judgecorp writes: A Microsoft Research project to run a data center underwater was so successful the team actually delivered commercial Azure cloud services from the module, which was 1km off the US Pacific coast for three months. The vessel, dubbed Leona Philpot after a Halo character, is a proof of concept for Project Natick, which proposes small data centers that could be submerged for five years or more, serving coastal communities.
judgecorp writes: Nissan has announced a scheme to re-use batteries from its Leaf cars in systems designed to ease the strain on the electrical grid by shaving peaks in demand and making it easier to integrate renewables. After five years powering a car, a 24kWh battery still has 20kWh charging capacity and can act as local storage for a UPS (from Nissan's partner Eaton). with multiple batteries in use, the system could support an IT room or a small enterprise data center — or deliver a small electric grid to a village in Africa, or anywhere that doesn't have a proper grid.
judgecorp writes: On Monday, 90 percent of Azerbaijan lost Internet access, due to a fire at one data center in Baku, the capital of the former Soviet Republic. Cables caught fire at the Delta Telecom facility, and international providers including NTT and Telecom Italia all lost service for nearly eight hours.
judgecorp writes: UK contractors Balfour Beatty and Norland have been fined £380,000 ($580k) after an electrician was electrocuted while working on a data center owned by finance firm Morgan Stanley. The fine follows mounting concern that safety is being compromised because of the need for data centers to remain online non-stop. This leads to pressure for contractors to work on live power supplies.
judgecorp writes: Data center firm Interxion has been ordered to close a data center in Paris over protests from residents. The local group complained about noise and large quantities of stored diesel fuel at the site, saying that the consultation which allowed it to open in 2012 was flawed. Now Interxion's license has been revoked and it has two months to appeal
judgecorp writes: Bitcoin mining pushes the limits of tech, but in datacenters which are run on a shoestring. Data center writer David Chernicoff visited a barn in Iceland which operates with no physical security, no backup generators and burns 1kW per squre foot of floor space — and compares it with the norm for data centers.
judgecorp writes: The Mobyl Data Center,.designed for the US Department of Defense, puts a data center in a rugged suitcase-sized box, and it will shortly be available commercially. The box includes up to 88 Xeon cores a maximum of 176 GB of RAM, and 2.8 TB of SSD storage with 12TB of hard disk as an option. The system uses credit-card sized MobylPC server units, sealed in epoxy, and rated to survive 300g of shock, but apparently proprietary to the vendor, Arnouse Digital Devices Corp.
judgecorp writes: A proposed revision to the data center efficiency standard will delight the infantile by adding WEE to PUE. Seriously, PUE is widely used to compare data center efficiency, but critics say it is unfairly biased to sites in the Northern Hemisphere which can use evaporative cooling, and ignores the environmental impact of water use by data centers. Simply adding the evaporative energy of water to a measure based on electrical energy will face a lot of opposition however — on various grounds including science and marketing.
judgecorp writes: The Open Compute Project, the Facebook-backed effort to create low-cost open source hardware for data centers has come under fire for a slack testing regime. The criticism was first aired at The Register where an anonymous test engineer described the Projects testing as a 'complete and total joke'. The founding director of the project, Cole Crawford has penned an open letter in reply. The issue seems to be that the testing for standard highly-reliable hardware used by telcos and the like is very thorough and expensive. Some want the OCP to use more rigorous testing to replicate that level of reliability. Crawford argues that web-scale data centers are designed to cope with hardware failures, and 'Tier 1' reliability would be a waste of effort
judgecorp writes: Remember the danger from embedded systems in power stations and other infrastructure — controlled by insecure protocols such as SCADA? The problem could also affect data centers, according to Singapore-based critical systems expert Ed Ansett. The IT kit in data centers may be secure — but it is placed in a building whose heating and power systems, installed by non-IT people, may include unsecured embedded network access. In these sites, the data may be secure, but the systems could be shut down by attackers interfering with temperature controls or power supplies, Ansett warns.
judgecorp writes: A British firm claims that Facebook stole its designs for modular data centers to build its efficient data center in Lulea, Sweden — and then shared them with the whole industry. BladeRoom Group has been making modular power-efficient data centers for some years, and says its technology has distinctive features it developed earlier in work for hospitals and other buildings. Facebook's data center opened last year,using pre-fabricated "flatpack" designs, which have been shared through the Open Compute Project.
judgecorp writes: A Bavarian fish farmer has filed a law suit complaining that a planned data center will kill his trout. Service provider e-shelter plans to build a data center cooled by groundwater, but Anton Kurz says it will warm his water by two degrees Celsius — which is enough to reduce the yield of his fish eggs by increasing the risk of disease. Kurz's lawsuit will be heard on 3 March.
judgecorp writes: Project Exergy promises to reclaim the heat generated in computing by distributing cloud servers to homes and offices where heat is needed. It has an air-cooled prototype, and is about to launch a Kickstarter request for $2 million to build a liquid cooled version. The concept could eliminate the real-estate required for cloud data centers, and heating bills for homes — at least in theory. The New York based Exergy folks have some good ideas, but they should be aware of two European projects promising the same deal: Qarnot in France and Cloud&Heat in Germany.