A virtual explosion of data, estimated at 2.5 quintillion bytes a day and growing, is driving up energy costs in data centers. Qualifying criteria for the new ENERGY STAR rating — including features such as efficient power supplies, real time power usage measurement, advanced power management for lowering usage during idle periods — can help organizations dramatically lower the amount of energy required to run data centers increasingly under pressure to handle more data more efficiently.
IBM’s servers that have earned the ENERGY STAR cover the full range of IBM’s two and four socket systems: four from IBM’s Power Systems line-up; and seven from the IBM System x and Pure Flex series.
According to the EPA, computer servers that earn the ENERGY STAR designation will, on average, be 30 percent more energy efficient than standard servers.[i] The agency also predicts that if all servers sold in the United States were to meet ENERGY STAR specifications, energy cost savings would approach $800 million per year and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from over one million vehicles.
“Energy efficiency is good for data centers’ bottom lines and good for the planet,” according to Wayne Balta, vice president of IBM Corporate Environmental Affairs and Product Safety. “It doesn’t make sense to just ‘add a server’ to a data center without considering energy efficiency. Our new ENERGY STAR qualified servers are the latest example of IBM pursuing environmental sustainability for clients and our own operations.”
Server environmental efficiency has increasingly played a key role in IBM server wins in and beyond the United States. Indigo, Canada’s largest book, lifestyle and specialty toy retailer maintains over 230 physical store locations countrywide as well as operates Canada’s leading online specialty retail business. Maintaining its mission-critical data center just outside of Toronto, the company takes its power consumption seriously. This year Indigo upgraded its data center with new ENERGY STAR qualified Power 760 servers.
“Data center costs can eat away at our profit, so maintaining a highly efficient IT infrastructure is essential for our company,” said Ben Turgeon, Vice President of IT Operations at Indigo.
Having had previous generations of energy efficient Power Systems running their data center since 2006, Indigo reports that their data center power consumption is exactly what it was seven years ago equating to an overall net reduction of 35% in the last 5 years.
ENERGY STAR Specifics
The EPA introduced the first version of its server specific ENERGY STAR program in 2009. In March of 2013 the EPA finalized version 2.0 for the program, modifying the criteria ensuring increased levels of efficiency across the board. The new requirements became effective December 16, 2013. All ENERGY STAR version 1.0 qualified servers are now expected to meet the version 2.0 requirements and provide data on the server’s performance/power characteristics.
The specific Power System and System x servers qualified for ENERGY STAR version 2.0 include: Power 730, Power 740, Power 750 and Power 760 servers. The qualified System x servers are: x3650 M4 HD, x3650 M4, x3500 M4, x3550 M4, dx360 M4, nx360 M4 and x222.
History of ENERGY STAR Leadership
IBM became a charter member of the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR Computer Program in 1992 and helped the EPA define criteria for computers and monitors. In March 2001, IBM became the first company to win an ENERGY STAR Excellence in Corporate Commitment Award recognizing IBM’s overall commitment and contributions to energy conservation and efficiency across the company’s operations and in the design of its products. IBM also received the ENERGY STAR Computer Partner of the Year award in the Office Equipment category for two consecutive years, 1998 and 1999, for leadership in developing environmentally responsible computer products.
In recent years IBM has actively participated in the development of both the first and second versions of the ENERGY STAR specifications for server, storage and network devices, providing technical assistance and equipment-operating data to assist in the development of criteria.