– Daniel Kharitonov, Senior Staff Engineer at Juniper Networks (www.juniper.net), says:

There is obviously no point to compare the efficiency of power plant to that of a server or an Ethernet switch. However, it might make sense to fine-tune the metric within the equipment class. Let me give you an example.

When comparing network fabric, the main criteria is the efficiency of throughput, measured in Watts/Gbps. However, it helps to know the topology of traffic within DC – full-mesh connectivity may require a different class of network interconnect compared to aggregation (north-south) topology. Of course, the comparison will only be valid within a given class of devices. Ideally, the chosen element-level metric should reflect the primary mode of use in a live application. For instance, if a server performs well under specPower test (with many Java in-memory transactions, but very limited I/O and network operations), such server may coincidentally be inefficient for data mining. Knowing this, an additional metric may be needed to evaluate energy performance. It really does not matter if such tests are be done by vendors, 3rd party labs or customers – the only prerequisites are to maintain the integrity of test conditions and produce repeatable results.

Energy efficiency metrics add new criteria to supplier chain control. Ineffective products can be eliminated from the RFP altogether, or force the vendors to renegotiate contract terms. In both cases, the enterprise wins.

There are two main aspects to energy efficiency – operational cost and business image. Everyone can see a light bulb in a room, and many people have a habit to turn lights off at the end of their day. However, even small data centers are really “power lakes” compared to a lightbulb – which shows on electric bills. Improved operational efficiencies are the material savings that come at a relatively low cost – once in place, a datacenter stays up 24×7 for several years.

Another interesting aspect is how your company looks to the world. At this time and age, no one (not even the US army) can brag about careless spending of non-renewable resources. The world is getting smaller and many people realize we are in a same boat. This is why public, clear and well-thought energy strategy not only positions a company for long-term benefits, but also (indirectly) wins trust of clients and their families.

If someone reads an article about energy efficiency and thinks the authors know by heart what they talking about, this feeling can be projected to business relations.

The topic of energy effciency can be polarizing – some think it is very simple, while others say it is not sufficiently important, mature or standardized. But if you could read the article to this very point, you are already qualified to make powerful and informed decisions on what the future of IT is going to be. The time to act is now.