Energy-Saving Servers: There’s More Work To Do

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Energy Star for servers won’t be a simple matter, because users will have to take account of the load on their servers and the amount of work they want to do, says Dell’s David Lear


Green IT has been around for a long time, says Dell’s David Lear, and he should know. In 1993, he shook hands with Al Gore, at the launch of the Energy Star labelling programme, backed by the US Government’s Environmental Protection Agency. Since then green computing has become more mainstream, with EPEAT (the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool from the Green Electronics Council) mandatory for US government IT purchases.

“Back then, we were thinking about how to use less energy and reduce the overall footprint of our computers,” said Lear, who is director of environmental affairs and regulatory compliance at Dell. “It’s interesting to see how it’s evolved.”

Now, everyone does Green IT

Programmes like Energy Star and EPEAT have driven recognition of Green IT issues, he told eWEEK, at the recent Green IT show in London: “It’s bought a lot of people to pay attention.”

Green IT spending plans are being hit by the recession, just like every other plan, according to Forrester Research’s Chris Mines, but Lear thinks the argument is won. Every industry which has an energy load – in other words, every industry – is an opportunity for better efficiency, he said, and CIOs are now looking at the global footprint of their companies: “There’s been much more uptick in green IT in the last two or three years. It’s something everyone has to do.”

“Green IT is not just an energy play,” he said. “We have a comprehensive program. We look at the supply chain, and asset management, the type of materials, scalabilty and upgradablility.”
However cost concerns and global warming are bringing energy to the fore: “It seems of late that energy is one of the biggest things we see users asking about.”

Energy Star for Servers is not simple

These days, Dell is just as interested in servers, and Energy Star has also moved up the IT food chain, recently proposing energy ratings for servers. Lear applauds this, and the work of the Green Grid, which has issued measurement guidelines for data centres, and a database tool to free cooling with outside air.

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