It's not an entirely new story, but the author, Tom Vanderbilt, sounds like he was able to take a look inside to an extent that's fairly rare--as companies keep their data centers under deep wraps. He describes the Mission Impossible-worthy biometric scans and series of "sensor-laden multidoor man traps" necessary before entering a Microsoft data center in Washington that is one of the worldwide hubs for Xbox Live. And thankfully he took a photographer with him--the photos from inside are stunning.
Other great tidbits:
• For a normal building, infrastructure costs are usually below 10 percent of the total upfront price. For a data center like the one in Washington, it's 82 percent, meaning the building itself is effectively a giant computer itself.
• Data centers around the world now consume more energy than Sweden, as a whole. An estimated one to two percent of the world's total electrical output.
• This amazing quotation from Michael Manos, a former Microsoft data-center services GM, on data centers using modular shipping containers packed with servers:
"You can literally walk into that building on the first floor and you'd be hard pressed to tell that building apart from a truck-logistics depot. Once the containers get on site, we plug in power, water, network connectivity, and the boxes inside wake up, figure out which property group they belong to and start imaging themselves. There's very little need for people."
Every work of science fiction has its own omnipresent alternative resource industry--moisture farms, spice mines, what have you; It's clear that the data center's networked processing power is our equivalent here in the real world, today.
How can we reduce the energy use of these stations and still have an effective product?
Wow, so they just plug these monster computers into the network and they automatically configure themselves?
the datacenters are truly amazing inside. The biometrics required to enter aren't just in the movies, either. really cool stuff.
The lighting shown in the pictures is unusually bright, though. No matter what's being used for lighting, unless the cooling is in the rack, a lot of cooling is being wasted on the heat from the lights.
Looks very professional data center, wish that I can work in this great place.
can i have my own supercomputer how much does one cost?