Microsoft Research Highlights Power Savings

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Researchers from Microsoft have been examining ways to save energy in basic data center processes, and are presenting a paper at Usenix (link via Mary Jo Foley) outlining some of their findings. The paper discusses an energy-saving technique called write off-loading, which alters the input/output pattern in storage systems to generate idle periods during which disks can be spun down save energy. Here’s a summary:

Our analysis shows that simply spinning disks down when idle saves significant energy. Further, write off-loading enables potentially much larger savings by creating longer idle periods. To validate the analysis we implemented write off-loading and measured its performance on a hardware testbed. The evaluation confirms the analysis results: just spinning disks down when idle reduces their energy consumption by 28

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.