Harvesting Big Data: How Farm Fields Boost Data Center Demand

Harvesting Big Data: How Farm Fields Boost Data Center Demand

Data is everywhere. PureSense provides apps and tools for farmers to manage and automate irrigation. The company is expanding its data center to accommodate 14 terabytes of data and 4 billion data records.

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A monitoring system from PureSense tracks conditions in a field of crops. The company recently expanded its data center to add more capacity for data storage. (Photo: PureSense)

Those fields of crops you drive past out in the country could be generating data center demand. PureSense, which provides "irrigation intelligence" for farmers to manage and automate irrigation systems to improve crop yields, is expanding its data center to accommodate 14 terabytes of data and 4 billion data records.

Data is permeating everything we do. The "Internet of things" and "big data" are oft-used term these days, but PureSense is a specific example of how data is being generated all around us. Irrigation isn't something that we would necessarily think generates terabytes of data. Watering crops is filling up servers.

PureSense uses technology to helps farmers boost the yield for their crops. The company deploys monitoring systems to gather data on soil moisture and the flow of irrigation systems. The data is analyzed and used to optimize irrigation scheduling, which can then be automated and managed remotely. The company's equipment provides real-time monitoring for more than 4,000 fields in the western United States. When you have real-time reporting, you need uptime.

"We decided a year ago that given our growth, we needed to upgrade our data center to assure uninterrupted services in hosting our online data management and software services for our customers,” said David Termondt, CEO of PureSense. “Based on the problems our competitors' customers have experienced in having reliable access to their information, we believe that this is a substantial differentiator for us in the market."

The company is touting the data center as a way to convey value to its customers. The 4 billion plus data records in its databases are available with sub-second (300 ms) response times on queries. The new data center offers redundant application server hardware with instant local failover capability. The company uses RAID 5 and 10 with hot spare drives so no data is lost in the case of a drive failure.

"This project has been a great opportunity to re-architect our hosting services to higher levels of redundancy and reliability," says Ryan McNeish, Senior Director of Engineering for PureSense.  "Since completing the upgrade, our hosting and data management services have only been offline for routine maintenance events resulting in a 99.7% up-time. We're excited about the opportunity to improve our data center and to be assured that we are ready to meet the needs of our customers as we continue to grow."

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