SPEC's biggest challenges were choosing the right workloads -- or worklets, as it calls them -- to make the tests relevant to a lot of customers, and designing a test suite that the certification labs can run quickly and consistently, without needing specialized engineering skills. SERT has a simple GUI and pre-built tuning options to make sure tests will be conducted uniformly.
SPEC and the EPA are still figuring out how they'll use the data to rank servers. With the current tests, they choose the top 25% of servers and award them an Energy Star. Because the new test is more complicated, they'll collect data for nine months and use it to figure out how to rank the systems. But buyers will be able to start using the results as soon as they're posted.