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Green data center solutions aren't translating to greenbacks for the channel just yet, but VARs are starting an increase in customer interest for more energy efficient technology.
Solution providers in the server space say they're receiving some requests for energy-efficient technology for data centers from vendors as well as end users, but the demand for low-power solutions isn’t yet as strong as the consistent need for added performance and competitive pricing.
Vendors, particularly the top microprocessor firms with low-power processors, have made a strong effort in recent years to deliver products that spend less energy, which lowers customers' electric bills (and total cost of ownership for data center products) while also benefiting the environment. Now many of their channel partners are getting into the act.
While performance and price remain the two primary criteria for server purchases, power efficiency has become a topic of conversation between solution providers and customers — although not all. Integrators and system builders who serve larger enterprises tend to be the ones having conversations with enterprise customers about reducing or maintaining power usage levels, while SMB-level customers are less interested. However, VARs say even those smaller businesses could see additional benefits from adopting energy-efficient server platforms besides reduced consumption.
CRN spoke to VARS in the server space who have received extensive requests for power-efficient solutions from end users. “Energy efficiency is and has been a major concern for all our server customers,” said Andrew Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder. “In fact, it has been quite common for us to include a power budget with our server quotations – especially when these machines are being deployed to data centers.”
Power-efficiency is also closely intertwined with cost-efficiency in the mind of many server partners. “Where performance per dollar used to be the normal metric, we are often now selling based on price or performance per watt,” said Kretzer. “Lower powered components can often pay for themselves in just a year’s time with the energy savings that are realized.”
Faced with growing customer demand for cost-effective data centers, system builders have had to balance performance requirements with energy concerns in their own data center system designs, including high-performance computing (HPC) clusters.
“Energy-efficiency is a major concern for many of our customers,” James Huang, product marketing manager at AMAX, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder. “To help our customers to deploy more energy efficient servers in the data center, AMAX has introduced many power-saving computing solutions, including our ClusterMax Eco power-efficient clusters, designed specifically for the data center market."