Datacenter Power Management: Power Consumption Trend

Datacenter Power Management: Power Consumption Trend

Jackson He

As the internet services grow and the more users embracing internet - approaching 1 billion connected users, one of the biggest challenges for data-center operators today is the increasing cost of power and cooling as a portion of the total cost of operations. As shown in Figure 1, over the past decade, the cost of power and cooling has increased 400%, and these costs are expected to continue to rise. In some cases, power costs account for 40-50% of the total data-center operation budget. To make matters worse, there is still a need to deploy more servers to support new business solutions. Data centers are therefore faced with the twin problem of how to deploy new services in the face of rising power and cooling costs. In a recent survey of data centers 59% identify power and cooling as the key factors limiting server deployment.

Figure 1: IDC Report of data center cost structure and trend

At the same time with the increased energy cost and awareness of global warming, there is increased regulatory scrutiny around both idle and max power of servers and clients (desktops and laptops). The "green awareness" datacenter is no longer a "nice to have" feature, but of necessity of business operation and environmental regulatory compliance. Figure 2 highlight the world-wide existing and emerging regulations on power and energy consumption. Future datacenters have to be able to clearly measure and proof regulation conformance in order to operate properly.

Figure 2: Existing and emerging energy and power regulations

To sum it up, the power management trends for future datacenters are multifaceted and will not be covered by a single company or a single business segment. They could be summarized in the following areas:

  • At environment level: conform to increased government regulations on energy and power and increased power constraint (limited available power) - need innovative ways to conform "green datacenter" regulations, while deliver great values to business.

  • At the datacenter level: more computing power is needed with increased demand; emergence of mega datacenter and modular datacenter (datacenter in a container); the overall power and cooling distributions need to match the increased need - new datacenter designs and power/cooling management needed.

  • At rack level: higher power density and higher server density per rack is needed to pack more computing power for a given space and cooling; workload balance between racks to increase power efficiency and overall datacenter reliability - need effective rack-level power and cooling monitoring and dynamic management capabilities

  • At server level: need lower idle and max processing power, so that platform power consumption trend is more linear with platform performance; dynamically adjust power consumption based on policy and workload - need more server-level instrumentations for power/cooling monitoring and more control knobs to dynamically optimize power and performance.

I hope you agree with me of the overall datacenter power management trends at datacenters in the coming year. These trends pose challenges for each of the areas listed above. These challenges also mean opportunities for innovative solutions to thrive. I'd like to listen to your feedback about these trends. I will talk more about challenges and potential solutions in the upcoming blogs. You are welcome to share your thought of where you believe the datacenter power management is going. Thanks a lot.