Informal group to encourage idea exchange on best practices, lessons learned and solutions for improved electronic stewardship at facilities in government facilities and elsewhere.
Going Green in the Data Center
July 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm #166498
Innovation promises to cut massive power use at big data companies in a flash
Big data needs big power. The server farms that undergird the Internet run on a vast tide of electricity. Even companies that have invested in upgrades to minimize their eco-footprint use tremendous amounts: The New York Times estimates that Google, for example, uses enough electricity in its data centers to power about 200,000 homes.
Now, a team of Princeton University engineers has a solution that could radically cut that power use. Through a new software technique, researchers from the School of Engineering and Applied Science have opened the door for companies to use a new type of memory in their servers that demands far less energy than the current systems.
The software, called SSDAlloc, allows the companies to substitute solid state memory, commonly called flash memory, for the more expensive and energy-intensive type of memory that is now used for most computer operations.
“The biggest potential users are the big data centers,” said Vivek Pai, an associate professor of computer science who developed the program with graduate student Anirudh Badam. “They are going to see the greatest improvements.”
July 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm #166502
Paper describing the process:
Title: SSDAlloc: Hybrid SSD/RAM Memory Management Made Easy
We introduce SSDAlloc, a hybrid main memory management system that allows developers to treat solid-state disk (SSD) as an extension of the RAM in a system. SSDAlloc moves the SSD upward in the memory hierarchy, usable as a larger, slower form of RAM instead of just a cache for the hard drive. Using SSDAlloc, applications can nearly transparently extend their memory footprints to hundreds of gigabytes and beyond without restructuring, well beyond the RAM capacities of most servers. Additionally, SSDAlloc can extract 90% of the SSD’s raw performance while increasing the lifetime of the SSD by up to 32 times. Other approaches either require intrusive application changes or deliver only 6–30% of the SSD’s raw performance.
July 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm #166500
SSDAlloc is a system that allows applications to use solid state memory, such as NAND Flash and Solid-State Disks (SSDs) as transparent extensions to the DRAM in a system, instead of just as a disk replacement technology. Solid state memory uses little power, costs about one-tenth as much as DRAM, and is available in multi-terabyte (TB) capacities. In comparison, few servers even support a single terabyte of DRAM, with most supporting only a few hundred gigabytes at most. What this means in practical terms is that companies that use hundreds of servers to support large in-memory workloads can drastically cut their server count, power, and cooling costs by using SSDAlloc to expand the memory per server.
Using SSDAlloc, developers can truly achieve the full potential of solid state technologies, without the extensive application rewrites required by many other approaches. Equally importantly, SSDAlloc delivers the full performance of the solid state device, unlike some other approaches that deliver only 10-30% of the raw performance
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