Datacenter Reaction

Already in this blog, the n+1 provisions have been discussed, perhaps most of all.  It was certainly important to be there, the Datacenter has a very important job, with many things on the line, including, considering its use in medicine, lives.

The thing which struck me is despite the modernity of it all, the use of many primitive devices in it’s operation.  If you just took a brief look at the exterior, it looks much like a supercomputer out of a science fiction movie.  However, at the most basic level, the devices had some primitive elements, several of the black boxes were just devoted to storing old-fashioned data tapes which were retrieved by a relatively simple mechanism.  Not only that, but the Mainframe of the Datacenter was quite old and had been used for quite a while.

On top of the primitive aspects of the Datacenter, I was amazed by how much resources the Datacenter used.  Imagine all the 49 degree water that is used in a day to keep the Datacenter from overheating!!!  There was also pretty clearly a good deal of electricity that went into it as well.  I couldn’t help but wonder at what the utility bill for such a data center would be if it were placed in a private building.

In Big Data, not only is the data big, but the stuff that is needed to maintain such cyberinfrastructure is pretty big as well.

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One Response to Datacenter Reaction

  1. alexjking11 says:

    The entire visit to the data center was fascinating, but I was most surprised to see the magnetic tape data storage. I had no idea that technology was still used. I thought it was a relic of the ’50s, the heyday of “Mad Men” and IBM…

    But from reading more about it on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_tape_data_storage), it’s apparent that magnetic tape has been used to store data for a very long time, all the way from the ENIAC in 1951 to the present day. And today, a single tape, the StorageTek T10000C, can store an astonishing 5 TB of data. Sure, tape storage may be slow, but it’s also pretty cheap (owing to how long it’s been around, versus, say, solid-state storage), which makes it perfect for non-time-critical data, like archived patient medical charts.

    It was especially interesting to see the machines the data center used to store the tape storage, like this one: http://inapcache.boston.com/universal/site_graphics/blogs/bigpicture/lhc_11_20/l12_00809016.jpg. With the robot arm, it truly looks like something out of a science-fiction movie. But it’s in use at modern data centers around the world.

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