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Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation

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Beyond performance to power consumption

With the introduction of SPECpower_ssj® 2008, SPEC met the increasing demand for a benchmark to measure server power consumption in relation to performance. Since that time, average operations-per-wattserver efficiency for servers measured by the SPECpower_ssj2008 benchmark on the SPEC website has increased by 19X.

Beyond the original SPECpower benchmark, power measurement in relation to performance has spread to four other benchmarks: SPEC ACCEL®, SPEC CPU 2017, SPEC OMP® 2012, and SPECvirt_sc® 2013.

In 2009, the SPECpower committee embarked on a project to develop a Server Efficiency Rating Tool (SERT) for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The first version of SERT debuted in 2013 and the EPA made it the required test method for its ENERGY STAR for Computer Servers specification. Running SERT 2.0.1 is now required for certification under V3.0 of the ENERGY STAR specification.

In addition to its partnership with the EPA, SPEC is engaged in several international initiatives, including:

  • Working closely with the European Commission, which selected SERT as the only test method for the Ecodesign Directive aimed at enterprise servers.

  • Being selected as a test method candidate for the upcoming Chinese National Institute of Standardization (CNIS) server energy efficiency regulation.

  • Working with the International Standards Organization (ISO) on the development of ISO/CD 21836, which is expected to make SERT the first international standard tool for server energy efficiency measurement.

  • Becoming the only planned test method for Japan's Top Runner Programme, a set of efficiency standards for energy intensive products implemented through The Minister of the Environment (METI).

Complementing SERT are two other tools developed by SPECpower: The Chauffeur Worklet Development Kit (WDK) designed to simplify the development of workloads for measuring performance and energy efficiency, and the power temperature daemon (PTDaemon) for controlling a power analyzer or temperature sensor used in energy efficiency measurement.

"We believe that including the SPEC SERT 2 suite in the ENERGY STAR Version 3.0 Computer Specification will provide excellent insight into server efficiency and help computing professionals better understand the energy consumption of products, which in turn will help reduce operating costs and help datacenter managers more precisely plan their future energy needs."

-- Ryan Fogle, the EPA's ENERGY STAR for datacenter products lead