& cplSiteName &

Facebook Slashes Data Center Power Consumption

Mitch Wagner
8/8/2014
50%
50%

Facebook is developing a new traffic management technology called Autoscale to optimize energy consumption by 10-15% at its data centers.

Facebook currently uses a traditional round-robin approach to load balancing, but found that was less than optimal, because servers running low-level loads use power more inefficiently than idle servers or servers running at moderate or greater loads, writes Qiang Wu, Facebook infrastructure software engineer, on the Facebook Code Engineering Blog.

Autoscale is designed to optimize workloads so that servers are either idling, or running at medium capacity. It tries to avoid assigning workloads in a way that results in servers running at low capacity, Wu writes.

An idle server consumes about 60 watts. It takes a big power hit, to 130 watts, when it jumps to low-level CPU utilization, for a small number of requests per second. But it only takes a small power hit, to 150 watts, when it goes from low-level to medium-level CPU utilization, Wu writes.

Therefore, from a power-efficiency perspective, we should try to avoid running a server at low RPS and instead try to run at medium RPS.

To tackle this problem and utilize power more efficiently, we changed the way that load is distributed to the different web servers in a cluster. The basic idea of Autoscale is that instead of a purely round-robin approach, the load balancer will concentrate workload to a server until it has at least a medium-level workload. If the overall workload is low (like at around midnight), the load balancer will use only a subset of servers. Other servers can be left running idle or be used for batch-processing workloads.

Though the idea sounds simple, it is a challenging task to implement effectively and robustly for a large-scale system.

Autoscale dynamically adjusts the size of the server pool in use, so that each active server will get at least a medium-level CPU load. Servers not in the active pool don't receive traffic.


Power up your data center knowledge on Light Reading's data center infrastructure channel


Optimizing both performance and power consumption was key in developing decision logic for traffic management: "On one hand, we want to maximize the energy-saving opportunity. On the other, we don't want to over-concentrate the traffic in a way that could affect site performance."

Results have been promising:

Autoscale led to a 27% power savings around midnight (and, as expected, the power saving was 0% around peak hours). The average power saving over a 24-hour cycle is about 10-15% for different web clusters.

Normalized power consumption for a production web cluster with and without Autoscale. Source: Facebook.
Normalized power consumption for a production web cluster with and without Autoscale. Source: Facebook.

Facebook is driving open source data center hardware design with its own Open Compute project. The project is self-serving -- Facebook runs among the most massive data centers in the world, and data center cost savings improves Facebook's bottom line. Facebook says it has saved $1.2 billion over three years using the Open Compute hardware designs it champions. (See Open Compute Project Takes on Networking.)

Earlier this week, Facebook bought PrivateCore, a security software company, to beef up its server security. (See Facebook Buys PrivateCore for Server Security.)

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to wagner@lightreading.com.

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
SachinEE
50%
50%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/12/2014 | 2:23:27 PM
Re: good news for Facebook
With the millions of users that Facebook has bagged over he years, it is good to know that they have found a way to improve their data centers. Facebook is used world wide and they make a lot of profit but this new occurrence will no doubt help them to cut costs and probably boost their earnings by a great percentage. It is a wonder that they did not do this sooner.
brooks7
50%
50%
brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/11/2014 | 11:44:17 AM
Re: Not been done before ?
Dennis,

Note, that the applications that people like Amazon and Google do are diverse.  It may not be as easy to eliminate compute power in that environment.  Scaling computing and storage in those environments might have very different curves.

seven

 
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/11/2014 | 11:39:05 AM
Re: Not been done before ?
Maybe they have but choose not to crow about it. Or maybe they haven't. The point of the story was to highlight what FB is doing to improve its efficiency and margins.
Whatdoyouwant
50%
50%
Whatdoyouwant,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/11/2014 | 11:31:47 AM
Re: Not been done before ?
I meant by the industry in general.  Google, Yahoo, Amazon, etc..   none of these guys have figured this out ?
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/11/2014 | 10:36:51 AM
Re: Not been done before ?
When your growth is in triple digits, you don't worry so much about sweating down costs. That comes with maturity. Now that Facebook is a public company, it has to focus more on stuff like margins.
Whatdoyouwant
50%
50%
Whatdoyouwant,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/11/2014 | 9:46:42 AM
Not been done before ?
Is it me or does this seem like something that would have been done a long time ago ?
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/9/2014 | 6:31:59 PM
Re: Something good from Facebook
I did not realize that the optimum power consumption for a server instance was at medium level capacity. This is really useful - something that hardware designers and cloud service providers should usel to optimize machines and cut costs.

