The OPERA project improves energy efficiency in the IT sector by means of heterogeneous hardware and software architectures, which can also exploit programmable boards (FPGA) to distribute the workload according to applications and server technology.
OPERA has developed a prototype for efficient workload distribution, so as to automatically and dynamically perform tasks at the required time and on the most suitable available hardware architecture.
CSI took care for verifying the validity of the hardware and software equipment produced by OPERA's industrial partners in two real contexts:
- Datacenter in a Box (Truck)
- Virtual Desktop
Datacenter in a Box is the truck set up for the Civil Protection of the Metropolitan City of Turin that intervenes in critical situations (earthquakes, floods...) by providing a mobile satellite connection to ensure VoIP voice transmission and Internet and using a drone to take photos and shoot videos of the area. A considerable amount of energy is required to aggregate all the photos taken by the drone and obtain an orthophoto, a geometrically correct aerial photograph, with a high resolution that allows navigation within a 3D image. Thanks to OPERA, it has been possible to halve the processing time of the orthophotos, reduce the truck's electricity consumption by 5 times and occupy a quarter of the space. This lower consumption will allow to work for a longer time or to cover a greater distance with the vehicle. The reduction of the occupied space will allow to accommodate new equipment and realize new services.
Virtual Desktop: OPERA has evaluated several hardware and software technologies for server-side virtualization, to host 20 times more users with the same power consumption. The project developed a prototype to distribute the processing load among the available hardware architectures and optimize energy consumption based on the statistical data collected.
The research of the OPERA project is also aimed at finding the right energy efficiency metrics, derived from the model studied and translated into the algorithms better suited to the circumstances.
In addition to the advantages of energy and space saving, this project offered interesting opportunities:
- potential reuse of use cases for public administrations in Piedmont
- acquisition of specialized skills in the field of hardware and software energy consumption optimization, OpenStack, evaluation metrics
- development of a protocol, replicable in the future, to collect requirements in a virtual and heterogeneous working group.