Data Centers

Sierra: Practical Power-Proportionality for Data Center Storage

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Executive Summary

In this paper, the authors present Sierra, a power-proportional distributed storage subsystem for data centers. Sierra allows powering down of a large fraction of servers during troughs without migrating data and without imposing extra capacity requirements. It addresses the challenges of maintaining read and write availability, no performance degradation, consistency, and fault tolerance for general I/O workloads through a set of techniques including power-aware layout, a distributed virtual log, recovery and migration techniques, and predictive gear scheduling. Replaying live traces from a large, real service (Hotmail) on a cluster shows power savings of 23%. Savings of 40-50% are possible with more complex optimizations.

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