Turning the Tide: “Out of the Box” Energy Savings

Recently the EPA published a study entitled “Energy Savings from Energy Star Qualified Servers” which highlights the energy reduction achievable through upgrading to modern servers.

An important point that the study dispels is that achieving higher performance in servers requires higher power consumption. The study, done in collaboration with Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, the EPA, and others compares two servers, one from 2006 and the other from 2009.

DL360 G5 (2006)

DL360 G6 (2009)







273 (Watt)

194 (Watt)


Energy Efficiency*




*Measured at 30% utilization

Looking at a slice of the data (reproduced here for the sake of brevity), you can see that an almost tripling of performance comes with a reduction by almost one third of the energy consumption of the server. This result implies an increase of 400% in the energy efficiency of the server (or a difference of almost three times, as the result is reported in the EPA Study).

Needless to say, I heartily endorse the study’s conclusion that the collaboration among server hardware and software makers has delivered outstanding results. As HP cites, improvements in power supplies, fan controls, improved voltage regulator efficiency, and improvements in the power management of Intel Xeon Processors play a role.

The EPA study was conducted independent of Intel support. Even so, the data highlights several energy efficiency concepts introduced by Intel over the past few years, including:

  • Energy proportional computing - the dynamic range and energy efficiency across the load curve
  • Energy Efficient Performance – maximizing the performance within an energy envelope

As we noted at the recent 2010 Fall IDF, we’re turning the tide on energy efficiency.  Despite the fact that this study was only able to review the Xeon 5500, we’re even more confident on customers’ ability to realize even greater efficiency gains with the Xeon 5600 and beyond.

Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600

Intel® Xeon® Processor 5600 delivers greater platform energy efficiency


DDR3L supported for Intel® Xeon® processor 5600 only.  System level power testing Samsung 1.35V DIMMs as compared to Samsung 1.5V DIMMs reduced power by 0.52W per DIMM at active idle, and 1.42W per DIMM under 100% load.  Source:  Intel internal measurements Feb 2010 using server side java* benchmark across a load line.  Power measurement at the wall using same system configuration; memory was the only variable changed.

Beyond the hardware modern operating systems, like Windows Server 2008 R2 take full advantage of the power features in the Intel platform, including optimized power policies. These optimized policies, optimized platforms, adn optimized components deliver these improved efficiency "out of the box."

I am not aware of another industry that has so aggressively delivered results on energy reduction while engaging in a constructive relationship with government standards.

Not only do modern servers offer enhanced performance, they offer it as significant reduction in energy consumption. How can you afford not to upgrade?