Page 32 - European Energy Innovation - Summer 2017 publication
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32  Summer 2017 European Energy Innovation


Let’s not put high performance

servers into a permanent idle state!

By Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director General DIGITALEUROPE

Plans for an Ecodesign measure              power usage rise by a third. This would  best practices in legacy data centres as
to increase the energy efficiency           run counter to recent trends driven by   well as the consolidation of operations
of servers risk side-lining the very        market forces, which research1 shows as  into new, more efficient locations is a
servers that will further reduce            low or flat, despite exponential growth  major contributor to managing energy
energy consumption in the future.           in data processing.                      demand.

While DIGITALEUROPE                         How is the digital industry sector       COMPUTING IS COMING OUT OF
                     fully supports the     achieving such consistent energy         THE CLOSET
                     European Commission’s  stewardship? Each new generation of      However, most important is the shift
                     efforts to address     servers performs better in relation to   away from local servers to the cloud.
energy consumption, its proposal to         power consumption, through greater       Fewer SMEs rely on their own ‘box’ in
limit “idle state” power consumption        virtualization and more advanced         remote “data closets” or their offices,
may lead to the risk of an increase of      operating parameters as they host,       which typically remain non-active
at least 10% in energy consumption          maintain, share and analyse data. In     for substantial periods of time. In
in data centres and possibly even see       addition, the propagation of cooling     today’s IT environments, workloads
                                                                                     can increasingly be virtualized and
                                                                                     combined on a smaller number of
                                                                                     servers, which are almost permanently
                                                                                     active. If low-usage servers are a thing
                                                                                     of the past, then so should be the focus
                                                                                     on idle-state power consumption.

                                                                                     Idle power is the energy consumption
                                                                                     of a device when it is in a non-active
                                                                                     state waiting for the next work request
                                                                                     to arrive. In the past waiting would
                                                                                     typically represent a large proportion
                                                                                     of a server’s up time, so yesterday’s
                                                                                     models were designed to consume as
                                                                                     little power as possible during these
                                                                                     periods. Nowadays, servers are rarely
                                                                                     not being solicited or accomplishing
                                                                                     demanding tasks in the background
                                                                                     between assignments and are
                                                                                     designed in accordance.

                                                                                     Regulating “idle mode power” would
                                                                                     be counterproductive as the limits
                                                                                     proposed by the Commission inevitably
                                                                                     favour lower power servers and
                                                                                     exclude modern higher performance
                                                                                     models. Higher performance means

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