On the Energy Consumption and Performance of Systems Software

Zhichao Li, Radu Grosu, Priya Sehgal, Scott A. Smolka, Scott D. Stoller, and Erez Zadok

Models of energy consumption and performance are necessary to understand and identify system behavior, prior to designing advanced controls that can balance out performance and energy use. This paper considers the energy consumption and performance of servers running a relatively simple file-compression workload. % We found that standard techniques for system identification do not produce acceptable models of energy consumption and performance, due to the intricate interplay between the discrete nature of software and the continuous nature of energy and performance. This motivated us to perform a detailed empirical study of the energy consumption and performance of this system with varying compression algorithms and compression levels, file types, persistent storage media, CPU DVFS levels, and disk I/O schedulers. Our results identify and illustrate factors that complicate the system's energy consumption and performance, including nonlinearity, instability, and multi-dimensionality. Our results provide a basis for future work on modeling energy consumption and performance to support principled design of controllable energy-aware systems.