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Issue No. 10 - October (2010 vol. 21)
ISSN: 1045-9219
pp: 1412-1426
Xiaorui Wang , University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Ming Chen , University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Xing Fu , University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Power control is becoming a key challenge for effectively operating a modern data center. In addition to reducing operating costs, precisely controlling power consumption is an essential way to avoid system failures caused by power capacity overload or overheating due to increasing high server density. Control-theoretic techniques have recently shown a lot of promise for power management because of their better control performance and theoretical guarantees on control accuracy and system stability. However, existing work oversimplifies the problem by controlling a single server independently from others. As a result, at the enclosure level where multiple high-density servers are correlated by common workloads and share common power supplies, power cannot be shared to improve application performance. In this paper, we propose an enclosure-level power controller that shifts power among servers based on their performance needs, while controlling the total power of the enclosure to be lower than a constraint. Our controller features a rigorous design based on an optimal Multi-Input-Multi-Output (MIMO) control theory. We present detailed control problem formulation and transformation to a standard constrained least-squares problem, as well as stability analysis in the face of significant workload variations. We then conduct extensive experiments on a physical testbed to compare our controller with three state-of-the-art controllers: a heuristic-based MIMO control solution, a Single-Input-Single-Output (SISO) control solution, and an improved SISO controller with simple power shifting among servers. Our empirical results demonstrate that our controller outperforms all the three baselines by having more accurate power control and up to 11.8 percent better benchmark performance.
Power control, power capping, power management, servers, data centers, feedback control.

X. Fu, M. Chen and X. Wang, "MIMO Power Control for High-Density Servers in an Enclosure," in IEEE Transactions on Parallel & Distributed Systems, vol. 21, no. , pp. 1412-1426, 2010.
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