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The 4 Pillar Framework for energy efficient HPC data centers

Abstract

Improving energy efficiency has become a major research area not just for commercial data centers but also for high performance computing (HPC) data centers. While many approaches for reducing the energy consumption in data centers and HPC sites have been proposed and implemented, as of today, many research teams focused on improving the energy efficiency of data centers are working independently from others. The main reason being that there is no underlying framework that would allow them to relate their work to achievements made elsewhere. Also, without some frame of correlation, the produced results are either not easily applicable beyond their origin or it is not clear if, when, where, and for whom else they are actually useful. This paper introduces the “4 Pillar Framework for Energy Efficient HPC Data Centers” which can be used by HPC center managers to wholistically evaluate their site, find specific focus areas, classify current research activities, and identify areas for further improvement and research. The 4 pillars are: 1. Building Infrastructure; 2. HPC Hardware; 3. HPC System Software; and 4. HPC Applications. While most HPC centers already implement optimizations within each of the pillars, optimization efforts crossing the pillar boundaries are still rare. The 4 Pillar Framework, however, specifically encourages such cross-pillar optimization efforts. Besides introducing the framework itself, this paper shows its applicability by mapping current research activities in the field of energy efficient HPC conducted at Leibniz Supercomputing Centre of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities to the framework as reference.