Apr 11, 2007

How to Optimize Power Consumption of Your Data Center

There's a lot of talk these days about "green data centers" and reducing power consumption. Cassatt Collage has several features that can be used to optimize the power consumption of your data center.

Collage dynamically allocates servers to applications as they are needed. So, if you have a farm of web servers, you can allocate capacity as demand increases rather than provisioning all the servers at once. Servers that are unused remain in a free pool, and Collage powers them off. (Check out an older post for more details.)

Collage includes a pretty powerful rules engine, sometimes called the brain, and sometimes called Jerry's brain (named after its inventor). The rules engine allocates servers using a least-cost algorithm so that servers are optimally allocated based on application needs. For example, you might have a database tier that need dual-CPU, 4 GB servers, and an Apache tier that can use any old server. Collage will allocate your heavy-duty servers to the database tier and the lightweight servers to the Apache tier.

Using the Collage rules engine and power management technologies, you can have servers allocated based on their power consumption. For example, virtual machines could be allocated first-- since they don't require additional power-- followed by 1-U servers, then 2-U servers and then finally those power-hungry 4-U servers. For each class of server, you simply add additional attributes to the hardware inventory maintained by Collage. Add one attribute for your 1-U servers, two attributes for your 2-U servers and four attributes for your 4-U servers.

When servers are allocated to an application tier, Collage will automatically allocate the most power-efficient server that is available. And when that application no longer requires the same service capacity, extra servers are automatically returned to the free pool and powered off. Voila! Your data center now optimizes its own power consumption based on application needs. Pretty cool, huh?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Vinay,
By what percentage would such a product reduce power consumption?

Regards
Ashwani
Network Computing

Vinay Pai said...

We find that customers typically have utilization rates that are really low. We've seen 4%-11% in some cases. Without Collage, these under-utilized systems are still powered on. With Collage, you can consolidate these applications on fewer systems, and turn off the unneeded machines. The unneeded machines sit in a "free pool" until demand increases and Collage powers them back on to help out. So, you could reduce power consumption considerably.

We're doing a set of benchmarks now to help quantify how much and will be publishing those shortly. Everyone's results will vary depending upon what you're doing in your data center, usage peaks, etc., but it's definitely very significant. Watch this space for more details.

alanm said...

Vinay, some time ago I blogged about Collage's ability to reduce power in the data center. (Here's a link.) At the time I was playing around with javascript calculators, and I came up with one to give folks an idea of just how much money they spend on power. I found it pretty staggering. Here's a direct link to the calculator (there's also a link to the calculator in the blog itself.)