AAAI Publications, Workshops at the Twenty-Fifth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Position Paper: Embracing Heterogeneity—Improving Energy Efficiency for Interactive Services on Heterogeneous Data Center Hardware
Yuxiong He, Sameh Elnikety

Last modified: 2011-08-24


Data centers today are heterogeneous: they have servers from multiple generations and multiple vendors; server machines have multiple cores that are capable of running at difference speeds, and some have general purpose graphics processing units (GPGPU). Hardware trends indicate that future processors will have heterogeneous cores with different speeds and capabilities. This environment enables new advances in power saving and application optimization. It also poses new challenges, as current systems software is ill-suited for heterogeneity. In this position paper, we focus on interactive applications and outline some of the techniques to embrace heterogeneity. We show that heterogeneity can be exploited to deliver interactive services in an energy-efficient manner. For example, our initial study suggests that neither high-end nor low-end servers alone are very effective in servicing a realistic workload, which typically has requests with varying service demands. High-end servers achieve good throughput but the energy costs are high. Low-end servers are energy-efficient for short requests, but they may not be able to serve long requests at the desired quality of service. In this work, we show that a heterogeneous system can be a better choice than an equivalent homogeneous system to deliver interactive services in a cost-effective manner, transforming heterogeneity from a resource management nightmare to an asset. We highlight some of the challenges and opportunities and the role of AI and machine learning techniques for hosting large interactive services in data centers.

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