Thursday, February 26, 2009

Microsoft to use Machine Learning software to put servers to sleep when not in use

SAI reports:

Microsoft is working on new tech codenamed "Marlowe" to build data centers using low-power servers that can intelligently "sleep" and "wake up" -- just like a portable computer.

NY Times: The company has applied sophisticated machine learning software to the Atom-based servers and tracked how they handle search requests on Microsoft Live over the course of a day.

When the software senses a lull in action, it can place large numbers of servers into sleep or hibernate modes so that they consume just 2 to 4 watts instead of the usual 28 to 37 watts. Then, in an ideal set-up, the software can anticipate when more active periods will resume and begin waking up the servers ahead of the incoming search requests. It usually takes the servers about 5 to 45 seconds to jump back into action.

I think this is a great idea, if you can predict the load on the servers, and if you datacenter is already not optimized. With hundreds of cron-jobs running at asynchronous intervals, DB and file systems deciding on their own schedule of page-flushes, and with server load coming from around the globe - it might be a challenge to accurately predict the load. But, that's what software is for.

Watch this space.

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