Cutting the Electric Bill for Internet-Scale Systems

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Executive Summary

Energy expenses are becoming an increasingly important fraction of data center operating costs. At the same time, the energy expense per unit of computation can vary significantly between two different locations. In this paper, the authors characterize the variation due to fluctuating electricity prices and argue that existing distributed systems should be able to exploit this variation for significant economic gains. Electricity prices exhibit both temporal and geographic variation, due to regional demand differences, transmission inefficiencies, and generation diversity.

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