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Of Shredders and Servers

July 20, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

How long do you expect your electronic gadgets to work for you?  Not necessarily how long will devices last before simply breaking, but for what length of time will they usefully perform the functions that you obtained them for?

With technological advances coming faster and faster nowadays -- and older systems therefore becoming obsolete quicker and quicker - plus a growing number of devices that have to keep pace with other online systems in order to remain useful, the useful lifespan of our gadgets seems to be shrinking.

A glance around my home office provides a snapshot of how long much of my electronic paraphernalia has been in operation Read More »

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Cloudy With a Chance of Data Center Savings

June 29, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

Ah, weather – one of life’s multi-purpose tools.  Conversation filler (“Quite the weather we’re having.”), alleged indicator of world’s end and source of inspiration for comic book writers to empower heroes and villains alike.

Weather can also be a Data Center’s best friend.  Solar energy can be harvested to help generate power, for instance, such as is happening at Cisco’s Data Center in Allen, Texas.  (Look for the 100 kW solar array on the right side of the Data Center’s roof.)  Wind energy as well.  Rainwater can even be collected for cooling system usage or to irrigate landscaping.

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Virtual Desktops: To Brazil and Back

June 22, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

I must confess, the first time I heard about virtual desktop infrastructure it made me think of a scene from the 1985 movie Brazil.  (The movie is old enough that I trust I’m not spoiling anything here.  If it’s sitting in your Netflix queue and you don’t want anything revealed, though, skip the next paragraph.)

In the scene Sam Lowry, the movie’s main character, struggles to work at his too-small desk that adjoins a nearby wall.  The desk shifts, and begins to retract into said wall, causing Sam to yank mightily on it in hopes of recovering some usable desk space.  After a brief tug of war, he discovers the source of the problem.

Fortunately, that’s not how virtual desktop technology truly works.

This week’s Data Center Deconstructed question raises the issue of how to determine the ratio of physical servers to virtual desktop instances.  As my meandering thoughts of Brazil indicate, I’m not your go-to guy for such information.  Ashok Rajagopalan, a product manager in Cisco’s Server Access Virtualization Technology Group, steps in to addresses the topic.

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Are We Approaching 1.2 Jigawatts in the Data Center?

June 15, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

What are typical power and cooling densities in a Data Center these days?  What do you think they’ll be in the future?

I routinely host Data Center tours at Cisco’s headquarters.  During those walkthroughs I often discuss how the densities in our server environments have increased over time.  Facilities with 50 to 60 watts per square foot gave way to those of 100 to 120 watts per square foot, which in turn gave way to those of 175 to 200 watts per square foot.

“I’m your density.  I mean… your destiny.”

- George McFly, Back to the Future

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Place Your Data Center Bets

June 8, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

Novelty bets are all the rage these days in gambling.  Bookmakers are laying odds and allowing side bets on the minutiae of major events ranging from athletic contests to national elections to royal weddings.  My favorite novelty bet from the 2011 Super Bowl:  how long would Christina Aguilera hold the note “brave” at the end of the National Anthem?  (It went nine seconds by my unofficial count.  Feel free to time it yourself.)

Can we get the Data Center industry a piece of this action?  Imagine the odds line for happenings in and around your server environment in the next six months: Read More »

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