More and more services are being powered through the cloud - which means there is huge opportunity to slash operating expenses. 
thebulk
50%
50%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/9/2014 | 11:36:47 AM
Re: Something good from Facebook
Just think of the cost they are cutting with this! It really is impressive. 
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/9/2014 | 9:01:31 AM
Something good from Facebook
Congratulations to Facebook for figuring out how to make its data centers more efficient. Do you think there's a similar potential for energy cost savings for network operators that deploy virtualization?
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
CommScope – Meeting the Demands of Tomorrow's Networks

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Phil Sorksy, Vice President International at CommScope, discusses addressing the challenges faced by service providers today, and as future trends emerge.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
AMS-IX & Huawei's OSN 902

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shows how its OSN 902 platform helps the Amsterdam Internet exchange to connect the world using multiplexing.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Smart Energy Innovation Center

3|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In Nuremberg, Huawei showcases its latest capabilities in the digitalization of Internet resources, network infrastructure and intelligence at its Smart Energy Innovation Center.
Valley Wonk
OFC & Hyperscale: A Good Mix?

3|24|17   |   01:50   |   (0) comments


Cloud and telecom players want different types of equipment for their networks, as the chatter at OFC reveals.
LRTV Custom TV
Etisalat on NFV Journey

3|24|17   |   10:37   |   (0) comments


Etisalat is a service provider that prides itself on bringing innovative technologies to the markets it serves. It was one of the first operators to implement 3G and leads the pack in fiber penetration. Now, Esmaeel Al Hammadi, Etisalat's SVP of Network Development, explains the operator's journey to virtualization, beginning with the network core, as well as the ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 3

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting on the application of technologies and key business verticals such as transportation, smart city, manufacturing, media and finance.
LRTV Documentaries
No Regrets: Cox's Finkelstein on Fiber & More

3|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


At the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein examines the cable capex conundrum.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Next-Gen: The 'Mile High' View From Denver

3|22|17   |   11:56   |   (0) comments


Alan Breznick kicks off the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event in Denver, casting his thousand-yard stare over cable's current competitive landscape.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at CeBIT 2017: Day 2

3|21|17   |   2:27   |   (0) comments


Light Reading reports from CeBIT 2017 in Germany, where Huawei is exhibiting digital transformation solutions around IoT, smart data centers, OpenCloud ecosystem and its newly announced storage-as-a-service solution.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving Better Mobile Customer Experience While Transforming the Mobile Network

3|21|17   |   7:47   |   (0) comments


The Citrix NetScaler mobile gateway is an intelligent traffic management solution which can markedly improve the customer experience provided by mobile operators, even when traffic is encrypted. Critical network services can be consolidated and virtualized using NetScaler. Because of the unique architecture, NetScaler can be deployed on any hypervisor, on a ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: What's Next for Mobile Payments?

3|21|17   |   7:49   |   (0) comments


2017 marks the fifth consecutive year for Mastercard at Mobile World Congress and it was a great time to reflect on the amazing advances the payments industry has made as well as discuss "What's Next' in the digital commerce future. We spoke to James Anderson, executive vice president of digital payments at MasterCard, about digital wallets to tokenization to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Mastercard: 2 Billion Adults 'Trapped' in Cash Economy

3|21|17   |   03:51   |   (1) comment


Despite advances made in the last several years, two billion adults around the world are trapped in a cash economy and lack what we take for granted -- a safe way to receive, save and use money. Shamina Singh, executive vice president of sustainability and president of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, chats about how Mastercard is developing new ways to ...
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
High-Band 5G: Let's Address the Range Question, Shall We?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 3/21/2017
Eurobites: A1, Nokia Turn It Up to 11
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/22/2017
FTTH No Slam Dunk for Cable
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/23/2017
Welcome to the Wild West of Privacy
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/24/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
At MWC 2017, Qualcomm's CTO Matt Grob talks to Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders about the progress being made in the development of the technologies and standards that will underpin 5G.
Animals with Phones
Neither Do We Click Here
Is that a prerequisite?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.