The Altoona (Iowa) facility is the first in Facebook’s fleet to feature a building-wide network fabric – an entirely new way to do intra-data center networking the company’s infrastructure engineers have devised.
The social network is moving away from the approach of arranging servers into multiple massive compute clusters within a building and interconnecting them with each other. Altoona has a single network fabric whose scalability is limited only by the building’s physical size and power capacity.
As America’s retailers struggle to keep up with online shopping, the Internet is starting to settle into some of the very spaces where brick-and-mortar customers used to shop. The shift brings welcome tenants to some abandoned stretches of the suburban landscape, though it doesn’t replace all the jobs and sales-tax revenue that local communities lost when stores left the building.
Venyu Solutions LLC, a data-center operator that is renovating the former department store in Jackson, sees more opportunity for conversion because of sheer amount of distressed retail properties. “Who else wants them?” said Brian Vandegrift, the company’s executive vice president of sales. “You’re not competing with people in substantial businesses who want those spaces.”
Google has spent more than $1 billion to buy and renovate a former paper mill in Finland that can store its user data. Nestled in the caves of a Norwegian mountain, a regional IT company uses a facility built by a local investment group and cooled by a fjord. Microsoft says it will spend $250 million to construct a data center in Finland to manage its cloud services, as part of its agreement to acquire Nokia’s device business. In Luleå, a city of 50,000 on the banks of the Lule less than 70 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Facebook fired up a 300,000-square-foot data center last year.
Google, an early convert to Puppet, uses its products to rapidly update the software running servers and employee PCs. So does music-streaming service Spotify. On servers or PCs, “it would have been impossible to grow and manage the Spotify infrastructure without a configuration management tool like Puppet,” says company engineer Johan Haals. GE Capital uses Chef to manage its servers and network switches, and chief engineer Justin Arbuckle says he can use it to distribute a new app across a network in a couple of hours. “In the past, it would have literally taken weeks and weeks,” he says.
"We have brought the storage into the cluster, and we have
commoditized it," says Ting, and this is why the US government,
financial services firms, healthcare companies, and educational
institutions are running a lot of proofs of concepts with the NX-3000
series of appliances.
About 25 per cent of the iron is going to Uncle Sam, which is in many
cases putting server clusters into vehicles to get image and signal
processing at command posts or into the field in Humvees, in some cases.
Virtual desktop infrastructure was the obvious early-use case for
Nutanix machines, and it is still driving a lot of deals, but Ting says
the company is seeing companies dump Microsoft workloads such as
Exchange Server and SQL Server on the boxes, and has just closed a deal
this month with a Global 2000-class company for 1,500 server nodes to
run an analytics workload."
Nice summary of the innovations Microsoft has implemented in data center design, energy and water sources and efficiencies over the last decade. I cataloged Microsoft’s data center efficiencies in The New Polymath, and Facebook’s and Google’s in The New Technology Elite, and it may be time to revisit Microsoft for my next book especially specific to energy innovations from the blog:
Biomass generation project in Europe that would operate on waste fuel
Large photovoltaic solar project in the Southwestern U.S.
Fuel cell installation that would improve reliability and eliminate the need for back-up diesel generators in situations where the power grid goes down
Combined heat and power (CHP) projects that capture waste heat for reuse
Too late for the current Colorado mess (false color satellite image below), but the US Forest Service is finally upgrading its firefighting fleet which averages 50+ years of service. The new planes including the Neptune BAe-146 in photo will be “turbine powered, can carry a minimum of 2,400 gallons of retardant, and have a cruise speed of at least 300 knots when fully loaded. “
In addition the Forest Service has plans to acquire 6,000 SPOT devices which are “rugged, pocket-sized satellite-based personal trackers that work in places where cell phones and two way radios fail.”
Photo Credit Digital Globe - Overview of the High Park Fire near Fort Collins, Colorado. In this image, red areas are healthy vegetation, blue areas are burnt and white is fire smoke