Industry heavyweights including Compaq, Intel and Microsoft, have agreed this week on an open industry specification for power management in a move analysts said paves the way for more reliable servers.
The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) 2.0 will provide more flexible power management schemes for systems ranging from desktops to the largest enterprise servers. The original specification for ACPI, released in 1996, primarily targeted desktops and notebooks.
The specification defines a flexible and extensible interface that allows system designers to select appropriate feature trade-offs for power management. The interface enables and supports reliable power management through improved hardware and operating system co-ordination.
Intel said that many of the features of the specification emulate those found within its SpeedStep technology, which is found in its Pentium III chips and conserves battery power by reducing processor speeds.
ACPI 2.0, which has already been endorsed by 29 companies, adds support for Intel's forthcoming 64-bit microprocessor architecture, multiple processors, and device performance states, and provides longer battery life, lower power usage and lower temperatures.
Enhancements targeted at the server market include support for hot-plugable microprocessors, memory and PCI/PCI-X (peripheral component interconnect/peripheral component interconnect extended), the interconnection systems between a microprocessor and attached devices.
ACPI 2.0-compatible systems are expected in late 2001 and Microsoft will build support for the specification into Whistler, its next full release after Windows 2000.
Chris Martin, an analyst at researcher Xephon, welcomed agreement on the specification, which he said was good news for end users. "If you reduce power consumption on a server you dissipate less heat and are able to run servers in less critical environments. Because of this, it will cost less to run servers and their reliability will be improved," he said.
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