Virtualizing power distribution in datacenters

Di Wang, Chuangang Ren, Anand Sivasubramaniam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

43 Scopus citations


Power infrastructure contributes to a significant portion of datacenter expenditures. Overbooking this infrastructure for a high percentile of the needs is becoming more attractive than for occasional peaks. There exist several computing knobs to cap the power draw within such under-provisioned capacity. Recently, batteries and other energy storage devices have been proposed to provide a complementary alternative to these knobs, which when decentralized (or hierarchically placed), can temporarily take the load to suppress power peaks propagating up the hierarchy. With aggressive under-provisioning, the power hierarchy becomes as central a datacenter resource as other computing resources, making it imperative to carefully allocate, isolate and manage this resource (including batteries), across applications. Towards this goal, we present vPower, a software system to virtu-alize power distribution. vPower includes mechanisms and policies to provide a virtual power hierarchy for each application. It leverages traditional computing knobs as well as batteries, to apportion and manage the infrastructure between co-existing applications in the hierarchy. vPower allows applications to specify their power needs, performs admission control and placement, dynamically monitors power usage, and enforces allocations for fairness and system efficiency. Using several datacenter applications, and a 2-level power hierarchy prototype containing batteries at both levels, we demonstrate the effectiveness of vPower when working in an under-provisioned power infrastructure, using the right computing knobs and the right batteries at the right time. Results show over 50% improved system utilization and scale-out for vPower's over-booking, and between 12-28% better application performance than traditional power-capping control knobs. It also ensures isolation between applications competing for power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationISCA 2013 - 40th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, Conference Proceedings
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2013
Event40th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2013 - Tel-Aviv, Israel
Duration: Jun 23 2013Jun 27 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Symposium on Computer Architecture
ISSN (Print)1063-6897


Other40th Annual International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture


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