Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have created a working data centre which also functions as a research vehicle for the study of data centre automation and efficiency.
The principle research goals of the Data Centre Observatory (DCO) are to better comprehend and mitigate human administration costs and complexities, address power and cooling challenges, and study failures and their consequences.
It also aims to understand resource utilisation patterns, and look at opportunities to reduce costs by sharing resources among users.
The DCO can support 40 racks of computers, which would consume energy at a rate of 750 average-sized homes.
Energy efficiency is one of the centre's major priorities. For some time now, the amount of power consumed by commodity servers has been increasing, as has the number of servers placed in a facility.
"These large clusters of power-hungry machines, along with rising energy prices, are generating huge energy bills, forcing data centre owners nationwide to seek more energy-efficient solutions," said Greg Ganger, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Parallel Data Lab at Carnegie Mellon.
To tackle these issues, university researchers are working with APC to develop new ways to reduce energy demands in data centres.
Administration costs are another major research area. Data centres are complex to operate and require significant human administration.
"Anecdotally, we know that human costs are a dominant part of the total cost of ownership for data centres, but exactly where people spend their time isn't well understood," said Bill Courtright, executive director of the Parallel Data Lab.
"One of the things that makes the DCO so interesting is that, for the first time, university researchers will be able to study human costs and efficiencies in a working data centre."
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