Abstract—Numerous studies have shown that datacenter networks typically see loads of between 5 % – 25 % but the energy draw of these networks is equal to operating them at maximum load. In this paper, we propose a novel way to make these networks more energy proportional – that is, the energy draw scales with the network load. We propose the idea of traffic aggregation, in which low traffic from N links is combined together to create H < N streams of high traffic. These streams are fed to H switch interfaces which run at maximum rate while the remaining interfaces are switched to the lowest possible one. We show that this merging can be accomplished with minimal latency and energy costs (less than 0.1W) while simultaneously allowing us a deterministic way of switching link rates between maximum and minimum. Using simulations based on previously developed traffic models, we show that 49 % energy savings are obtained for 5 % of the load while we get an energy savings of 22 % for a 50 % load. Hence, forasmuch as the packet losses are statistically insignificant, the results show that energy-proportional datacenter networks are indeed possible. I
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