Bulk Savings for Bulk Transfers: Minimizing the Energy-Cost for Geo-Distributed Data Centers

Xingjian Lu, Fanxin Kong, Xue Liu, Jianwei Yin, Qiao Xiang, Huiqun Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


With the fast proliferation of cloud computing, major cloud service providers, e.g., Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc., have been deploying more and more geographically distributed data centers to provide customers with better reliability and quality of services. A basic demand in such a geo-distributed data center system is to transfer bulk volumes of data from one data center to another. Geographic distribution and large delay-tolerance of such inter-data-center bulk data transfers provide cloud service providers opportunities to optimize the operating cost. Most existing studies on inter-data-center bulk data transfers focus on minimizing the network bandwidth cost. However, the energy-cost of the bulk data transfers, which also accounts for a large proportion of operating cost in the data centers, still remains unexplored. This is an important problem, especially in the multi-electricity-market environment, where the electricity price exhibits both spatial and temporal diversities. In this paper, we systematically study the problem of how to route and schedule inter-data-center bulk data transfers to minimize the energy-cost for geo-distributed data centers. We model this problem as a min-cost multi-commodity flow problem and develop an efficient two-stage optimization method to solve it. Extensive evaluations with real-life inter-data-center network and electricity prices show that our method brings significant energy-cost savings over existing bulk data transfer methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8010368
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Data center
  • bulk data transfer
  • energy-cost
  • geographical load balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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