Exprexxo Thoughts

There are no S's in Exprexxo!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A great PUE points out an opportunity

I spent many years poking at the default assumptions of data centers.  It really bothered me that as we scaled; things got ever harder, not easier.  When the concept of PUE became popular, we all notice that we had built support systems that consumed as much power as the computers, PUE of 2.   Many of us  then started attacking the assumptions and we reversed that trend getting back to a more understandable level of  Non Value Added power use of 20% or a PUE of 1.25, and less.  But I still wondered about the fragility of servers.  Why do we have work creating heat inside a box inside a box inside a box ....    Then spend time and money routing heat!

So why can't servers exist in the open on the planet?   (Whoa that was a leap !)   I mean after all I have a PUE of 1.0 and can compute(think) while swimming.   There it is, we have not isolated electrons from the environment as well as biology has.   Ok, as one of my favorite mentors, Doug Busch, said "turn the thought experiment to full, and what do you see?"   So why not put servers out in the open?  PUE of 1.0  Just like me and you.  Well of course there is theft and bugs, real bugs, and lots of issues.  But think about it: CPUs are engines just like our original forges, can't we find a way to have the waste heat escape into space in the most direct way possible .. up   straight up?  have you seen a 2014 Mac Pro? Its a chimney, it breaths from the bottom and exhausts vertically.   No stacking this server but,  could it be outdoors? Not likely, but plausible, if the heat fins extended into the air paths and the rest was sealed.  Then you could see hundreds of these chimneys placed between two screens some small distance off the ground..........

I know your saying " but would you need some cool 2kW 4 plug pigtail to power each quad of Mac Pros because they could have their connection plates face a common gap? "   Yes you are right and you will need a micro four port gigabit ethernet switch in that same gap. Or you could mesh them with wifi.   Well then you would have a linear scaling PUE 1.0 compute strata at ~2kW /sqft that computes at ~28TF/sqft.    I hear you saying " if it got really big you could not replace the the middle one.  Have you not seen a submarine movie?  We have grate squares on top that you can walk on an lift off. It will be a little warm but not unsafe as the heat does not concentrate. Yes you could mount 2U servers vertically changing from the grates too, but it would not be a stylish.       

I see you shaking you head...... its just a thought experiment, got a better idea ? Blog it, Model it,  Build it! 

Now did I tell you about the same structure in two feet of water like talpia?    Would be a DataPond? 


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