned to take effect on Jan. 1, but has been delayed several times as the agency processed additional feedback from the industry. The news in the latest version is that blade servers won't be included in version 1.0 of the Energy Star server ratings. "Some stakeholders suggested that the specification treat Blade Systems similar to three and four socket systems, requiring power management in lieu of specific Idle power requirements," the EPA writes in its latest update (PDF). "EPA continues to believe that since Blade Systems are capable of competing directly with single and dual socket systems it is important that they are evaluated using the same metrics."
The Energy Star for Enterprise Servers spec will cover servers with one to four processors, and set efficiency goals for servers at full load and also when idle. The standard will emphasize efficient power supplies and power management tools. To achieve an Energy Star rating, a server must be able to measure and report power usage, temperature and processor utilization - and those features must be turned on when a server ships.
The may 15 release will be a "Tier 1" standard, and will be followed by a more comprehensive Tier 2 standard that will combine computing performance and energy efficiency. The first draft of the Tier 2 standard will be released shortly after the Tier 1 spec is launched, the EPA said.
Energy Star was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. The Energy Star label can be found on more than 50 different kinds of products, new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.