The Case for Energy-Oriented Partial Desktop Migration

Nilton Bila, Eyal de Lara, Matti Hiltunen, Kaustubh Joshi, H. Andres Lagar-Cavilla

USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing (HotCloud), Boston, MA, June 2010



Office and home environments are increasingly crowded with personal computers. Even though these computers see little use in the course of the day, they often remain powered, even when idle. Leaving idle PCs running is not only wasteful, but with rising energy costs it is increasingly more expensive. We propose partial migration of idle desktop sessions into the cloud to achieve energy-proportional computing. Partial migration only propagates the small footprint of state that will be needed during idle period execution, and returns the session to the PC when it is no longer idle. We show that this approach can reduce energy usage of an idle desktop by up to 50% over an hour and by up to 69% overnight. We show that idle desktop sessions have small working sets, up to an order of magnitude smaller than their allocated memory, enabling significant consolidation ratios. We also show that partial VM migration can save medium to large size organizations tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.