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Hardware

Sun Puts Data Center Through 6.7 Earthquake 195

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the shake-your-money-maker dept.
An anonymous reader sent in a video clip showing Sun experimenting with shoving a data center through a simulated 6.7 Earthquake. Everything stays running, but some power cords came out and some screws worked loose. It's still kind of neat to see a bunch of racks shake like a polaroid.

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Sun Puts Data Center Through 6.7 Earthquake

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  • thats what sun is spending money on before its taken over?

    • by dotancohen (1015143) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @10:33AM (#27342853) Homepage

      thats what sun is spending money on before its taken over?

      Do you expect all development and innovation to stop the moment one mentions the word IBM? I'm glad to see Sun innovating and proving that their technology is reliable.

      • by ubrgeek (679399) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @10:46AM (#27343079)
        Actually, I was wondering if this was being done in anticipation of the shakeup that will happen after the purchase... Get it? Get it? Thanks folks. I'm here all week. Try the veal and tip your waitress... :)
        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          reminds me of the handy capable guy from the film "Scary movie"?? I think?? the, "I can toss my own salad." guy.

          Sun: "What you think we need IBM to shake things up? We can shake our selves up!!"

        • Well, I thought that it was a Big Blue Elephant checking out Sun, by kicking the tires, before it puts up the cash for a used Sun.

          Given the results, Sun should be expecting a huge check in the mail, real soon.

          Unfortunately, it will probably mean a bunch of pink slips for people in *both* companies.

    • This video is at least a year old, I remember seeing it when I attended one of their mobile Blackbox tour presentations last year.

  • Hard drives?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mhtsos (586325) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @10:06AM (#27342427)
    What hard drive survived that, that's what I'd like to know.
    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      Good question. Problem is, I don't trust any of the current SCSI/SAS manufacturers to have high-physical shock tolerance.

      • Re:Hard drives?? (Score:5, Informative)

        by fm6 (162816) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @10:40AM (#27342975) Homepage Journal

        Neither does Sun. This kind of shock-and-vibe testing is actually routine for their products — I've been in the lab where it's done. That lab can't handle anything bigger than a rack, hence the outsourcing of this particular test.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by AlecC (512609)

        If firmly mounted, the drives are very shock tolerant. What people don't realize is how high the G force generated when hard object like a drive hits a hard object like a table. You can get instantaneous tens, possibly hundreds of Gs. Earthquakes can generate several Gs, but not tens. Problems tend to occur when structures have forces in unexpected directions (walls are bad at shifting sideways, masonry doesn't like decompression) or when you get resonance with the oscillation, which builds up the energy. D

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ByOhTek (1181381)

          True, but I've had several hard drives from MANUFACTURER_A which have been dropped several feet (while off) onto both hard tile and carpeted floors, and get plugged in and work fine for years. Another, while on, took a three foot fling/tumble when my notebook satchel slipped from my arm (I hadn't realized I left the computer on), and it survived.

          Then I went to MANUFACTURER_B, and a turned off computer with a minitower case slipped and fell on it's side, and the drive died (a few other similar, relatively lo

    • Re:Hard drives?? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Remloc (1165839) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @10:13AM (#27342543)
      Hard drives are not as fragile as you might think. I was running our tiny company's "data center" (3 consumer '486s, two HDs each, screwed down to a metal rack bolted to the wall) 35 miles from Northridge during the 6.75 Northridge quake.
      Didn't lose a single drive.
      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        My story is anecdotal as well, but on the flip side, I had a computer in the back seat of my car a few years back (coming home from a LAN party) and was rear ended. The damage to the car was fairly minimal and limited to the rear; there was no external damage to the computer or the backseat area at all, nor was I injured, but there was a pretty decent jolt involved.

        When I got home and plugged the drive in, it was making a clicking noise. It failed completely within a day or two. While I've never been thr

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by PIBM (588930)
          I've read that some hard drive use a magnetic stabilisation inside, a little like the digital cameras who moves the sensors along with the user movement, thus, if the hard drive is powered, it can sustain bigger vibrations without being damaged.
    • Re:Hard drives?? (Score:4, Informative)

      by furby076 (1461805) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @10:15AM (#27342555) Homepage
      Usually the ones that cost about $35k/terrabyte as opposed to the ones that cost $99/terrabyte at newegg.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by maxwell demon (590494)

        Usually the ones that cost about $35k/terrabyte as opposed to the ones that cost $99/terrabyte at newegg.

        Well, if it comes to earthquakes, terrabytes surely beat terabytes. After all, it's not a monsterquake! :-)

    • One word SSD. I bet these data-center-in-a-container things can run even inside a moving truck if SSDs are used. Takes a lot of fuel though.

      Personally, if I lived in quakeland, I would do a lot of backups and live in paranoia.

      A possible protection is to strap everything into racks that are suspended by cables attached to an overhead crane. About 18 yrs ago I was at a fab designed to not get jiggled by the continual tremors that always occur everywhere. It was like a big room sitting on jello. Large dampers

      • A possible protection is to strap everything into racks that are suspended by cables attached to an overhead crane

        I don't know if that'd be a financial success, but you'd certainly win many art contests.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The room probably sat on rubber air springs, which is common for modern buildings in earthquake prone area.

        An earlier reply to you mentions rolling data centers used by militaries. The ones I've seen mount containers on smaller air springs...you'll see Airride on a lot of semi trucks on the highway.

