The modern work culture now allows its employees to take a “power nap” in between stressed out work shifts. Servers now have an equal demand! Researchers from the University of Michigan have declared a new mechanism by which power-hungry computer data centers can save up to 75% energy by putting these servers to sleep, when not in use.
Thomas Wenisch spearheaded this research, who also happens to be assistant professor in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His team performed an analysis on the power consumption and data center workloads. They used mathematical modeling techniques to optimize their findings. Their proposed technology would include “PowerNap” that conserves energy by eliminates almost all power used by servers that are idle and RAILS (Redundant Array for Inexpensive Load Sharing).
Most of the energy wasted by these servers is because of the enormous amounts of energy they draw while they are configured to meet peak processing requirements on demand. This is much higher compared to the normal demand. However, such servers when remain idle cause considerable energy losses together with loss in power delivery. In addition to this, their cooling mechanisms too, increase power consumption two-three fold.
The researchers made a quite interesting observation that typically, industrial data centers are utilized 20-30% on the average. This means, almost one fifths of their time is spent doing nothing. What is more surprising is the fact that they still consume at least 60% of the power while the are idle! Aw! Now that’s got to burn a hole in your pocket!
Just like ordinary laptops, Wenisch and his team has come up with this idea of applying the same underlying technology to hefty data centers. Techniques such as voltage scaling and dynamic frequency comparatively, do not help to conserve power by larger factors and are hence, not as efficient. However, the “sleep and wake up” process has to be fast enough so that there isn’t any considerable delay in between servicing requests and placing unique demands on them. These servers typically exhibit recurrent and concise bursts of activity so this posed a challenge for the team.
Wenisch has made a point in a podcast that the carbon footprint of Czech Republic is as high as tat of all the world’s data centers! Therefore, he claims that “PowerNap” is all set to bring about the necessary savings in power consumption. However, in order to continuously co ordinate the sleeping and waking, “PowerNap” would require a new operating system designed for its specific purpose.
Ready for a Nap there Mr. Server?…oops…for you, we now have “PowerNap”!