The 10 Most Popular Data Center Articles of 2012

It was an extraordinary year for the data center sector, as reflected in the stories that our readers found the most compelling in 2012. That included Data Center Knowledge’s coverage of major events (the Olympics), major disasters (Sandy), major outages, and major trends in designs. Even physics genius Dr. Stephen Hawking made a cameo. And then there was Google, which featured in four of the 10 most popular stories on DCK in 2012. Here’s a list of the top 10 stories of the year, ranked by page views.

An illustration of a proposed “community-based” data center in Minnetonka, Minnesota (Image: Keith Waters & Associates).

Data Center That Mimics a Mansion: We’ve seen a lot of unusual data center designs over the years. But on Jan. 20 we profiled a new one: a luxury homebuilder in Minnesota wants to build a data center that appears to be a mansion, allowing the commercial building to fit into a residential neighborhood. The $30 million facility is the brainchild of  FiberPop, a local startup that wants to build a chain of “community-based data centers.” The building features a stone facade, sloped roof with dormers and plans for trees and landscaping – as well as an underground data center “bunker” and offices for FiberPop’s staff.

Massive Flooding Damages Several NYC Data Centers (Oct. 30):  Readers flocked to DCK for updates after flooding from Hurricane Sandy hobbled a handful of data center buildings in Lower Manhattan, taking out diesel fuel pumps used to refuel generators. There were also reports of outages for some tenants at a major data hub at 111 8th Avenue, and many other New York area facilities were running on generator power amid widespread utility outages. Data Center Knowledge tracked the regional impact of Sandy on a daily basis, and summarized our coverage here: In Sandy’s Aftermath, Epic Challenges for Data Centers.

How Go Daddy Keeps 52 Million Domains Humming (April 17) You may know Go Daddy primarily for its edgy and humorous Super Bowl ads. But when it comes to the Internet infrastructure supporting the 52 million domain names it manages, Go Daddy is all business. “We handle 10 billion DNS queries a day,” said Go Daddy CEO Warren Adelman. “A good chunk of the Internet resolves because of us.” In April we took DCK readers inside Go Daddy’s global network of data centers and points of presence (PoPs). Our coverage got much wider attention in September, when a DNS outage at Go Daddy left millions of customer sites unreachable.

How Google Cools Its Armada of Servers (Oct 17): Google has shared some of its best practices over the years, but other parts of its data center operations have remained under wraps. One of the best-kept secrets has been the details of its cooling system, which allows Google to pack tens of thousands of servers into racks. Google Senior Director of Data Centers Joe Kava discussed the design of its cooling system with Data Center Knowledge in connection with the company’s publication of a photo gallery and a StreetView app that provide Google’s millions of users with a look inside its data centers. If you’re one of those data center managers who worries about having water in close proximity to the IT equipment, Google’s approach might make you nervous.

Hawking is First User of ‘Big Brain’ Supercomputer (June 14): Calling your product the “Big Brain Computer” is a heady claim. It helps if you have Dr. Stephen Hawking say that the product can help unlock the secrets of the universe. That’s the scenario for UV2 “Big Brain” computer from SGI, which was unveiled in mid-June for the International Supercomputing Conference. The company is billing the UV2 as the world’s largest shared memory system, with the ability to scale up to 4,096 cores and 64 terabytes of memory. At a peak I/O rate of four terabytes per second, SGI says the UV 2 could ingest the entire 10 terabyte contents of the U.S. Library of Congress in less than three seconds.That’s the kind of horsepower that got the attention of Hawking, the renowned theoretical physicist and author of A Brief History of Time.

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