Skip to Main Content
With increasing processor speed and density, denser system packaging, and other technology advances, system power and heat have become important design considerations. The introduction of new technology including denser circuits, improved lithography, and higher clock speeds means that power consumption and heat generation, which are already significant problems with older systems, are significantly greater with IBM POWER6™ processor-based designs, including both standalone servers and those implemented as blades for the IBM BladeCenter® product line. In response, IBM has developed the EnergyScale™ architecture, a system-level power management implementation for POWER6 processor-based machines. The EnergyScale architecture uses the basic power control facilities of the POWER6 chip, together with additional board-level hardware, firmware, and systems software, to provide a complete power and thermal management solution. The EnergyScale architecture is performance aware, taking into account the characteristics of the executing workload to ensure that it meets the goals specified by the user while reducing power consumption. This paper introduces the EnergyScale architecture and describes its implementation in two representative platform designs: an eight-way, rack-mounted machine and a server blade. The primary focus of this paper is on the algorithms and the firmware structure used in the EnergyScale architecture, although it also provides the system design considerations needed to support performance-aware power management. In addition, it describes the extensions and modifications to power management that are necessary to span the range of POWER6 processor-based system designs.
Note: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Incorporated is distributing this Article with permission of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) who is the exclusive owner. The recipient of this Article may not assign, sublicense, lease, rent or otherwise transfer, reproduce, prepare derivative works, publicly display or perform, or distribute the Article.