PTS: Blog

It’s Nap Time for Data Centers

Yesterday at the International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems in Washington, D.C., researchers from the University of Michigan presented a paper, titled “PowerNap: Eliminating Server Idle Power”.

“One of the largest sources of energy-inefficiency is the substantial energy used by idle equipment that is powered on, but not performing useful work,” says Thomas Wenisch, assistant professor in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In response to this problem, Wenisch’s team has developed a technique to eliminate server idle-power waste.

Their paper addresses the energy efficiency of data center computer systems and outlines a plan for cutting data center energy consumption by as much as 75 percent. This would be accomplished through the concurrent use of PowerNap and the Redundant Array for Inexpensive Load Sharing (RAILS). PowerNap is an energy-conservation approach which would enable the entire system to transition rapidly between a high-performance active state and a near zero-power idle state in response to instantaneous load, essentially putting them to sleep as you would do with an ordinary laptop. RAILS is a power provisioning approach that provides high conversion efficiency across the entire range of PowerNap’s power demands.

The paper concludes:

PowerNap yields a striking reduction in average power relative to Blade of nearly 70% for Web 2.0 servers. Improving the power system with RAILS shaves another 26%. Our total power cost estimates demonstrate the true value of PowerNap with RAILS: our solution provides power cost reductions of nearly 80% for Web 2.0 servers and 70% for Enterprise IT.

To read the full text, please visit Wenisch’s site to download a PDF of the paper: