As early as 2006, Uptime Institute Founder Ken Brill identified comatose servers as one of the biggest opportunities for companies to improve overall IT energy efficiency. While Mr. Brill advocated for industry action on this issue, he often cautioned, “Nobody gets promoted for going around in the data center and unplugging servers.” Mr. Brill meant that data center professionals had no incentive to remove comatose machines and that IT executives lacked insight into the impact idle IT equipment was having on the cost structures of their organizations, as their departments do not pay the data center power bill.


Uptime Institute is pleased to announce that Visa and AOL have taken top honors in the fourth annual Server Roundup contest. Combined, the two organizations saved more than $10 million in data center costs by decommissioning their underutilized servers. Learn more about this year's Server Roundup winners


The corporate disconnect between IT and Facilities Operations continues to challenge the data center industry. Data center managers need to overcome that organizational barrier and get executive level buy-in in order to implement an effective server decommissioning program.

This is why Uptime Institute invited companies around the globe to help address and solve the problem of comatose servers by participating in the Server Roundup, an initiative to promote IT and Facilities integration and improve data center energy efficiency. The Uptime Institute Server Roundup contest was introduced in October 2011 to encourage the removal and recycling of obsolete IT equipment in an effort to decrease data center energy use. 

Decommissioning a single 1U rack server can result in a savings of $500 per year in energy costs, an additional $500 in operating system licenses, and $1,500 in hardware maintenance costs. Since the contest’s launch two years ago, Server Roundup participants have decommissioned and recycled 30,000 units of obsolete IT equipment.

“This contest is designed to engage the IT community to get serious about asset utilization and energy efficiency,” said Matt Stansberry, Director of Content and Publications, Uptime Institute.

Participate Next Year: 
Going virtual? Consolidating servers? Moving to the cloud? Going out of business?! We don’t care. Just unplug and decommission those machines.

Paperwork: What’s the proof? We want to see a paper trail. Send us change records. Do you identify machines by server name or serial number? Removed 752 servers? We want to see the submission of the work. Did you send the hardware to a recycler? Send us the receipt.

Results: We want to know how much energy you saved. Send us the UPS output reading before the change and after the change. You can do it right in the flow of work.

Photos: Send us a few before-and-after photos. Servers in the cabinets, servers in the docks going out. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive. Extra credit for creativity.

Winners in each category will receive commemorative rodeo belt buckles and a dedicated presentation slot at Uptime Institute Symposium.

Email Uptime Institute’s Matt Stansberry for more information about the Server Roundup contest. Also send any comments, questions, or cowboy jokes. Thanks for your interest. Hike up your Wranglers, unhitch your horses, and get to work.