June 13, 2010
Energy Star Rating for Enterprise Data Storage Servers Urgently Needed
By David Scott, CEO of 3PAR
For years, consumers have recognized that products bearing the Energy Star logo are more energy efficient. In 2009, the EPA set forth an Energy Star certification for data center servers. Data centers spend half their operating costs on power, consuming an estimated 1.5 percent of the nation's total kilowatt hours of electrical output for an aggregate cost of US $5.5 trillion, according to US Energy Information Agency (EIA) figures published in 2008.
In northern California, utilities estimate that data centers consume more like 2.5 percent of the grid, or $834 million annually. However, the EPA's Energy Star effort failed to include a major energy hog in corporate computing rooms: the data storage devices that consume some 37 percent of data center power costs (according to both IDC and Gartner) and require both software and hardware enhancements to improve energy efficiency.
That is, until now. After much industry input, the EPA has finally issued a preliminary standard for an Energy Star rating for enterprise storage and opened it for public comment, with plans to define a final standard by the end of 2010. We need to propel this Energy Star initiative for storage and stop neglecting the fact that our national obsession with digital data has made us power guzzlers.
Enterprise IT vendors have spent the past few years emphasizing the greater energy efficiency of their newest gear. The Energy Star initiative would put energy efficiency right up there on the management decision list in a way that the Federal government is already doing with an Obama executive order on energy conservation that has spurred many Federal agencies into actually tasking management with "green IT scorecards."