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The PowerNap Server Architecture

The PowerNap Server Architecture,10.1145/1925109.1925112,ACM Transactions on Computer Systems,David Meisner,Brian T. Gold,Thomas F. Wenisch

The PowerNap Server Architecture  
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Data center power consumption is growing to unprecedented levels: the EPA estimates U.S. data centers will consume 100 billion kilowatt hours annually by 2011. Much of this energy is wasted in idle systems: in typical deployments, server utilization is below 30%, but idle servers still consume 60% of their peak power draw. Typical idle periods---though frequent---last seconds or less, confounding simple energy-conservation approaches. In this article, we propose PowerNap, an energy-conservation approach where the entire system transitions rapidly between a high-performance active state and a near-zero-power idle state in response to instantaneous load. Rather than requiring fine-grained power-performance states and complex load-proportional operation from individual system components, PowerNap instead calls for minimizing idle power and transition time, which are simpler optimization goals. Based on the PowerNap concept, we develop requirements and outline mechanisms to eliminate idle power waste in enterprise blade servers. Because PowerNap operates in low-efficiency regions of current blade center power supplies, we introduce the Redundant Array for Inexpensive Load Sharing (RAILS), a power provisioning approach that provides high conversion efficiency across the entire range of PowerNap’s power demands. Using utilization traces collected from enterprise-scale commercial deployments, we demonstrate that, together, PowerNap and RAILS reduce average server power consumption by 74%.
Journal: ACM Transactions on Computer Systems - TOCS , vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 1-24, 2011
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