Data Centers

The Cost of a Cloud: Research Problems in Data Center Networks

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Executive Summary

The data centers used to create cloud services represent a significant investment in capital outlay and ongoing costs. Accordingly, the paper first examines the costs of cloud service data centers today. The cost breakdown reveals the importance of optimizing work completed per dollar invested. Unfortunately, the resources inside the data centers often operate at low utilization due to resource stranding and fragmentation. To attack this first problem, the paper proposes increasing network agility, and providing appropriate incentives to shape resource consumption. Second, one notes that cloud service providers are building out geo-distributed networks of data centers. Geo-diversity lowers latency to users and increases reliability in the presence of an outage taking out an entire site.

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