The popularity of the Internet and the demand for 24/7 services uptime is driving system performance and reliability requirements to levels that today's data centers can no longer support. This paper examines the traditional monolithic conventional server (CS) design and compares it to a new design paradigm: the disaggregated server (DS) data center design. The DS design arranges data centers resources in physical pools, such as processing, memory, and IO module pools, rather than packing each subset of such resources into a single server box. In this paper, we study energy efficient resource provisioning and virtual machine (VM) allocation in DS-based data centers compared to CS-based data centers. First, we present our new design for the photonic DS-based data center architecture, supplemented with a complete description of the architectural components. Second, we develop a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) model to optimize VM allocation for the DS-based data center, including the data center communication fabric power consumption. Our results indicate that, in DS data centers, the optimum allocation of pooled resources and their communication power yields up to 42% average savings in total power consumption when compared with the CS approach. Due to the MILP high computational complexity, we developed an energy efficient resource provisioning heuristic for DS with communication fabric (EERP-DSCF), based on the MILP model insights, with comparable power efficiency to the MILP model. With EERP-DSCF, we can extend the number of served VMs, where the MILP model scalability for a large number of VMs is challenging. Furthermore, we assess the energy efficiency of the DS design under stringent conditions by increasing the CPU to memory traffic and by including high noncommunication power consumption to determine the conditions at which the DS and CS designs become comparable in power consumption. Finally, we present a complete analysis of the communication patterns in our new DS design and some recommendations for design and implementation challenges.
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