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The networking infrastructure is becoming a growing portion of the energy footprint in data centers as well as information technology in general. In this paper, we evaluate energy management strategies for network switches. We begin by performing a lifecycle assessment of existing switches in a data center, and find that the use phase of the lifecycle dominates. We then parametrically examine various energy management techniques to reduce this operational footprint, and find that advances in operational energy efficiency may soon increase the share of environmental burden from switch manufacturing. We conclude by discussing how these findings may influence network design in the future.
Date of Conference: 17-19 May 2010