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Microsoft today is expected to announce a research and development program called Cloud Computing Futures that aims to look at how the data centers underlying cloud computing can operate as efficiently as possible. The idea behind this year-old effort that will emerge from stealth mode at […]

Microsoft today is expected to announce a research and development program called Cloud Computing Futures that aims to look at how the data centers underlying cloud computing can operate as efficiently as possible. The idea behind this year-old effort that will emerge from stealth mode at Microsoft’s TechFest event in Redmond, Wash., today is to save energy and also reconsider the way data centers are designed depending on the applications they are trying to run.

On the energy side, Microsoft plans to announce that it has cut the power requirements for chips inside servers running some workloads to 10-20 watts per node as compared to 130-150 watts for an average node or 85 for a newer, power-saving server.

Daniel Reed, Microsoft’s scalable and multicore computing strategist, says some of energy use reduction comes from running workloads such as search on servers that use Intel’s low-power Atom processors. Other strategies involve eliminating redundant power for nodes running workloads that can tolerate the occasional loss of a server.  This eliminates the need to perform a lot of voltage conversions that can waste power.

Another research effort Reed will showcase is software that performs  real-time measurement of server utilization and adapts the workloads to maximize energy efficiency. Hewlett-Packard has a similar research area that measures this, as does Intel. Other areas of research include the use of solid state drives in the data center, the use of optical interconnects on chips and optimizing chips for memory and I/O rather than sheer speed.

Reed is a supercomputing expert who helped develop the National Science Foundation’s TeraGrid, a shared high-performance computing program. He is also involved in Microsoft’s partnership with Intel to develop software for multicore computers. The result of the Cloud Computing Futures research will be put into practice at Microsoft’s data centers as well as in Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service.

  1. [...] Originally posted here:  Microsoft Designing Cloud Data Centers From the Silicon Up [...]

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  2. [...] Microsoft Designing Cloud Data Centers From the Silicon Up – Gigaom.comMicrosoft today is expected to announce a research and development program called Cloud Computing Futures that aims to look at how the data centers underlying cloud computing can operate as efficiently as possible. The idea behind this year-old [...]

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  3. [...] Microsoft Designing Cloud Data Centers From the Silicon Up – Gigaom.comMicrosoft today is expected to announce a research and development program called Cloud Computing Futures that aims to look at how the data centers underlying cloud computing can operate as efficiently as possible. The idea behind this year-old [...]

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  4. [...] are companies that operate their own data center. For example, Microsoft is researching the power savings associated with running some of its jobs on Intel’s low-power Atom [...]

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  5. [...] DSPs for specialty computing, and Nvidia, which is pushing GPUs would agree. Even data center operators are experimenting with different CPUs for different tasks, to create a custom workflows that save [...]

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  6. [...] DSPs for specialty computing, and Nvidia, which is pushing GPUs would agree. Even data center operators are experimenting with different CPUs for different tasks, to create a custom workflows that save [...]

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  7. [...] these issues with its investment into university research into multicore programming; it’s been conducting its own research into energy efficiency as well. Tremblay is working in Microsoft’s Strategic Software/Silicon Architectures group, [...]

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  8. [...] center operators are exploring unconventional processors and seem willing to accept lower speeds. Microsoft is testing the use of Intel’s low-power Atom processors in servers, and has said it saw more than a 90 percent power reduction using Atom [...]

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  9. [...] its cloud as efficiently as possible. It’s already researching ways to do so, including using low-power chips that Intel designs for netbooks in its servers to save on electricity [...]

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  10. [...] place in the world of web-scale computing (GigaOM Pro subscription required), as Microsoft tests Intel’s low-end Atom chips in its servers; Dell touts servers using the low-power VIA chip; and SeaMicro creates an 80-core Atom-based box. [...]

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