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Optimizing Power Consumption in Large Scale Storage Systems

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Articles in Business Technology

Data centers are the backend of a large number of services that are taken for granted today. Cornell University's Computer Science Department members examine a new solution to optimize power consumption in large scale storage systems. They argue that technological evolution has given the Log-Structured File System (LFS) new relevance as a natural power-saving opportunity for large-scale storage systems.

LFS proves to be an accessible solution to disk power management when considering the challenges involved, such as:

  • Short idle periods- LFS localizes write-access to a small subset of disks, this feature results in long disk idle periods
  • Low predictability of idle periods- LFS evades this problem by predetermining which disk is written to at all times
  • Performance constraints- LFS provides an application-independent solution that allows the system to perform consistently across a wide range of datasets
  • The law of large numbers- large scale server systems process incredibly large request loads

The Log-Structured File System was inspired by a need to optimize the latency of write-accesses. Ultimately, findings show that a new opportunity for saving power in large-scale storage systems is born. The solution is that log structured file systems write only to the log head; as a result, if read accesses are served by the cache, then write accesses touch only the log head disk, potentially permitting the power down of all other disks.