Aggressive datacenter power provisioning with batteries

Sriram Govindan, Di Wang, Anand Sivasubramaniam, Bhuvan Urgaonkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Datacenters spend $10-25 per watt in provisioning their power infrastructure, regardless of the watts actually consumed. Since peak power needs arise rarely, provisioning power infrastructure for them can be expensive. One can, thus, aggressively underprovision infrastructure assuming that simultaneous peak draw across all equipment will happen rarely. The resulting nonzero probability of emergency events where power needs exceed provisioned capacity, however small, mandates graceful reaction mechanisms to cap the power draw instead of leaving it to disruptive circuit breakers/fuses. Existing strategies for power capping use temporal knobs local to a server that throttle the rate of execution (using power modes), and/or spatial knobs that redirect/migrate excess load to regions of the datacenter with more power headroom. We show these mechanisms to have performance degrading ramifications, and propose an entirely orthogonal solution that leverages existing UPS batteries to temporarily augment the utility supply during emergencies.We build an experimental prototype to demonstrate such power capping on a cluster of 8 servers, each with an individual battery, and implement several online heuristics in the context of different datacenter workloads to evaluate their effectiveness in handling power emergencies. We show that our battery-based solution can: (i) handle emergencies of short durations on its own, (ii) supplement existing reaction mechanisms to enhance their efficacy for longer emergencies, and (iii) create more slack for shifting applications temporarily to nonpeak durations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalACM Transactions on Computer Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science


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