Tuesday Sep 26, 2006

Am I Dense?

This morning at the pre-CEC meeting, we were addressed Andy Bechtolsheim & Shane Sigler about the planned AMD based systems Sun are will be launching. These systems are very dense, but will run very hot.

In their 2003 paper, "Power & Heat in the Modern Data Center", Gartner argued that the average power & cooling supply for data centre space was too low, and that the common planning assumption for new space would also be too low. Even their predictions seem low three years later given the ultra-dense systems being produced by Sun and its competitors, although Gartner predicted that the system vendors would continue to compete in this way by designing and building ultra dense systems.

Improving density is partly the outcome of Moore's Law which works at about 100% improvement every two years. One obvious answer of course is to drive up utilisation; less computers will be needed. However, the centre of this problem is that the facilities managers who buy the air conditioning and pay the ground rent and electricty bills do not buy the computers. Ignorant Data Center managers just pass the problem on to the facilities team. Smarter Data Centre managers are using space and the power/cooling per rack constraints as budgets. Typically, they use more than the mimium amount of space to host these new hot systems; its the best TCO solution. There are very few computer rooms in the UK that can take these systems. This is equally true of our competitor's systems as well.

This was written after the presentation and has been backdated to roughly the time of occurence.

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