The IDG News Service reports yet another drawback to the Energy Star requirements: "Critics have also noted that resellers may reconfigure systems in the channel, by adding more memory and disk drives, for example. The EPA will rein in such behavior as much as it can, but customers should check that the configuration they receive is the one that qualified for the program in the first place."
Bapat wasn't entirely critical about the Energy Star program for servers. For example, a compliant server must be capable of measuring real-time power use, processor utilization, and air temperature, data that can help datacenter operators asses the overall efficiency of their operations. "Transparency is always a good thing. Energy Star requires the ability to report power consumption data pretty much across the range of utilization and at all times that the server is on. If you want to know how much [power is being consumed], you should be able to ask it and it should tell you. That's a very useful feature."
Additionally, the spec requires the use of more efficient power supplies, which generate less waste heat, thus requiring less cooling. It also requires compliant servers to come equipped with advanced power-management features to save energy across various operating states.
All in all, I agree with Bapat's assessment that Version 1.0 of the Energy Star requirements for servers is a good first step, but there's plenty more work to be done. In the meantime, datacenter operators will still have to do lots of homework before investing in new machines that fit their organization's data-crunching and energy-efficiency requirements.