Cisco: When it comes to energy efficiency, there is no one magic metric to measure goodness

Cisco Data Center Networks Blog
Omar Sultan - Cisco CCIE No. 1284 Routing and Switching in his recent Cisco Data Center blog entry, made an interesting point that certainly adds more controversy to our blog story: Cisco loses $2M order to ruthless Nortel energy efficiency calculator

Omar Sultan
Nortel asserts their ERS 8610 offers energy savings of 60% over a 6500 equivalent. There is not a lot of detail to the comparison, although there is a footnote that states: Unless noted, all product comparisons are based on vendor published maximum power ratings. So this seems a comparison of power supplies, not actual draw.

Core switches compared (two each) for power consumption, cooling requirements, carbon emissions
The salient point is that these power values are for two switches plugged-in and idling with no connections--the assertion is that if there is such a discrepancy at idle, imagine what happens when we actually forward packets. I guess the moral of the story here is, when it comes to energy efficiency, there is, sadly, no one magic metric to measure goodness. Its a design function like anything else in the data center and its a matter of doing research and balancing the design parameters. View Omar's entire blog entry. Omar's point that a comparison at idle, may not accurately measure what happens when packets are forwarded is a good one.

Do YOU agree with Omar that when it comes to energy efficiency, there is no one magic metric to measure goodness?

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