FSL Sponsor Abstract: Government of Israel (GoI), Mission to the USA

The storage stack has been getting more complex in the past two decades, with the addition of complex layers of networking and virtualization. Characterizing the performance of a storage system from an application's perspective has therefore become ever more challenging. In recent years, power consumption has become a critical issue for running large systems; energy costs have become a serious and even dominating factor in the operation of large data centers. We believe that performance and energy efficiency are two highly related factors.

In recent work, we have found and explained significant performance and energy variations in systems with directly attached storage; we were able to optimize such systems to improve both energy consumption and performance by as much as a factor of 9 times!

In this project we are investigating the relationship between power consumption and performance for network-based and distributed file systems, using a variety of workloads and settings. Our results are reported under which conditions these storage stacks, extended to the network, consume more power and how performance is affected under those conditions.

Disseminating these results helps inform companies and government agencies, their customers and end-users, as well as the greater user community, how to make the most out of their existing infrastructure. In the long run, we hope these results can lead to a grounds-up redesign of some layers of the storage stack with energy efficiency in mind.