Differential Power Processing for Ultra-Efficient Data Storage

Ping Wang, Yenan Chen, Jing Yuan, Robert C.N. Pilawa-Podgurski, Minjie Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This article presents the hardware, software, and power codesign of an ultra-efficient data storage server with differential power processing (DPP). DPP can reduce the power conversion stress, improve the efficiency, and enhance the functionality of modular power electronics systems. The power inputs of a large number of hard disk drives (HDDs) were connected in series and supported by a multiport ac-coupled differential power processing (MAC-DPP) converter through a multiwinding transformer. Methods for controlling the multi-input multi-output power flow in the multiwinding transformer while avoiding core saturation were investigated. A ten-port MAC-DPP prototype with 700-W/in3 power density was built to support a 450-W HDD storage system with ten series-stacked voltage domains. The prototype was tested on a 50-HDD server testbench, and the overall system loss is below 1 W (99.77% system efficiency). The server was able to maintain high-speed reading and writing operation of all 50 HDDs against the worst hot-swapping scenarios. A variety of hardware/software configurations and many cloud storage techniques were tested on the fully functioning server. Experimental results show that the energy efficiency of large-scale information systems (CPU/GPU clusters, memory banks, HDD arrays, etc.) can be greatly improved by software, hardware, and power codesign.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9187407
Pages (from-to)4269-4286
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Electronics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Data center
  • differential power processing (DPP)
  • distributed control
  • energy-efficient computing
  • multiport converter
  • multiwinding transformer


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