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Submission + - As Cloud Growth Booms, Server Farms Get Super-Sized ->

1sockchuck writes: Internet titans are concentrating massive amounts of computing power in regional cloud campuses housing multiple data centers. These huge data hubs, often in rural communities, enable companies to rapidly add server capacity and electric power amid rapid growth of cloud hosting and social sharing. As this growth continues, we'll see more of these cloud campuses, and they’ll be bigger than the ones we see today. Some examples from this month: Google filed plans for a mammoth 800,000 square foot data center near Atlanta, Equinix announced 1 million square feet of new data centers on its campus in Silicon Valley, and Facebook began work on a $1 billion server farm in Texas that will span 750,000 square feet.
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Submission + - The IT Containers That Went to War->

1sockchuck writes: Parachuting a container full of IT gear into a war zone is challenging enough. In the mountains of Afghanistan, helicopters had to deliver modular data centers in three minutes or less, lest the choppers be targeted by Taliban rockets. UK vendor Cannon recently spoke with DataCenterDynamics, sharing some of the extreme challenges and lessons learned from deploying portable data centers for military units in deserts and mountains.
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Submission + - Supercomputing Cluster Immersed in Oil Yields Extreme Efficiency->

1sockchuck writes: A new supercomputing cluster immersed in tanks of dielectric fluid has posted extreme efficiency ratings. The Vienna Scientific Cluster 3 combines several efficiency techniques to create a system that is stingy in its use of power, cooling and water. VSC3 recorded a PUE (Power Usage Efficiency) of 1.02, putting it in the realm of data centers run by Google and Facebook. The system avoids the use of chiillers and air handlers, and doesn't require any water to cool the fluid in the cooling tanks. Limiting use of water is a growing priority for data center operators, as cooling towers can use large volumes of water resources. The VSC3 system packs 600 teraflops of computing power into 1,000 square feet of floor space.
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Submission + - Where Facebook Stores 900 Million New Photos Per Day->

1sockchuck writes: Facebook faces unique storage challenges. Its users upload 900 million new images daily, most of which are only viewed for a couple of days. The social network has built specialized cold storage facilities to manage these rarely-accessed photos. Data Center Frontier goes inside this facility, providing a closer look at Facebook's newest strategy: Using thousands of Blu-Ray disks to store images, complete with a robotic retrieval system (see video demo). Others are interested as well. Sony recently acquired a Blu-Ray storage startup founded by Open Compute chairman Frank Frankovsky, which hopes to drive enterprise adoption of optical data storage.
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Submission + - BitFury Seeks to Alter Bitcoin Mining Economics With Immersion Cooling->

1sockchuck writes: One of Bitcoin’s biggest players is turning to immersion cooling to address the shifting economics of cryptocurrency mining. BitFury Group will acquire immersion cooling specialist Allied Control, which created a high-density bitcoin mine in a Hong Kong skyscraper. The mining chips will be immersed in a cooling fluid that boils at a low temperature. As the chips generate heat, the fluid boils off, removing the heat as it changes from liquid to gas. It allows ASICs to operate without fans, which are typically among the largest components of a bitcoin mining rig. BitFury will house its new ASICs immersion tanks in Allied Control's DataTank containers, which can be deployed near sources of cheap power or renewable energy.
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Submission + - Why The Bitcoin Price Collapse is a Headache for Data Center Providers->

1sockchuck writes: As the price of bitcoin plunges, there’s a major shakeout underway in bitcoin cloud mining, with some firms shutting down or halting payouts to customers, while others are shifting their business models. The fallout is being felt by data center operators who leased space to large mining operations, prompting one provider to sue a bitcoin customer for millions of dollars in unpaid hosting costs.
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Submission + - Liquid Cooling on the Rise as Data Centers Crunch Bigger Data->

1sockchuck writes: The use of liquid cooling will accelerate in the next five years, according to experts in high performance computing, who cite the data-crunching requirements of scientific research, cloud computing, bitcoin and "big data" analytics. “In the HPC world, everything will move to liquid cooling,” said Paul Arts, technical director of Eurotech. But there's still plenty of resistance from data center operators wary of bringing liquid near servers, and cost is also an issue. Liquid cooling can offer significant savings over the life of a project, but the up-front installation cost can be higher than those for air-cooled systems. Immersion cooling has gotten a surprise boost from the rise of bitcoin, including a large bitcoin mine inside a Hong Kong high-rise.
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Submission + - Why Supercomputing Matters: At SC14, A Focus on Benefits of HPC->

