geekism's blog

Bring Out Your Dead!

Late last year we instituted a project titled Bring Out Your Dead (inspired by the Monte Python's Holy Grail Film).  It was an effort to hunt down and remove orphaned and unused hardware at the company. The challenge I gave to Serena Devito on my staff was to do this as a low-cost, no-cost effort.  We weren't out to spend millions on replacing equipment, we just wanted to find comatose devices and get rid of them.  We knew that even with all our datacenter consolidation efforts over the last two years, there was still a lot of waste going on.  The reorganizations, acquisitions, reductions in force and other business activities left quite a bit of equipment in limbo.  So, we partnered with our lab and datacenter managers to get rid of them.  What we found surpassed even our expectations.  We pulled 440+ pallets of equipment from four of our major campuses in just three months.  6,199 devices in all with 4,100 of them being servers!  The icing on the cake was that 64% of the equipment we pulled was still powered on!  It was just sitting there burning energy.  The picture below shows 50% of the equipment that was removed.  It filled one of our warehouses in Hayward, CA!


Wild West Data Center


On January 26, 2009 we had a grand opening for Sun's Broomfield, Colorado Datacenter.  It has a been a long project to consolidate 496,000 square feet from our Louisiville, Colorado campus (former StorageTek site) into 126,000 square feet across five floors in our largest building Broomfield.

The Chill Off Is Ready To Go!

The Chill Off testing will begin in two weeks.  In this Data Center Pulse episode, Brian Day and Mike Ryan step us through the test bed where the chill of tests will be conducted.  A lot of companies have donated their design expertise, parts and labor to get this ready.  This includes Sun Microsystems (test location, infrastructure, test equipment), Redwood City Electric (electrical design and installation), SynapSense (Meters, Sensors and other controls), Western Allied (Mechanical design, parts and labor), California Hydronics Corporation (Water Control Pump), Norman S Wright Mechanical Equipment Corporation (Variable Frequency Drive), F Rodgers Insulation & Specialtiy Contractors (Chilled Water Pipe Insulation), and Liebert Corporation (Refrigerant Pumping System - XDP).

Holy Battery Backup Batman!


Today I attended Google's Efficient Data Centers Summit at their Mountain View, CA Campus.  They unveiled how they achieved their average PUE of 1.21 across their six large datacenters.  It was great that they were sharing information with the public around how they measured and the innovations they have.  For cooling it was pretty simple.  Closely coupled cooling, raising the temperatures in the datacenters and utilizing economizers.

What jumped out the most was how they were able to achieve 99.9% efficiency in their UPS.  Talk about a different approach.  Instead of trying to raise the voltage and eliminate transformers or using DC power, or other methods, they solved the problem in server itself.  As many of you may be aware, google manufactures their own servers.  What they decided to do was remove the UPS all together.  They simplified the motherboard design to deliver only one 12V line to the monther board and then let the mother board distribute the power out the hard drives. Then, they put a simple battery on the server itself.  Consider it like adding a car battery to the server, just like a laptop.  Since this is only requiring 12V, it can be small.  Now, if there is a brownout or a spike the in-server battery takes over while the facility switches to the Generator. Simple.  Very simple.

The Internet IN A BOX!

The entire internet in one box.  Sound unbelievable?  Not so. Today, Sun launched a single Sun Modular Datacenter (SunMD), housed in our Santa Clara datacenter, that contains the Wayback Machine from Internet Archive.  IA has captured the web in the form of pages, graphics, videos, java scripts and more for the past 12 years!  Yes, the past twelve years.  Just imagine, all that "creative" stuff you posted on the web through your career (and yes you know those pictures and videos I'm talking about) have been captured by the Internet Archive crawlers.  I even checked one of the sites I had created in 1996 for a non profit called Child Quest International, Inc.  It was just as I had built it (boy my graphics were archaic then). 



Speak to me!

It has been waaaay too long since I have had a chance to blog.  The last five months have been a whirlwind of activity internally and externally.  My goal was to post items as they happened, but by the time I finish the daily priorities, it's 2am and my body shuts me down anways.


