Real applications of power management for the Intel Xeon 5500 Platform in the ‘dot-com’ days – many companies would build datacenters across the globe with one thing in mind – performance – and costs weren’t an issue.  It was all about getting the job done, with little concern about the costs.  Well, times have changed and companies have become more energy conscious, not only to become better stewards in using natural resources, but consumers are looking for companies who can design and develop products that can meet their own ‘green energy’ power needs.  It’s not as important anymore to make or build something to be the ‘best of class’ it also has to be ‘efficient’ while being the best. 

Corporate initiatives to reduce power but still “KTBR” (Keep the Business Running) are imperative to sustaining business today.  Not only do you need the best performing servers – but they need to be efficient at what is done.  Most of us would agree to cut overhead costs with energy efficiency versus headcount cuts.  It’s better for the environment, better for the business, and benefits everyone.

Enterprise companies have been ‘going green’ for a while now.  Initiatives like Climate Savers, and others have been pushing the technical envelope on how to reduce power usage for businesses large and small.  Intel has a large hand in contributing to the conservative ecology in power usage.  People need computers, computers need power, and power is used – but can the power be reduced and still give the same experience?  With the Xeon 5500 Series platforms – the answer is a resounding - YES!

You’ve most likely read about the performance stats around Intel Xeon 5500 (Nehalem) Processors, but I want to show you how their efficiency can give back to your enterprise. Not only do the Xeon 5500 Series give you power and efficiency – there is more technology ‘under the hood’ to be looked at.  Intel Intelligent Power Node Manager has been released in the Xeon 5520 and 5500 Chipsets (previously called Tylersburg-EP). 

There are several scenarios we can go through concerning server workloads – but let’s take a real world example of Company “X” (I can’t tell you who right now) but their workloads have been very stable and growing over the past few years.  One of the issues is that their servers are heavily worked during the beginning of the week, pushing the server farm at 85-90% utilization.  The work is reduced gradually over the week and by Friday; the server utilization is around 10-20%. 


As you can see in the chart above, the server farm would start out the week with 85-90% load and the servers would run at full power the entire week. This would burn energy at 90% cost, even though the workload had died off toward the end of the week to about 15% - not very efficient.  It’s like leaving the stove on all day long, and only using it for a few minutes when you cooked a meal.

Once we brought in the Xeon 5500 based systems, we also enabled ACPI power management which is much more pronounced with the Xeon 5500 because of the increased number of P-states.  We are able to add power capping using Node Manager to limit the power usage by the racks to meet the daily requirements of the customer workloads.  This helped us to have the power available when needed, and reduce the power when the workloads aren’t as power hungry. 


Another key feature that we’re going after is to increase the server density using Node Manager and Intel Datacenter Manager by measuring the power usage and capping the maximum power utilized by the entire rack.  The benefit is that with Intel Intelligent Power Node Manager, the data comes in real-time and we can modify the power curves on a regular basis through the server console. 

Like many customers, power savings can have a large impact in your overhead costs.  If this sounds like a solution that your company could benefit from, then definitely ask your favorite OEM when their Node Manager enabled Xeon 5500 series platform will be available.  Intel Server Products are available today and ready for your datacenter – the ROI is estimated to be a short 8 months, so a little green goes a long way.

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Todd Christ

About Todd Christ

Todd Christ is an Enterprise Solutions Architect at Intel Corporation. He is a dynamic, highly accomplished computer science professional with a deep history of leveraging novel technologies to develop solutions to chronic business challenges. Todd worked in several roles in Information Technology prior to his career shift to the Intel Datacenter Group where he currently promotes Software Defined Infrastructure models, solutions and technologies. Todd is a strong proponent of Hybrid Cloud strategies for Enterprise and Government markets. He has broad knowledge and success in engineering and development environments; he excels at qualifying, integrating, and testing diverse systems. Todd is a skilled trainer and project leader; able to direct multiple tasks effectively and readily master innovative software and tools.