    • by Thelasko (1196535) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @10:39AM (#27342953) Journal
      They could have saved a bunch of time and money by simply setting up that server in the town of Esparto, California. [slashdot.org]
  • by Swizec (978239) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @10:07AM (#27342451) Homepage
    FUCKING HELL is that an embedded video I see in the story!? Holy shit, the geek website is ... in step with the times?
    • by 0racle (667029) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @10:37AM (#27342935)
      Actually, that pissed me off.
      • noFlash stopped it along with noScript.

        so while I can see that it would have been there, it did no annoy me. /. PUTTING it there - that annoyed me.

      • by 45mm (970995)

        Yes, I too *gasped* at having to actually read/view the content of the article. What is this site coming to? Informed commenting may be next!

    • by Rary (566291)

      FUCKING HELL is that an embedded video I see in the story!? Holy shit, the geek website is ... in step with the times?

      And in the process, they've created a bit of a mess. Here we have a situation where the summary and the "article" are on the same page. So, the summary contains a link... to this page.

    • by Abreu (173023)

      FUCKING HELL is that an embedded video I see in the story!? Holy shit, the geek website is ... in step with the times?

      Yeah, I thought the same thing, but then I thought "Nah, the slashdot crowd will complain about it"

  • by Ambiguous Coward (205751) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @10:09AM (#27342481) Homepage

    Sweet, a link in a summary to the summary itself. Just what I've always wanted!

  • Old news. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Trentus (1017602)

    I knew there was something familiar about this. I stumbled upon it on a slow day at work a couple of years ago. The video is dated 2007 at the end.

  • When they can have this type of earthquake and not have any IO errors from the disks nor do any tapes fall off the walls of the inside of the tape library, then I'll call this a success. As someone that has had to retrieve a tape that was dropped by the robot of an old STK "Powderhorn", this would be a pain.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @10:33AM (#27342863)
    Everyone has pictures of racks sliding across the room and CRT terminals dangling from desktops. The surprising thing was how much rebooted immediately after the power returned. And even in that year the pre-web internet was more reliable than the phone company. Email worked better than many phones.
  • Is it just me, or does the video indicate this was recorded January 17th, 1994?
  • Energy release by Mw6.7 Earthquake is as following.

    6.7 16.2 megatons (TNT) 67.9 PJ (Joule equivalent)

    See more here.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richter_magnitude_scale [wikipedia.org]

    Most things can survive Mw6.7 earthquake just fine. The question is, can it survive Mw7.0 earthquake or bigger. A earthquake that is Mw6.7 is just strong.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @11:06AM (#27343419) Homepage
    my manager sees this shit.

    now whenever i mention colocation and its impending budget, ill have this godforsaken thing thrown in my face. important facts like "way outside its normal envelope" will fall to the wayside as superbox 9000 will solve all the companies woes, cause our shareholders to sing, and increase productivity by big number!

    then, when i integrate it with both the cloud and the grid infrastructure, ill see a completely service oriented architecture designed to leverage our aging, proprietary, uncompetitive, lazy, and barely piece of suck ass assets to rocket us in direct competition with google, before we overtake microsoft!

    glad they tested it, but sad it was never really emphasized the box shouldn't be guaranteed to specifications that resemble porn.
  • by LabRat007 (765435) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @11:20AM (#27343615) Homepage
    They need to test if Data Centers can survive a Myth Busters taping. Thats a REAL test.

    http://www.kcra.com/cnn-news/19016582/detail.html [kcra.com]
  • by MountainLogic (92466) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @11:20AM (#27343617) Homepage
    I designed a navigation display product some years ago for shipborne application (think bridge of supertankers) and we put it through a standard shake & vibe test. Everything came through fine except the video was scruzled. At first we assumed the CRTs died but upon investigation we found that the connectors on the MB ate their way through the gold fingers on the PCI video card. As electrical engineers we learned a lot of hard lessons. Shake and vibe are tough and since every system is going to have different harmonics it is hard to generalize. Simple rules of thumb and intuition may serve you poorly. In some cases shock mounts made things worse.
  • ... will it blend?

  • ...who has no idea what "shake like a polaroid" means? Last I knew, a polaroid was a instant camera using chemical-based films, and was not intimately connected with geological stressing.

    Can someone please demonstrate what a shaking polaroid looks like so I don't feel like I'm missing out on hacker lingo.

    • by Dynedain (141758)

      Common technique to get a poloroid to develop faster was to shake it as if you were fanning something. Exposure to air was part of the chemical process.

    • ...who has no idea what "shake like a polaroid" means? Last I knew, a polaroid was a instant camera using chemical-based films, and was not intimately connected with geological stressing.

      Can someone please demonstrate what a shaking polaroid looks like so I don't feel like I'm missing out on hacker lingo.

      Aside from shaking a Polaroid picture to speed up the development process, it is also a pop culture reference. Shake it like a Polaroid picture! [youtube.com]

    • by Don_dumb (927108)
      It's a reference to the old practice of shaking an instant (Polariod) picture to get it to dry faster. Also a now famous line from the song "Hey Ya" by OutKast and the second reason is probably why it's been tagged that way.
  • Lol what about the poor SOB who's in that tin can doing maintenance on the server when the earthquake hits.
  • as I was trying to figure out how to actually see the video and clicking on the link like an idiot just to get back to the same place, I figured out that a large blank space below the text is where the video is supposed to be. Since it seems it is slashdotted I cannot see it. It would be better if you could just give the link in the text so I can save it and look later and/or at least say that the video is below.

  • Sure, the servers survived the quake, but what of the datancenter itself ? I would not be surprised if THEIR power mains or network uplinks went to shit after such a rumble.

  • How a 7, 8, or even 9? :D

  • I can't believe it. So a bunch of corporate suckers emulate an earthquake to advance their technology? In the core of Silicon Valley? Where is Spiderman?

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