Saturday, May 15, 2010

EPA Delivers Draft 1.0 for Data Center Storage

EPA Draft 1.0The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to soon establish the final standards for its Energy Star certification for data centers. Currently the organization is holding sit downs with various storage firms and looking for feedback so that it can move forward with more precise standards for data storage systems such as enterprise hard drives and solid state drives. So far the EPA has already established Energy Star ratings for servers but as you can imagine establishing energy standards for storage solutions is a considerably more complex task. Unlike appliances such as a personal computer or printer, the efficiency of a data storage unit can depend on a wide range of variables such as configuration, controllers in use, power supplies and even software.

The EPA has made steady progress since April of 2009 when it first announced it would be moving forward with the program. Most recently the EPA has been collecting data from December 2009 through March 2010 to gain a better understanding of the dynamic between hardware/software configuration and energy efficiency, active and idle state performance, and sensitivity to single-configuration changes. The EPA has released the results of the research at this stage, entitled Draft 1 Version 1.0 Specification, which can be downloaded for free courtesy of Energy Star. If you're technically inclined the report has some pretty interesting results and may be worth the read.

Draft 1.0 comprises the idea of a "product family" certification, due to the fact that storage devices have a greater level of customization and configurability of products. The report also sharpens several key definitions. For example, the definition of a "storage product" includes components and subsystems that are considered an "integral part" of the storage product architecture, but specifically excludes products that are usually associated with a storage environment at the data center level. Only the storage product can be subject to Energy Star certification -- subsystems and components are not eligible for certification. The Draft also defines Active State, Ready Idle State, and Deep Idle State for those that want to take a look. If you happen to have comments about Draft 1, they're due to the EPA by May 21.

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