Feeds

Google spanks memory, disk and networking vendors

Calls for proportional response

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google has hit out at storage, memory and networking equipment makers with a grimace, a finger wag and a closing wallet.

Two of the ad broker's leading data center researchers have published a paper chastising all of the aforementioned groups of hardware makers for failing to cater to the real needs of customers. Unlike chip manufacturers, the other major infrastructure players have placed little emphasis on tuning their gear for energy efficient use in large data centers. As a result, customers are wasting millions of dollars on electricity, cooling and hardware.

In order to improve this situation, Google engineers Luiz André Barroso and Urs Hólzle have called for the development of "energy-proportional" gear that would cater better to the specific demands of those customers running hundreds and thousands of servers.

Barroso, whose paper appears in the Dec. issue of the IEEE's Computer magazine, has been taking Google's internal power, system usage and component failure research and turning it against the industry. In June, he whacked the reliability claims of disk manufacturers and revealed a couple of techniques Google has discovered for making platters spin longer. Now, he and Hólzle have gone at most of the major data center players, saying they need to step up their game to help out customers.

Many Greenies like to focus in on the processor as the real power problem child of data centers. The Google pair, however, think that it may make more sense now to examine the role that other components play in overall power consumption due to the unique nature of data center loads.

As most of you know, the recent multi-core designs from Intel and AMD have brought about a dramatic improvement in performance per watt metrics. In addition, both vendors and customers have started to pay more attention to power supplies, buying more efficient units for a bit extra cash. The upshot of both trends is that the "engine" part, if you'll forgive us, of the data center is showing power efficiency improvements.

For Barroso and Hólzle, these more fundamental technology shifts will have a greater impact on data center efficiency than some of the moves to apply mobile chip-style power tweaking to server processors. And this is - after more than 300 words and a head held in shame - is where we get to the real meat of the Googlers paper.

Unlike, say, notebooks, servers spend very little time in a truly idle state. Instead, servers usually run here - at between 10 per cent and 50 per cent utilization.

Throttling a chip down in these types of circumstances can prove more troublesome than helpful. For one, the latency penalties associated with waking up from a low power state often exceed the power saving benefits for a server customer. In addition, even servers with low usage are rarely idle. They're performing background jobs, helping present parts of a database or aiding with recovery tasks during failures.

But even with penalties for low power modes, chips tend to present some gains for servers customers in these states that are not offered with other server hardware.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts
Samba implementation? Time to get some devs on the job
Like condoms, data now comes in big and HUGE sizes
Linux Foundation lights a fire under storage devs with new conference
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.