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Data Storage

The Data Dome: A Server Farm In a Geodesic Dome 62

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-cool dept.
1sockchuck writes In a unique approach to data center design, the new high-performance computing center in Oregon is housed in a geodesic dome. The new facility at the Oregon Health and Science University requires no mechanical air conditioning, using outside air to racks of servers reaching densities of 25kW per cabinet. The design uses an aisle containment system to separate hot and cold air, and can recirculate server exhaust heat to adjust cold aisle temperatures in the winter. It's a very cool integration of many recent advances in data center design, combining elements of the Yahoo Chicken Coop and server silo in Quebec. The school has posted a virtual tour that provides a deep technical dive.
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The Data Dome: A Server Farm In a Geodesic Dome

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  • In OEM specs? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mlts (1038732) on Monday August 18, 2014 @04:07PM (#47698415)

    Where the rubber meets the road is if the machines are in temperature and humidity specifications for the equipment, so warranties are not voided.

    If this is workable, even during the winter or when it is extremely rainy/humid, this might be a useful idea. However, there is only a limited set of climates that this would work in. The PNW with its moderate temperatures makes sense for this. However, if I attempted to do the same thing in Texas, come summertime, I'd have a building full of BBQ-ed servers.

  • 1955. The Manchester Computing Centre was designed to be one gigantic heat sink for their computers in the basement, using simple convection currents, ultra-large corridors and strategically-placed doors to regulate the temperature. It worked ok. Not great, but well enough. The computers generated enormous heat all year round, reducing the need for heating in winter. (Manchester winters can be bitingly cold, as the Romans discovered. Less so, now that Global Warming has screwed the weather systems up.)

    The design that Oregon is using is several steps up, yes, but is basically designed on the same principles and uses essentially the same set of tools to achieve the results. Nobody quite knows the thermal properties of the location Alan Turing built the Manchester Baby in, the laboratory was demolished a long time ago. Bastards. However, we know where his successors worked, because that's the location of the MCC/NCC. A very unpleasant building, ugly as hell, but "functional" for the purpose for which it was designed. Nobody is saying the building never got hot - it did - but the computers didn't generally burst into flames, which they would have done if there had been no cooling at all.

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