X-MAN: A Non-Intrusive Power Manager for Energy-Adaptive Cloud-Native Network Functions

Zuo Xiang, Malte Howeler, Dongho You, Martin Reisslein, Frank H.P. Fitzek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Emerging microservices demand flexible low-latency processing of network functions in virtualized environments, e.g., as containerized network functions (CNFs). While ensuring highly responsive low-latency CNF processing, the computing environments should conserve energy to reduce costs. In this systems integration study, we develop and evaluate the novel XDP-Monitoring Energy-Adaptive Network Functions (X-MAN) framework for managing the CPU operational states (P-states) so as to reduce the power consumption while prioritizing low-latency service. Architecturally, X-MAN consists of lightweight traffic monitors that are attached to the virtual network interfaces in the kernel space for per-CNF traffic monitoring and a power manager in user space with a global view of the CNFs on a CPU core. Algorithmically, X-MAN monitors the CPU core utilization via hybrid simple and weighted moving average prediction fed by the traffic monitors and a power management based on step-based CPU core frequency (P-state) adjustments. We evaluate X-MAN through extensive measurements in a real physical testbed operating at up to 10 Gbps. We find that X-MAN incurs significantly shorter and more consistent monitoring latencies for the CPU utilization than a state-of-the-art CPU hardware counter approach. Also, X-MAN achieves more responsive CPU core frequency adjustments and more pronounced reductions of the CPU power consumption than a state-of-the-art code instrumentation approach. We make the X-MAN source code publicly available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1017-1035
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • CPU P-state
  • Containerized network function (CNF)
  • express data path (XDP)
  • load monitoring
  • microservice
  • network testbed
  • power management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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