31 Aug 2018

DIGITALEUROPE & EUDCA statement on ecodesign regulation for servers

DIGITALEUROPE and EUDCA concerned about impact of proposed ecodesign requirements for servers

On 3 July 2018, the European Commission published for stakeholder feedback the draft Regulation that introduces energy efficiency and material efficiency requirements for servers and data storage. These products are essential for modern ICT networks and the optimisation of the data centre infrastructure in the EU.

DIGITALEUROPE, with the assistance of The Green Grid (TGG) Server Efficiency Rating Tool (SERT) Analysis working group, has analysed the Commission’s draft proposal and has serious concerns about the proposed requirements and detrimental impacts for newer, more energy efficient and better performing servers.

“Let us keep promoting the most energy efficient solutions” said Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE. “Industry has made serious efforts to increasingly improve server efficiency over the past decade and we are therefore very concerned about the Commission’s proposal which would, as it currently stands, remove approx. 75% of newer, more energy efficient and better performing servers from the EU market” she added. “Thisdoes not only lead to an increased energy footprint of data centres, which contradicts broader energy and climateefforts, but also runs counter to the investments for increasing the digital infrastructure in Europe”. It is in this context that we call upon the European Commission and Member States to reassess the proposal and choose ametric that is futureproof”.

In the period leading up to the draft proposal, DIGITALEUROPE has proposed to the Commission the use of the“active efficiency metric” – a holistic measure of server effectiveness in different operating conditions. However,the Commission’s proposal is based only on server idle limits the power consumed during occasional server waiting periods, which does not directly reflect the efficiency of a server in operational mode.

Since servers have become better performing and more efficient in terms of executing given workloads, the trade- off is a slight increase in server idle power but an overall reduction in energy footprint of EU data centres. Therefore, based on the very low idle requirements proposed by the European Commission, only 24% of servers would be able to operate on the European market, with an arbitrary exclusion of the most efficient and best performing servers. This would mean that additional, less efficient servers would be needed in order to carry out increasingly complex workloads and data centre operators will be forced into choosing less efficient solutions. This will result in net increase in energy footprint of EU data centres.

Data centre operators are continuously investing in reducing energy consumption. Improved server efficiency has led to large reductions whilst meeting increasingly complex demands for next generation computing workloads (e.g. AI, blockchain, analytics and IoT systems). Furthermore, datacentre operators and their customers arecontinually increasing average server workloads, meaning idle time is being reduced,” states Michael Winterson, Chairman of the European Data Centre Association (EUDCA) Policy Committee. “The idle limit metric of the Commission is therefore a regressive proposal. We are very concerned about the impact of the proposedRegulation and urge policymakers to consider redrafting the text.”

DIGITALEUROPE and EUDCA remain committed to work together with the European Commission, Member States and other relevant stakeholders to make the necessary improvements to the Commission’s proposal to ensure that ecodesign requirements for servers and data storage are consistent with broader energy and climate commitments as well as investments in the European digital infrastructure.

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