SBIR Phase I: Autonomous Dynamic Power Management to Redcue Power Consumption in Data Centers

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Packet Digital LLC
201 5th Street North Suite 1500
Fargo, ND 58102
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) Phase I project will research autonomous, dynamic power management to reduce power consumption in data center servers by up to 15-20%, strongly supporting the Environmental Protection Agency's push toward low-power data centers and rapid adoption of the new Energy Star label for computer servers. In 2010, data centers in the United States consumed over 200 TWh of energy, making data centers one of the largest consumers of the electrical grid. This research project will launch an aggressive initiative to develop a smart power management integrated circuit that can be embedded within data center servers to conserve power on embedded memory. The research will focus on characterization of the memory power consumption, the creation of an autonomous controller to provide dynamic voltage scaling of the memory, and demonstration of advanced power management by a real-time, hardware-based power management method. If successful, the power consumption may be reduced by 15-20% with no impact to the server design, while simultaneously reducing latency, enhancing thermal management, and improving reliability. The intellectual merit is to provide an innovative autonomous power management technology with intelligent integrated circuits for scalable solutions on any computing platform, including megawatt-sized data centers. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is carbon footprint reduction and significant cost savings by addressing the overwhelming power drain by data centers, providing a substantial impact on reducing the nation's demand for electricity. Since 2006, data centers use more energy per year in the United States than televisions. In 2010, data centers used the equivalent energy of 22 million homes. The continual increase in demands for data center storage, cloud computing and processing power is predicted to drive significant growth in the number of data center servers worldwide within the next decade. This research may show that autonomous power management integrated circuits implemented in 15.6% of servers worldwide would reduce the need for an entire power plant. Leading server manufacturers are seeking new solutions in power management due to the increasing costs and environmental impacts of powering data centers. Unlike competing technologies, the "just-enough/just-in-time" solution proposed in this research uniquely saves power by monitoring activity across an entire system outside the microprocessor, delivering power only when needed.