This paper presents data centers from a cyber-physical system (CPS) perspective. Current methods for controlling information technology (IT) and cooling technology (CT) in data centers are classified according to the degree to which they take into account both cyber and physical considerations. To evaluate the potential impact of coordinated CPS strategies at the data center level, we introduce a control-oriented model that represents the data center as two coupled networks:
These networks are coupled through the influence of the IT on both networks: servers affect both the quality of service (QoS) delivered by the computational network and the generation of heat in the thermal network. Using this model, three control strategies are evaluated with respect to their energy efficiency and computational performance:
Simulation results show that the benefits to be realized from coordinating the control of IT and CT depend on the distribution and heterogeneity of the computational and cooling resources throughout the data center.
A new cyber-physical index (CPI) is introduced as a measure of this combined distribution of cyber and physical effects in a given data center. We illustrate how the CPI indicates the potential impact of using coordinated CPS control strategies.