These aren’t necessarily practical, but someday I would like to see:
1. An application that monitors data center infrastructure and shows in real-time how a facility’s resources are being consumed. I want to see power consumption, temperatures and airflow patterns, connections between devices, CPU utilization, occupied rack space and even weight loads on the floor. As new hardware needs to be installed, I want the application to recommend the most efficient place to add future gear – much like a chess program can recommend your best move in a game.
2. The capability to shift processing load among multiple data centers around the world, so energy is consumed at whichever facility has the best conditions at that time. Move demand to a site where it is nighttime and power prices are low or a facility where alternative energy source is temporarily available.
3. Wireless connectivity. Do away with all of the patch cords and structured cabling used in data centers.
4. Computing on demand. Idle servers consume a lot of energy without doing any useful work. Keep those systems completely powered down until they’re needed.
What are some of the interesting facts you discovered while writing The Art of the Data Center?
I’ll touch on three:
Phoenix is a pretty good place for data centers. It’s not the first location that comes to mind for most people because it gets so hot, but two of the sites I profile are there. One of the facilities even employs outside air for cooling, which flies in the face of the assumption that you need a chilly climate to use that technology.
Streamlining data center infrastructure not only cuts costs but perhaps downtime, too. Many companies assume you need more physical infrastructure to achieve greater availability, but more than one data center designer I interviewed said doing away with infrastructure can be helpful because there are then fewer components to fail.
With a bit of planning, you can build a great data center almost anywhere. A concrete silo, former water bottling factory and deconsecrated church are just some of the interesting places where the data centers in my book are housed.
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