Green, power reduction, and climate change are all the rage these days, and the world of computers is not off the hook on this one. Software and hardware manufacturers are trying hard to keep power consumption down – while first something for mostly mobile computers, desktops and servers are now part of the effort too. PC World tested Windows Server 2008 and two Linux server offerings and compared their power usage patterns.They took Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux 5.1, and SUSE Enterprise Linux 10 SP1, and loaded them on popular 1U server machines; one from Dell, one from IBM, and two from HP. The results point to a clear victor:
Our tests point to Linux as the winner of the green flag by margins that topped out at 12 per cent. But we must note that our results are full of stipulations imposed by our test bed, and as the more truthful car advertisements might warn – your wattage may vary.
However, PC World was quite disappointed by the amount of work and tinkering needed to actually get the power conservation technologies to work properly.
Microsoft, Red Hat and Novell/SUSE each have power savings and green initiatives that are widely publicized. Nonetheless, we were astounded by the effort we needed to undertake in order to chase down of firmware, BIOS and other updates was necessary to get real savings in the tests we conducted. Tuning servers for optimized power savings could yield better results, but would create a new painstakingly tedious server management discipline required to constantly control the deep complexities of the configuration variables involved.