Power benchmarking: A new methodology for analyzing performance by applying energy efficiency metrics

Historically, power has been a commodity with little interest from the IT community. As the price of energy increases and systems grow beyond the capacity of current facilities to supply their power and cooling needs, energy efficiency for data centers has now taken center stage along with traditional areas of interest such as performance, reliability, and availability. Concerns about server energy consumption are growing among senior IT managers because of rising electric rates, higher oil prices, technology trends that result in higher power densities, and hefty increases in new server deployments over the past few years. Clients and manufacturers are now talking about systems that achieve great performance and "eco efficiency" by reducing resource consumption.

This paper will discuss the application of power metrics to legacy systems performance measurements. It will define power benchmarking, discuss the history of server power consumption, review energy efficiency measurement considerations for systems, highlight new metrics in the industry, demonstrate the application of this methodology to an industry standard benchmark, and conclude with recommendations for the future.

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