1sockchuck writes: America’s high-performance computing (HPC) community faces funding challenges and growing competition from China and other countries. At last week's SC14 conference, leading researchers focused on outlining the societal benefits of their work, and how it touches the daily lives of Americans. “When we talk at these conferences, we tend to talk to ourselves,” said Wilf Pinfold, director of research and advanced technology development at Intel Federal. “We don’t do a good job communicating the importance of what we do to a broader community." Why the focus on messaging? Funding for American supercomputing has been driven by the U.S. government, which is in a transition with implications for HPC funding. As ComputerWorld notes, climate change skepticTed Cruz is rumored to be in line to chair a Senate committee that oversees NASA and the NSF.
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Submission + - Can the Sun Power the Cloud? The Solar-Powered Server Farm at Scale->

1sockchuck writes: A massive solar array in central New Jersey provides the daytime power for a server farm delivering online financial services for McGraw Hill. The 50-acre field of photovoltaic solar panels symbolizes a new phase in the use of renewable energy in data centers. Massive arrays can now provide tens of megawatts of solar power for companies (including Apple) that can afford the land and the expense. But some data center thought leaders argue that these huge fields are more about marketing than genuinely finding the best approach to a greener cloud.
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Submission + - The Home Data Center: ManCave for the Internet Age->

1sockchuck writes: It's the ultimate manifestation of the “server hugger” — the home data center featuring IT equipment installed in closets, basements and garages. What motivates these folks? Some use their gear for test-driving new equipment, others for lightweight web hosting or just as the ultimate technology ManCave. They all share a passion for technology that can't be contained by the traditional data center. What are the challenges of running IT gear in your home? Read about these setups, and share your own.
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Submission + - The Data Dome: A Server Farm in a Geodesic Dome ->

1sockchuck writes: In a unique approach to data center design, the new high-performance computing center in Oregon is housed in a geodesic dome. The new facility at the Oregon Health and Science University requires no mechanical air conditioning, using outside air to racks of servers reaching densities of 25kW per cabinet. The design uses an aisle containment system to separate hot and cold air, and can recirculate server exhaust heat to adjust cold aisle temperatures in the winter. It's a very cool integration of many recent advances in data center design, combining elements of the Yahoo Chicken Coop and server silo in Quebec. The school has posted a virtual tour that provides a deep technical dive.
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Submission + - Inside BitFury's 20 Megawatt Bitcoin Mine->

1sockchuck writes: Bitcoin hardware vendor BitFury has opened a 20-megawatt data center to expand its cloud mining operations. The hashing center in the Republic of Georgia is filled with long rows of racks packed with specialized Bitcoin mining rigs powered by ASICs. It's the latest example of the Bitcoin industry's development of high-density, low-budget mining facilities optimized for rapid changes in hardware and economics. It also illustrates how ASIC makers are now expanding their focus from retail sales to their in-house operations as Bitcoin mining becomes industrialized.
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Submission + - Huge Bitcoin Mines Spring up in Warehouses, Some Data Centers Remain Wary

1sockchuck writes: What will the future of Bitcoin infrastructure look like? The Bitcoin mining craze is driving the creation of "hashing centers" — huge high-density, low-budget mining facilities optimized for rapid changes in hardware and economics. These mining facilities are often built in old warehouses, and house servers on shelving from hardware stores, skipping the expensive power backup equipment found in most commercial data centers. This poses a challenge for service providers, who love big customers but are wary of the Bitcoin sector and its economics, incouding the focus on short-term contracts. Some data centers are adapting, deploying space optimized for crypto miners, with the network and cooling systems on UPS, but not the power supplies.

Submission + - Data Center With A Brain: Google Using Machine Learning in Server Farms->

1sockchuck writes: Google has begun using machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze the oceans of data it collects about its server farms and recommend ways to improve them. Google data center executive Joe Kava said the use of neural networks will allow Google to reach new frontiers in efficiency in its server farms, moving beyond what its engineers can see and analyze. Google's data centers aren't yet ready to drive themselves. But the new tools have been able to predict Google’s data center performance with 99.96 percent accuracy.
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Submission + - The Music of the Data Center ->

1sockchuck writes: Server fan noise may be a nuisance for people working inside data centers, but for a sound artist, the seemingly monotone humming and hissing can be a complex multitimbral source of inspiration. Composer Matt Parker visits data centers around Europe, records their sounds and turns them into minimalist electronic music.
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