Focus area: Demand response

Green power forwarding

Solution/product description

Our research and design proposal is a network engineering energy efficiency solution that reduces energy consumption and cost through SDN/NFV principles and applications, telemetry data, and big data analytics.
‘Green Power Forwarding (GPF)’, our software-defined networking (SDN) application, aims to promote energy efficiency in the broadband networks by enhancing inter-data center (DC) forwarding decisions by considering new routing factors such as the energy cost at the DC (electricity is less expensive in Wyoming than California) and whether the DC uses renewable energy or not, along with shortest-path/round-trip time. For non-critical traffic (user-defined), the algorithm will make the decision to route traffic via a ‘green’ DC, even if the path is longer than a ‘non-green’ DC route.
In addition to this, we propose to add network functions virtualization (NFV) to complement our GPF application within the DC. Increasing the number of virtual network functions (VNFs) allow reduction in the number of physical boxes at the customer edge as well as inside the DC, which implies reduced energy consumption.
Lastly, we propose to use the Energy Management (EMAN) SNMP MIB to gather telemetry data from network devices such as the power consumption, in addition to bandwidth and throughput at any given time. When we combine this data, we can analyze and visualize crucial parameters such as Mb/Watt/Time for any specific device. This formula will facilitate energy-conscious, informed decision-making (For example in an instance when deciding which vendor device would be more energy efficient).
The research results from this project can be used to provide a new paradigm for energy-aware networking which includes the SDN GPF algorithm/application, an NFV infrastructure, and EMAN for more informed decision making and network monitoring and visualization.

How does your project address / improve the focus area (Monitoring and Measurement, Demand Response, Supply and Control)?

Based on the network application demands, the proposed Green Power Forwarding application aims to shift more network traffic towards green data centers. And as the amount of traffic traversing through green DC’s increases, it creates incentives to invest in and create such green DC’s.

What was your inspiration for your project?

Hyperscale data-centers are poised to become one of the biggest energy consumers in the ICT industry, and with Internet traffic reaching zettabytes, we were inspired to address this by integrating energy efficiency into the current infrastructure, which is currently an afterthought in our field.

What is the single most exciting thing about your project?

Rethinking the Internet routing architecture and imagining the impact our solution could have on a global scale.

Why did you decide to take part in the Adaptive Power Challenge?

The ICT industry consumes a substantial percentage of the overall energy supply--which is a growing and salient issue. We believe that a solution to any problem has to come from within, and this adaptive power challenge provides us with the opportunity to research innovative solutions to conquer this problem. We desperately want to use our SDN/NFV, programming, and network engineering expertise in a non-traditional method, which is developing enhancements on the current infrastructure and creating a more efficient way for broadband providers to consume energy.