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Category: Data Centers

Power budgets for computing resources – portable and stationary

A cellphone or tablet is a fanless device. So is the 12″ Macbook. That means you can do whatever is possible at any point in time within a TDP of approximately 5W.

Here is the power consumption of my cellphone over a 12h period. The scale on the left is mW, down is discharge, up is recharge (plugged in). It’s basically limited to 5W, and that only for short periods of time.

Cellphone power over time. Green bar = plugged in. Yellow bar = Screen on.

These devices also have batteries, and when they are running on batteries, they need to be sleeping most of the time and have their display off. Whenever they are not dark and/or sleeping, they drain the battery, fast.

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Every Conversation ever held

So, let’s do this again, but this time cleanly. In a Facebook Post, Michael Seemann has been explaining why the Facebook App does not listen to every word you ever say, all of the time.

He is right. A telephone is a device with limited power supply, limited cooling and limited, metered connectivity. It has an operating system that monitors and manages these critical resources, hard. You can’t listen to things all of the time and expect not to be noticed. Like, “the battery is empty and my LTE budget is gone” noticed.

Other devices, an Alexa, a Sonos One or a Google Home, are on cabled power and unmetered Wifi. The could theoretically get away with listening all of the time.

So how much data is that? Let’s do the math.

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The missing standard for Datacenter Space…

20th century dross

There is a very nice talk by John Laban on the accumulation of cruft and old style features in how we are currently building data centers. Being an advocate for the Open Compute Foundation, Laban is an advocate for OCP, which at the core has several ideas.

One of them being the vision of a Data Center Room, Rack and Machine as a system that are depending on each other in construction.

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How The Internet Kept Humming During 2 Hurricanes

The New York Times has a nice article about Data Center Infrastructure vs. Hurricanes, suitable for muggles.

Yet another data center, west of Houston, was so well prepared for the storm — with backup generators, bunks and showers — that employees’ displaced family members took up residence and United States marshals used it as a headquarters until the weather passed.

“It wasn’t Noah’s ark, but it was darn close,” said Rob Morris, managing partner and co-founder of Skybox, the company that runs the center.

 

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From Data Centers to Computronium and Riding Light

So at work we discussed Data Center Design at scale, and then things got out of hand. We ended up discussing Computronium, a hypothetical stuff  that basically is a piece of thinking matter, performing computation, the ultimate composable piece of hardware.

Computronium is a problem, though. You can’t just cover the planet in a crunchy Computronium crust – not only because the Hotels have to go somewhere. But also, because whatever thickness of Computronium you propose, it has to be powered somehow.

Ultimately, it has to be powered by the amount of energy hitting us from the sun. So there is likely a Dyson sphere behind the earth or elsewhere, collecting even more energy from the sun and sending it into the Computronium.

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Monitoring – the data you have and the data you want

So you are running systems in production and you want to collect data from your systems. You need to build a monitoring system.

That won’t work and it won’t scale. So please stop for a moment, and think.

What kind of monitoring do you want do build? I know at least three different types of monitoring system, and they have very different objectives, and consequently designs.

Three types of Monitoring Systems

The first and most important system you want to have is checking for incidents. This Type 1 monitoring is basically a transactional monitoring system:

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AMS-IX CEO leaves

AMS-IX press release: »After 17.5 years, Job Witteman will leave AMS-IX as of October 1st. Job Witteman, who was the founder of the world’s largest internet exchange, will leave at the peak of development of the company, […]«

and

»AMS-IX has grown to be the world’s largest internet exchange, having now more than 900 customers, operating 7 internet platforms globally and a peak of internet traffic of 5.5 Tbps. In addition, AMS-IX is considered by the Dutch Government as the third main port, together with Schiphol Airport and the port of Rotterdam. This shows that the ongoing development of the digital sector and infrastructure is taken seriously.«

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An abundance of IOPS and Zero Jitter

Two weeks ago, I wrote about The Data Center in the Age of Abundance and claimed that IOPS are – among other things – a solved problem.

What does a solved problem look like? Here is a benchmark running 100k random writes of 4K per second, with zero Jitter, at 350µs end-to-end write latency across six switches.

Databases really like reliably timed writes like these.

Maximum queue depth would be 48, the system is not touching that.

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Threads vs. Watts

So I have been testing, again.

My hapless test subject this time is a Dell Box, an R630.

It has a comfortable 384GB of memory, one of two 25 GBit/s ports active, and it comes with two E5-2690v4 CPUs. That gives it 14 cores per die, 28 cores in total, or with hyperthreading, 56 threads.

$ cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep 'model name' | uniq -c
56 model name : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2690 v4 @ 2.60GHz
$ ./mprime -v
Mersenne Prime Test Program: Linux64,Prime95,v28.10,build 1
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