CSR: Small: Improving Data Center Water Efficiency via Online Resource Management" Grant

CSR: Small: Improving Data Center Water Efficiency via Online Resource Management" .


  • A large data center may consume millions of gallons of cooling water each day; in addition, data centers also indirectly consume an enormous amount of water embedded in offsite electricity generation. As a result, water conservation is surfacing as a critical concern for data centers, amid the anticipation of surging water demand worldwide. Left unchecked, the growing water footprint of data centers can pose a severe threat to data center sustainability and may even handicap availability of services, especially for data centers in water-stressed areas. Existing mechanical solutions for conservation, such as using recycled/industry water and directly using outside cold air, are often costly and/or very limited by external factors such as locations, climate conditions, among others. As part of the integral efforts from both industry and academy to enable data center sustainability, this project uniquely integrates water footprint as an essential part of resource management in virtualized data centers. It exploits the inherent yet little-known characteristics of time-varying water efficiency and optimizes resource management for minimizing operational cost as well as water footprint without compromising service quality. To this end, this project investigates three complementary research thrusts: (i) Online computing resource management for water sustainability in the presence of large unknown dynamics (such as highly volatile outside temperature); (ii) Exploration of the dependency of data center water efficiency on cooling systems, and joint optimization of cooling and computing resource management for water sustainability; (iii) Experimentation and validation based on combined system prototyping and software simulation. In addition to its environmental impacts, this project has large societal impacts for its potential to alleviate the growing pressure on data center water footprint effectively and economically. This project will enhance the understanding of interplay among water consumption, power/energy consumption, and resource management in data centers, and lay a solid foundation for sustainable evolvement of greener data centers. New findings and techniques will be readily incorporated into teaching materials. The project also contains a significant component to promote diversity by inspiring minority students, especially Hispanic students, to engage in computer science research.

date/time interval

  • October 1, 2014 - September 30, 2016

sponsor award ID

  • 1423137