Monthly Archives: April 2013
One of the longest-running mysteries in the data center industry appears to be solved. Facebook is the company behind a $1.5 billion data center project bound for Altoona, Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register. The paper cited “legislative sources” in the report, which follows more than a year in which state and local officials described the company only with the codename Project Catapult. The data center would be Facebook’s fourth company-built project, with the others located in Oregon, North Carolinaand Sweden. It would also be the third major Internet data center project in Iowa, joining a Google facility in Council Bluffs and a Microsoft data center in West Des Moines.
When I first visited Facebook’s data center in Prineville, Ore., in 2011, I felt privileged to spot some figures on the facility’s power-usage effectiveness (PUE) on a screen affixed to a wall. The PUE number, which gives a sense of how much of the energy gets consumed by computing gear, wasn’t exactly what some reporters wanted to know — total number of megawatts would have been better than PUE, and that sort of information came later — but it was a start toward transparency. Now, the PUE data won’t be such a big deal to catch a glimpse of anymore.
Intel is working to replace the traditional server rack with a more efficient architecture that separates CPU, storage, power, and networking resources into individual components that can be swapped out as needed. Power and cooling would be shared across CPUs, rather than having separate power supplies for each server. Server, memory, network, and storage resources would all be disaggregated and shared across the rack. Incredibly fast interconnects will be needed to prevent slowdowns because disaggregating components pushes them further apart, and Intel is thus building an interconnect that’s capable of 100Gbps.
Intel is just a few months away from production of new chips targeting the microserver market, and more powerful chips for other applications are on the way, Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s data center and connected systems group, is expected to say at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing on Tuesday.
Just two short years after Facebook open sourced the design of its data centers its open hardware is starting to spread. Under the Open Compute Project (OCP), Facebook and its partners are committed to developing and sharing designs for compute, storage and general data center infrastructure — not just the servers themselves, but the chassis and racks they sit in and their associated power and cooling.