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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2015, Article ID 380926, 13 pages
Research Article

Dynamic Energy Storage Control for Reducing Electricity Cost in Data Centers

School of Information Science and Technology, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230027, China

Received 5 June 2014; Accepted 20 October 2014

Academic Editor: Jonathan N. Blakely

Copyright © 2015 Shuben Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


As the scale of the data centers increases, electricity cost is becoming the fastest-growing element in their operation costs. In this paper, we investigate the electricity cost reduction opportunities utilizing energy storage facilities in data centers used as uninterrupted power supply units (UPS). Its basic idea is to combine the temporal diversity of electricity price and the energy storage to conceive a strategy for reducing the electricity cost. The electricity cost minimization is formulated in the framework of finite state-action discounted cost Markov decision process (MDP). We apply -Learning algorithm to solve the MDP optimization problem and derive a dynamic energy storage control strategy, which does not require any priori information on the Markov process. In order to address the slow-convergence problem of the -Learning based algorithm, we introduce a Speedy -Learning algorithm. We further discuss the offline optimization problem and obtain the optimal offline solution as the lower bound on the performance of the online and learning theoretic problem. Finally, we evaluate the performance of the proposed scheme by using real workload traces and electricity price data sets. The experimental results show the effectiveness of the proposed scheme.