So, my new goal is to post the activities that are relevant and interesting as I can, but not necessarily within the week the or in chronological order.  The blog will have the topics I believe my peers and others in the industry would take their valuable time to read.


With that, I'm leaving for my Europe trip on Wedensday.  I'll be speaking at the Invest In Sweden Data Center conference in Stockholm, Sweden on Friday March 20th.  Then I'll be speaking at the Computing in High Energy and Nuclear Physics (CHEP) conference in Prague on Tuesday, March 24th.  Finally, I'm heading to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland to talk and tour with the folks at the International Linear Collider!  I'm hoping that they can show me that cool black hole everyone's been raving about.  It's supposed to be all the rage...Doh!  :-)


This puppy's growing!


I am still amazed with how quickly you can reach a global audience. It's been 61 days since we started Data Center Pulse.  Since then we have secured 312 members from 180 companies in 21 countries representing at least 20 different industries! The member list is growing like mad.

As Mark and I continued to recruit members a realization set in. The list of companies that are represented on Data Center Pulse are from every industry. This group spends or influences hundreds of billions of dollars every year. They build the engines that run banking, medical support systems, schools, military, government, transportation systems, and this little thing called the internet. :-)  Over the weekend we brainstormed how to best leverage the strength of this group. What is it that most of the people are interested in? What would be worth their time? Personally, I benefit greatly when I am able to sit down for detailed discussions and debate on Data Center topics with my peers in the industry. I really enjoyed the round table we held at the AFCOM session and wished there could be more.

Secret Agent


Let me tell you why I have the coolest job at Sun.  First, I get to build datacenters all over the world, talk with thousands of customers, build new communities to unite datacenter peers globally, and play with all the new Sun technology years before it is released.  But, today I did something I have never done before. I became a Secret Agent...

The Marlowe-Pugnetti Company used our Santa Clara campus to film some scenes for their upcoming movie called "The Awakened". James Marlowe, the director, contacted Sun a few months back and asked if he could use the campus to finish his movie.  As soon as he saw the datacenter, he knew it was perfect.  It had "the high-tech look" for the agency, like it was in a bunker 30 floors underground. The "secret government agency" called S.H.A.D.O.W. had an intense situation room scene in the Mansion as well as a datacenter scene.

Data Center Pulse Milestone!

We hit a great milestone last night.  As of 11pm Data Center Pulse broke 200 members. 201 members in 27 days. Thats an average of 7.4 members a day. We need to increase our pace to 10 per day to achieve our goal of 1,000 memebers by the end of this year.  The group has also been featured by a few bloggers. This should help the membership as well.

The WHIR news, David Hamilton - October 8, 2008 Data Center Pulse Gains Strength
InfoWorld, Ted Samson - Sustainable IT - October 3, 2008 Data Center Pulse offers sales-free forum to talk datacenters

I have also confirmed the next Data Center Pulse podcast roundtable in Amsterdam on October 14th.  So far a "datacenter evangelist" from the Dutch Police Force has signed up. We'll see if we can't get a few more of his peers to be under the spotlight.
Please keep the ideas coming and invite your colleagues and industry peers to join the group through linkedin!







Carbon Girl Sighting

Today, Sun received an award from the US EPA for blowing the doors off of its original goal of reducing 20% of Green House Gas emissions, based on 2002 levels, by 2012.  Sun achieved 23% reduction four years ahead of schedule.  Lori Duvall, aka "Carbon Girl" was on hand to receive the award for Sun.  You can see the press release here.  You an hear Carbon Girl discuss this further on Sun News Radio.

It feels really good to know that the efforts of the Work Environments business unit (that I proudly reside in) have made such a difference to Sun both economically and ecologically.  The benefits of open work, our products and consolidating real estate and datacenter space into brutally efficient, flexible, scalable (future-proof) locations helped our bottom line by reducing our California Bay Area operating expense by 30%.  Now we see the positive impact of those economic decisions to our ecological commitments. Green is not a fad, it is good business.

So today, we bask in glory of beating the goal.  Tomorrow, we continue on our next goal of reducing our GHG by 20%, based on 2007 levels, by 2015.  Stay tuned for more sightings of Carbon Girl!  You go Lori!  :-)





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