EnergyStar Microsoft has been working with the  US EPA and HP for the last 6 months or so on a study to compare a new ENERGY STAR-qualified server (2009 model) with a similar, older non-energy star rated servers (2006 model)  The results show quite convincingly that replacing an older server with a new ENERGY STAR-qualified model will save energy and deliver more processing power in the bargain.  Also, this is a nice demonstration of the work we did with Intel and HP in Windows Server 2008 R2 to improve power management vs. our previous server OSes.

I analyzed some of the raw data from the tests and discovered that in addition to saving over 1/2 the power on idle (54%) as mentioned in the study, the newer server  provides almost 300% more transactions at any given CPU load than the 2006 model year server, resulting in about a 300-400% improvement across the board on performance-to-power ratios.

This is really great news.  Of course, it also implies that in order to really take advantage of these new servers, you must make sure you are really driving up utilization or that extra performance is going to be wasted.  Simply consolidating even more idle VMs to these new servers really isn’t going to cut it.  Your ops management infrastructure needs to be aware of what is going on inside those VMs so it can shut some of them down if appropriate.  This is going to require applications to take a more active role in resource utilization in the future. 

Download the study here PDF (2.67MB)