A comparison of power management mechanisms: P-States vs. node-level power cap control
Large-scale HPC systems increasingly incorporate sophisticated power management control mechanisms. While these mechanisms are potentially useful for performing energy and/or power-aware job scheduling and resource management (EPA JSRM), greater understanding of their operation and performance impact on real-world applications is required before they can be applied effectively in practice. In this paper, we compare static p-state control to static node-level power cap control on a Cray XC system. Empirical experiments are performed to evaluate node-to-node performance and power usage variability for the two mechanisms. We find that static p-state control produces more predictable and higher performance characteristics than static node-level power cap control at a given power level. However, this performance benefit is at the cost of less predictable power usage. Static node-level power cap control produces predictable power usage but with more variable performance characteristics. Our results are not intended to show that one mechanism is better than the other. Rather, our results demonstrate that the mechanisms are complementary to one another and highlight their potential for combined use in achieving effective EPA JSRM solutions.