A Cyber-Physical-System Approach to Data Center Modeling and Control for Energy Efficiency

Proceedings of the IEEE, Special Issue on Cyber-Physical Systems, December 2011.

Luca Parolini, Bruno Sinopoli, Bruce H. Krogh, Zhikui Wang*

Electrical & Computer Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

*HP Labs


This paper presents data centers from a cyberphysical system (CPS) perspective. Current methods for controlling information technology (IT) and cooling technology (CT) in data centers are classified according to the degree to which they take into account both cyber and physical considerations. To evaluate the potential impact of coordinated CPS strategies at the datacenter level, we introduce a control-oriented model that represents the data center as two coupled networks: a computational network representing the cyber dynamics and a thermal network representing the physical dynamics. These networks are coupled through the influence of the IT on both networks: servers affect both the quality of service (QoS) delivered by the computational network and the generation of heat in the thermal network. Using this model, three control strategies are evaluated with respect to their energy efficiency and computational performance: a baseline strategy that ignores CPS considerations, an uncoordinated strategy that manages the IT and CT independently, and a coordinated strategy that manages the IT and CT together to achieve optimal performance with respect to both QoS and energy efficiency. Simulation results show that the benefits to be realized from coordinating the control of IT and CT depend on the distribution and heterogeneity of the computational and cooling resources throughout the data center. A new cyber-physical index (CPI) is introduced as a measure of this combined distribution of cyber and physical effects in a given data center. We illustrate how the CPI indicates the potential impact of using coordinated CPS control strategies.





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