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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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Curse You, UCS

June 1, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

I’m shaking my fist at the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).  It’s making me let go of a Data Center solution that worked well in the past.

I worked for years on Cisco’s team that designed and managed our Data Centers.  In the early 2000s, hardware compaction strongly influenced our physical design.  Every few weeks it seemed a different manufacturer debuted a new server smaller and more powerful than its predecessor.  We could fit more gear into our cabinets and so found we had a lot more cabling to manage.  This was especially challenging in legacy Data Centers with cables routed below the under-floor plenum.  More cabling meant less airflow.  

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Getting Inventive in the Data Center

May 25, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

What’s the coolest technology you wish someone would invent for a Data Center?

As the more entrepreneurial among us are likely already aware, it’s National Inventors Month in the United States.  In light of that – and the video below discussing how Data Centers themselves foster innovation – I thought it would be interesting to make a Data Center wish list.  Just in case a fledgling Thomas Edison out there is looking for something to work on.

The Data Center technologies I want:

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When Patch Cords Attack!

May 18, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

We had fun with last week’s post, I Saw What You Patched Last Summer, viewing the horrors that are the entries to Cisco’s recent Crazy Cabling Contest  Fun because, as humorist Will Rogers famously noted, everything is funny as long as it is happening to someone else.

You obviously don’t want such cabling mayhem in your Data Center.   Tangled cables greatly increase the risk of accidental downtime.  They also inhibit airflow, forcing a Data Center’s cooling system to work harder to deliver chilled air to hardware and thereby increasing energy consumption and operational costs.

For those keeping score at home, here’s the winning submission as voted by visitors to Cisco’s Facebook page:

The top vote-getter from Cisco's Crazy Cabling Contest.

Messy cabling is also bad because it leads to more messy cabling.  Have you ever walked into a Data Center with just one sloppy server cabinet?  In my experience, server environments are either neat and tidy throughout or messy throughout.

So, what can be done to prevent tangled cabling in your Data Center?

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