Version 3.0 ENERGY STAR Computer Server Specification requires use of SERT 2.0.1; more stringent criteria could lead to $1 billion annual cost savings
The EPA has announced that Version 3.0 of the ENERGY STAR Computer Server Specification will use the SPEC Server Efficiency Rating Tool (SERT) to measure active state efficiency. The SERT suite, introduced in 2013, helps server vendors measure energy efficiency of single- and multi-node servers across a broad span of configurations.
Version 3.0 of the ENERGY STAR Computer Server Specification will take effect on June 17, 2019. It’s the first government program for servers that goes beyond idle power measurement to use metrics based on power consumed when doing actual work on a server.
SERT is developed and maintained by the SPECpower committee, which includes representatives from AMD, Dell, HPE, IBM, Intel, and the University of Wuerzburg. Veteran SPEC benchmark developers Hansfried Block and Greg Darnell are supporting contributors.
Saving billions in energy costs
In a letter to partners and stakeholders, Ryan Fogle, the EPA’s ENERGY STAR for datacenter products lead, says that the more stringent ENERGY STAR Version 3.0 criteria levels using SERT 2.0.1 will reduce energy use by 30 percent for server products certified under the new specification.
According to the letter, if all the computer servers sold in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR certified under Version 3.0, the cost savings would grow to more than $1 billion each year and more than 18 billion pounds of greenhouse emissions would be prevented, the equivalent to the emissions of nearly two million vehicles.
“We believe that including the SPEC SERT 2 suite in the ENERGY STAR Version 3.0 Computer Specification will provide excellent insight into server efficiency and help computing professionals better understand the energy consumption of products, which in turn will help reduce operating costs and help datacenter managers more precisely plan their future energy needs,” says Fogle.
An international initiative
Klaus-Dieter Lange, chair of the SPECpower committee, says that the collaborative efforts between SPECpower and its partners in transitioning the server industry from an idle to an active energy-efficiency metric will have worldwide ramifications.
“Having achieved this important milestone in the U.S., the next steps for the industry are to continue advocating for SPEC SERT adoption in the rest of the world,” he says. “This will require continued dedication and collaboration with various industry organizations and government agencies.”
Currently, server companies have to deal with different regional requirements for energy certification. Each region has different sets of applications, procedures and test methods.
“Our goal is to motivate the various international agencies to use SPEC SERT as the sole tool for determining server energy efficiency,” says Lange. “This will save vendors and government agencies time and money, while leading to greater server efficiency worldwide.”
In addition to its work with the EPA, SPEC is engaged in several international initiatives, including working closely with the European Commission to add SERT to the Ecodesign Directive for enterprise servers, collaborating with the Chinese National Institute of Standardization (CNIS), and working with the International Standards Organization (ISO) to include SERT in the ISO/CD 21836 standard for server efficiency.
About SERT 2.0.1
SERT 2.0.1, introduced in late January 2018, includes GUI enhancements, the latest version of the PTDaemon for power analyzers and temperature sensors, and a single score metric. It is available for immediate download from SPEC for $2,800. Discounts are available for qualifying non-profit research and academic organizations.
SERT requires a SPEC-accepted power analyzer and temperature sensor.
Visit the SPEC website for more information on SERT.
Entering its 30th year, SPEC is a non-profit organization that establishes, maintains and endorses standardized benchmarks and tools to evaluate performance for the newest generation of computing systems. Its membership comprises more than 120 leading computer hardware and software vendors, educational institutions, research organizations, and government agencies worldwide.