Energy consumption and energy prices are two critical concerns for data center operators. In 2005, servers alone accounted for 1.2% of energy consumption in the U.S. [1]. By 2012, the EPA predicts energy consumption in data centers will double from 2007 levels. Energy prices are also increasing. In 2006, they rose by 10% [1]. Energy prices are expected to rise even higher, due to regulatory and social concerns over green house gas emissions from energy production. In this work, we demonstrate how data center energy consumption can be reduced and thermal capacity improved by systematically considering the interactions between data center infrastructure elements (e.g., cooling and servers). Specifically, we quantify the benefits of the automated migration of workloads running in Virtual Machines (VMs). VMs are migrated from a set of servers located in an inefficient thermal zone to servers in a more efficient zone. Our experimental results show that our technique reduced data center energy usage by 30% and improved available thermal capacity by 22%.

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