Energy- and cost-efficiency analysis of ARM-based clusters

Zhonghong Ou, Bo Pang, Yang Deng, Jukka K. Nurminen, Antti Ylä-Jääski, Pan Hui

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


General-purpose computing domain has experienced strategy transfer from scale-up to scale-out in the past decade. In this paper, we take a step further to analyze ARM-processor based cluster against Intel X86 workstation, from both energy-efficiency and cost-efficiency perspectives. Three applications are selected and evaluated to represent diversified applications, including Web server throughput, in-memory database, and video transcoding. Through detailed measurements, we make the observations that the energy-efficiency ratio of the ARM cluster against the Intel workstation varies from 2.6-9.5 in in-memory database, to approximately 1.3 in Web server application, and 1.21 in video transcoding. We also find out that for the Intel processor that adopts dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS) techniques, the power consumption is not linear with the CPU utilization level. The maximum energy saving achievable from DVFS is 20%. Finally, by utilizing a monthly cost model of data centers, we conclude that ARM cluster based data centers are feasible, and are advantageous in computationally lightweight applications, e.g. in-memory database and network-bounded Web applications. The cost advantage of ARM cluster diminishes progressively for computation-intensive applications, i.e. dynamic Web server application and video transcoding, because the number of ARM processors needed to provide comparable performance increases.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 12th IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing, CCGrid 2012
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-7695-4691-9
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeNot Eligible


  • ARM cluster
  • cost-efficiency
  • energy-efficiency
  • scale-out


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