Top 5 Data Center Stories, Week of Nov. 16

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For your weekend reading, here’s a recap of five noteworthy stories that appeared on Data Center Knowledge this past week. Enjoy!

Top 10 Supercomputers, Illustrated (November 2012) - The twice-a-year list of the Top 500 supercomputers documents the most powerful systems on the planet. Many of these supercomputers are striking not just for their processing power, but for their design and appearance as well. Here’s a look at the top finishers in the latest Top 500 list, which was released Monday at the SC12 supercomputing conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Facebook Servers Get Hotter, But Run Fine in the South – Facebook has been able to cool its servers through the North Carolina summer using only fresh air and no mechanical refrigeration, the company said today, even on days when the temperature reached 102 degrees. The key to the cooling breakthrough was raising the temperature inside the Facebook data center, allowing servers to run at an inlet temperature of 85 degrees F. That’s about five degrees warmer than Facebook’s data center in Prineville, Oregon, where the company pioneered a design that relies 100 percent on using outside air to cool its servers.

Microsoft’s Methane-Powered Module: A First Step Towards Data Plants – Microsoft has begun the first phase of its ambitious plan to place data centers alongside sources of renewable energy, creating “data plants” than operate with no connection to the utility power grid. The company is preparing to deploy a data center container filled with servers next to a water treatment plant in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and power the servers using electricity from a fuel cell running on methane biogas from the plant.

Google ‘Guts’ Oregon Data Center to Upgrade Power – Google recently “gutted” the electrical infrastructure of its data centers in The Dalles, Oregon to upgrade it for more powerful servers. The rip-and-replace was done in phases, according to Joe Kava, Vice President – Data Centers at Google.

Are Low PUE Ratings Hitting Their Limit? – The data center industry’s push for ever-better energy efficiency has become a tale of two PUEs. There’s the exceptional Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) scores being reported by companies like Google and Facebook that design their own custom servers. And then there are the slightly higher PUEs available to the best multi-tenant data centers and enterprise customers with complex infrastructure.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.