& 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
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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 Interviews
Can Cable Climb Upmarket?

12|7|16   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson and Alan Breznick assess cable's prospects for winning more enterprises in a landscape rocked by corporate M&A activity.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
TalkTalk Exec: Find Your North Star at Work

12|7|16   |   3:38   |   (1) comment


Women need to find their purpose, a professional North Star, and create a personal board for themselves, according to Alex Tempest, director of partners at TalkTalk Business.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon: Beware Unknown Unknowns

12|7|16   |   04:58   |   (0) comments


Chris Novak, director of the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Risk Team, explains that enterprises who don't conduct a thorough audit of their assets often leave some things unprotected because they don't know they exist. Many times these unprotected assets are part of corporate M&A activity but left unshielded they can become a hacker's playground, he tells Light ...
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (2) comments


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
Upcoming Live Events
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 12/2/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/5/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.