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With power having become a critical issue in the operation of data centers today, there has been an increased push towards the vision of "Energy-proportional computing", in which no power is used by idle systems, very low power is used by lightly loaded systems, and proportionately higher power at higher loads. Unfortunately, given the state of the art of today's hardware, designing individual servers that exhibit this property remains an open challenge. However, even in the absence of redesigned hardware, one demonstrates how optimization-based techniques can be used to build systems with off-the-shelf hardware that, when viewed at the aggregate level, approximate the behavior of energy-proportional systems. This paper explores the viability and tradeoffs of optimization-based approaches using two different case studies.
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