This month the Australian Department of Industry commissioned a report to help develop a rating system for servers and computer storage technology, which they hope will lead to a higher and greener standard of energy-efficient data storage equipment. The report collected and published information on the energy efficiency of mainstream server technology and, using the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation’s (SPEC) Server Efficiency Rating Tool (SERT), will develop a criterion for standardizing product quality in the data storage field. Future servers will be prescribed with an Energy Star rating ranging from one to five, similar to those used to rate the efficiency of other technologies like home refrigerators.
With green technology becoming more and more necessary for both financial and ecologic reasons, the ADI hopes that the star rating system will encourage small business and data centers to purchase higher rated servers. These will have the benefit of saving not only small Australian businesses money but also of decreasing the country’s energy usage as a whole. If the Australian government moved its own storage to equipment rated at 3-stars or greater beginning in 2017, the report estimates it could save Australia a whopping 2.1 terawatts per hour by 2030—that’s enough energy to power 17 billion 100-watt light bulbs at the same time.
Of course, there are downsides to requiring a higher standard of energy consumption efficiency. Australia’s servers and data centers receive their storage technology from all over the globe; attempts to monitor incoming IT technology’s quality and hold it to a higher standard would be difficult. Making sure the government’s servers are compliant with the new efficiency standards could mean a legion of red tape and extended downtime as older, less efficient servers are replaced or upgraded. On the civilian side, the report mentioned concern over whether the ratings would convince manufacturers to produce better equipment. When IT technology is usually sold in trade fairs or online, instead of in retail stores where the Energy Star rating sticker can be easily found on the packaging, it makes the rating less likely to influence the decisions of the consumer. Unless a low rating negatively affects a manufacturing company’s sales, there is no real incentive for them to provide a more efficient product.
So how can you tell if your small business or the data center you’re hiring is using energy efficient data storage? By checking that the servers you or your data center use are Energy Star qualified. Brands such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and even Energy Star’s own Enterprise servers should all mention if they have met the Energy Star qualifications, and it is possible to check your own server against Energy Star’s qualified product criteria. It is also possible to purchase the SERT program from the SPEC website and use it to test your own server, though such an option may not be cost-effective for a small business. Making sure that your or your data center’s server is up to standard ahead of time will help you save money when it comes to storage costs and will make sure you remain on qualified equipment once the new rating system goes into effect.
If your servers are sub-par, don’t fret—BuzzAGeek offers custom built servers and computers built to any requested specifications. We know how important it is that your business has reliable, efficient servers to help keep your computer network running and avoid dreaded downtime. We can provide you with custom equipment that meets the highest energy-saving standards or upgrade your old technology to good as new. Contact us to let us know how we can help!