Thursday, 2 October 2008

Technology Brief: Power Capping for ProLiant servers

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Today’s high-performance servers are models of efficiency compared to previous generations. However, the rapid growth in server numbers and density in modern data centers continues to make planning and managing facility power and cooling resources increasingly important. HP Power Capping is a ProLiant power management tool designed to assist the data center administrator in carrying out this critical task.

HP Power Capping is a power management feature of HP ProLiant servers that operates independently of the operating system (OS). It allows system administrators to manage the average power consumption of a server. This paper describes Power Capping technology, its relationship to other power management tools such as HP Power Regulator, and its use as part of a planning and provisioning strategy in the data center. It is assumed that the reader is familiar with ProLiant servers, the Integrated Lights Out (iLO-2) management processor, and HP Systems Insight Manager (SIM).

Like HP Power Regulator, Power Capping is implemented in firmware and is therefore not dependent on the operating system or applications. Using the power monitoring and control mechanisms built into ProLiant servers, Power Capping is specifically designed to allow an administrator to limit, or cap, the average power consumption of a server or group of servers. This provides increased flexibility in managing the data center by allowing the administrator to indirectly control those attributes that are influenced by server power consumption, including data center cooling requirements. Power Capping also allows the manager to control server power consumption in emergency situations such as the loss of primary AC power.

This white paper talks about following topics:

  • Basics of server power control
    • Processor P-states
    • Clock throttling
  • How Power Capping works
    • Minimum and maximum power consumption for a server
    • Maintaining power consumption below the power cap
  • Setting power cap for a single server
  • Setting power cap for a group of servers
  • Using Power Capping in the data center
    • Using Power Capping in provisioning
    • Choosing effective power caps
    • Power Capping to peak power consumption
    • Power Capping to average power consumption
    • Power Capping for emergency management
    • Time-of-day Power Capping
  • Subtleties of Power Capping
    • Avoiding Power Capping conflicts
    • Using Power Regulator in conjunction with Power Capping
    • Setting an unattainable power cap
    • Power Capping and CPU utilization

You can access the complete white paper here.

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