Alcatel-Lucent wins green bragging rights in switch test

With electric bills in large data centers topping $1 million per month, power consumption is a major concern. Using Fluke 322 and Fluke 335 clamp meters, we measured each switch's power draw, both when idle and again when its control and data planes were fully loaded.

Power consumption chart

The results show a roughly threefold difference between the most miserly and power-hungry device but most switches used similar amounts of power, drawing anywhere between 128 and 154 watts when fully loaded. Alcatel-Lucent's OmniSwitch 6850 wins bragging rights for the most efficient device when idle, using just 79 watts. Extreme's Summit X450 was the most efficient when fully loaded, requiring 128 watts.

Foundry's X448 was an exception. It uses 255 watts when idle and 316 watts fully loaded, more than double that of other switches. At 1.5 rack units, it's also slightly larger than all other switches, which take up 1 rack unit apiece.

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