& 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?
From The Founder
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
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.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
How Diversity Helps Comcast Mirror Its Customer Base

4|26|17   |   2:55   |   (0) comments


Diversity brings innovation, creative ideas and a way to reflect the broad spectrum of your customer base, Comcast Director of Customer Experience Jenelle Champlin says.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mobile Operators & Video

4|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ovum's Ed Barton discusses the latest mobile operator strategies for mobile video.
LRTV Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom, for a discussion of what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia Introduces Virtual Service Router for More Rapid Service

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


James Cumming, product line manager for virtualized service routers at Nokia, demonstrates how the virtual router based off the Nokia ecosystem changes the network function experience.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - 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
Time for a Telecom Reboot
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 4/19/2017
Surprise! AT&T Markets 4G Advances as '5G Evolution'
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
Did Verizon Outbid AT&T for Straight Path?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Unlicensed: It's What's Next for US Mobile Operators
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
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.
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.