A way to reduce the Internet's energy drain

May 28, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Swiss researchers at EPFL have developed a device intended for monitoring and saving the energy consumed by large data centers. It was developed in collaboration with Credit Suisse, which has used it to equip the power of its server racks.

A single click of the mouse triggers a surge of snapping devices and the activation of a multitude of connections. Finally, from one click to the other, the amount of consumed becomes more and more significant. In fact, Internet currently represents 8% of the energy annually used in , a figure that could soon reach the values of 15% to 20% in the coming years.

In order to respond to this situation, researchers at the Embedded Systems Laboratory (ESL) at EPFL have devised a solution that achieves significant , "of at least 30%, and even up to 50% less of what is consumed today, "said David Atienza, ESL director.

This new tool, called "Power Monitor System and Management (PMSM)", provides the means to monitor and track the of a data center. It can also be used to distribute the among several , computers that host the services offered on the Internet such as emailing, file sharing, business operations, etc.

The system consists of an electronic box comprising a set of . Each one of them can be connected either to the racks’ main power or directly to one of the cables supplying energy to the electronic components of the server. By measuring the current passing through it at some point, the sensor can gauge the power used, log the energy consumption variations and control that the system does not overheat. The information recorded is transmitted to a central server where the PMSM software is running. It is then processed together with other data - such as the room temperature or the priorities of the ongoing operations- and the system creates a table showing the evolution of the servers’ energy consumption, which can be accessed remotely and in real time.

More power in less space

The advantage of this invention is that it provides a precise and unique overview of the use of a server farm. In addition, this system is able to carry workloads from one machine to another, thus allowing significant energy savings. "Two servers running at 40% of their capacity each, consume much more than only one at 80%" explained David Atienza.

Developed at the request of , which is seeking to reduce the energetic and economic cost of its data centers, this new tool has already been installed on the racks of approximately 5200 servers of the bank’s data center in Zurich. According to Marcel Ledergerber, responsible for the management of this complex, the solution proposed by the ESL laboratory is particularly attractive to them since it contributes to a process of "server virtualization" that the bank has been undergoing for some years already. Such a process aims at progressively reducing the number of servers hosting a gradually greater computing power."The PMSM system allows us to concentrate our machines in a smaller space", he said. "The specific information that it provides allows us to better control the issues of temperature, and thus manage our installations more safely."

Explore further: US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

Related Stories

U.S. Data Centers Consume 45 Billion kWh Annually, Study

Feb 16, 2007

In a keynote address at the LinuxWorld OpenSolutions Summit in New York yesterday, Randy Allen, corporate vice president, Server and Workstation Division, AMD, revealed findings from a study that comprehensively ...

Sun Introduces New Metric for Server Efficiency

Dec 07, 2005

Evaluating a new server for your data center is no longer simply a matter of measuring raw performance. With today's increasing demands, you also need to consider how much power, air conditioning and space a server consumes. ...

Recommended for you

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

13 hours ago

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

20 hours ago

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

Finalists named in Bloomberg European city contest

Apr 23, 2014

Amsterdam wants to create an online game to get unemployed young people engaged in finding jobs across Europe. Schaerbeek, Belgium, envisions using geothermal mapping to give households personalized rundowns of steps to save ...

Bloomberg invests $5M in solar-powered lamp

Apr 22, 2014

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foundation has announced a $5 million investment in an artsy-looking solar-powered lamp designed for use in off-grid populations in Africa.

User comments : 0

More news stories

SK Hynix posts Q1 surge in net profit

South Korea's SK Hynix Inc said Thursday its first-quarter net profit surged nearly 350 percent from the previous year on a spike in sales of PC memory chips.

FCC to propose pay-for-priority Internet standards

The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new open Internet rules that would allow content companies to pay for faster delivery over the so-called "last mile" connection to people's homes.

Brazil enacts Internet 'Bill of Rights'

Brazil's president signed into law on Wednesday a "Bill of Rights" for the digital age that aims to protect online privacy and promote the Internet as a public utility by barring telecommunications companies ...

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common—they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between ...

FDA proposes first regulations for e-cigarettes

The federal government wants to prohibit sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.