Archive For The “Hardware” Category

Example of Efficient Mechanical Design

Example of Efficient Mechanical Design

A bit more than a year back, I published Computer Room Evaporative Cooling where I showed an evaporative cooling design from EcoCooling. Periodically, Alan Beresford sends me designs he’s working on. This morning he sent me a design they are working on for a 7MW data center in Ireland. I like the design for a…

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Intel Atom with ECC in 2012

Back in early 2008, I noticed an interesting phenomena: some workloads run more cost effectively on low-cost, low-power processors. The key observation behind this phenomena is that CPU bandwidth consumption is going up faster than memory bandwidth. Essentially, it’s a two part observation: 1) many workloads are memory bandwidth bound and will not run faster…

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More Data on Datacenter Air Side Economization

Two of the highest leverage datacenter efficiency improving techniques currently sweeping the industry are: 1) operating at higher ambient temperatures (http://perspectives.mvdirona.com/2011/02/27/ExploringTheLimitsOfDatacenterTemprature.aspx) and air-side economization with evaporative cooling (http://perspectives.mvdirona.com/2010/05/15/ComputerRoomEvaporativeCooling.aspx). The American Society of Heating and Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) currently recommends that servers not be operated at inlet temperatures beyond 81F. Its super common to…

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Yahoo! Compute Coop Design

Yahoo! Compute Coop Design

Chris Page, Director of Climate & Energy Strategy at Yahoo! spoke at the 2010 Data Center Efficiency Summit and presented Yahoo! Compute Coop Design. The primary attributes of the Yahoo! design are: 1) 100% free air cooling (no chillers), 2) slab concrete floor, 3) use of wind power to augment air handling units, and 4)…

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Exploring the Limits of Datacenter Temprature

Datacenter temperature has been ramping up rapidly over the last 5 years. In fact, leading operators have been pushing temperatures up so quickly that the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning recommendations have become a become trailing indicator of what is being done rather than current guidance. ASHRAE responded in January of 2009 by…

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Speeding Up Cloud/Server Applications With Flash Memory

Speeding Up Cloud/Server Applications With Flash Memory

Last week, Sudipta Sengupta of Microsoft Research dropped by the Amazon Lake Union campus to give a talk on the flash memory work that he and the team at Microsoft Research have been doing over the past year. Its super interesting work. You may recall Sudipta as one of the co-authors on the VL2 Paper…

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NVIDIA Project Denver: ARM Powered Servers

NVIDIA has been an ARM licensee for quite some time now. Back in 2008 they announced Tegra, an embedded client processor including an ARM core and NVIDIA graphics aimed at smartphones and mobile handsets. 10 days ago, they announced Project Denver where they are building high-performance ARM-based CPUs, designed to power systems ranging from “personal…

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GPGPU Sorting

Years ago I incorrectly believed special purpose hardware was a bad idea. What was a bad idea is high-markup, special purpose devices sold at low volume, through expensive channels. Hardware implementations are often best value measured in work done per dollar and work done per joule. The newest breed of commodity networking parts from Broadcom,…

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46MW with Water Cooling at a PUE of 1.10

46MW with Water Cooling at a PUE of 1.10

Achieving a PUE of 1.10 is a challenge under any circumstances but the vast majority of facilities that do approach this mark are using air-side economization. Essentially using outside air to cool the facility. Air-side economization brings some complexities such as requiring particulate filters and being less effective in climates that are both hot and…

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Very Low-Cost, Low-Power Servers

Very Low-Cost, Low-Power Servers

I’m interested in low-cost, low-power servers and have been watching the emerging market for these systems since 2008 when I wrote CEMS: Low-Cost, Low-Power Servers for Internet Scale Services (paper, talk). ZT Systems just announced the R1081e, a new ARM-based server with the following specs: · STMicroelectronics SPEAr 1310 with dual ARM® Cortex™-A9 cores ·…

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Datacenter Networks are in my Way

Datacenter Networks are in my Way

I did a talk earlier this week on the sea change currently taking place in datacenter networks. In Datacenter Networks are in my Way I start with an overview of where the costs are in a high scale datacenter. With that backdrop, we note that networks are fairly low power consumers relative to the total…

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Energy Proportional Datacenter Networks

Energy Proportional Datacenter Networks

A couple of weeks back Greg Linden sent me an interesting paper called Energy Proportional Datacenter Networks. The principal of energy proportionality was first coined by Luiz Barroso and Urs Hölzle in an excellent paper titled The Case for Energy-Proportional Computing. The core principal behind energy proportionality is that computing equipment should consume power in…

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Long tailed workloads and the return of hierarchical storage management

Long tailed workloads and the return of hierarchical storage management

Hierarchical storage management (HSM) also called tiered storage management is back but in a different form. HSM exploits the access pattern skew across data sets by placing cold, seldom accessed data on slow cheap media and frequently accessed data on fast near media. In old days, HSM typically referred to system mixing robotically managed tape…

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SeaMicro Releases Innovative Intel Atom Server

SeaMicro Releases Innovative Intel Atom Server

I’ve been talking about the application low-power, low-cost processors to server workloads for years starting with The Case for Low-Cost, Low-Power Servers. Subsequent articles get into more detail: Microslice Servers, Low-Power Amdahl Blades for Data Intensive Computing, and Successfully Challenging the Server Tax Single dimensional measures of servers like “performance” without regard to server cost…

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When Very Low-Power, Low-Cost Servers Don’t Make Sense

When Very Low-Power, Low-Cost Servers Don’t Make Sense

I am excited by very low power, very low cost servers and the impact they will have on our industry. There are many workloads where CPU is in excess and lower power and lower cost servers are the right answer. These are workloads that don’t fully exploit the capabilities of the underlying server. For these…

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Computer Room Evaporative Cooling

Computer Room Evaporative Cooling

I recently came across a nice data center cooling design by Alan Beresford of EcoCooling Ltd. In this approach, EcoCooling replaces the CRAC units with a combined air mover, damper assembly, and evaporative cooler. I’ve been interested by evaporative coolers and their application to data center cooling for years and they are becoming more common…

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