Tagged With data centres

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Apple has just announced that it is to invest €1.7 billion ($2.5 billion) in two new "state-of-the-art" data centres for Europe, located in Ireland and Denmark. The sites in County Galway and Denmark's central Jutland will use 100 per cent renewable energy and power Apple's iTunes Store, App Store, iMessage and Maps applications and Siri voice assistant.

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Ever since we humans gave up the nomadic life and started building homes, architecture had one goal: To make life better for humans. But now a new architecture is taking shape in remote, frozen corners of the world. And it's not designed for humans. It's for machines. In this case, for the remote machines that keep Facebook churning.

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On Monday, we learnt that the NSA is recording every single phone call in the Bahamas and storing the data for a month. This news arrives just six weeks after we learned that the NSA was recording every single phone call, text and email in Iraq. In fact, the spy agency is engaged in similar efforts in five different countries around the world. So how many taxpayer dollars does that come out to?

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This is embarrassingly funny. The WSJ reports that the NSA's new Utah data centre has suffered 10 meltdowns in the past 13 months because of electrical surges. The NSA is basically using so much power in its spying efforts that it is poetically killing its data centres. Seriously, the surges have destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars in machinery.

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This past week, major documents were leaked detailing PRISM, a top-secret government program that directed tech companies to spy on Americans by turning over their data to the National Security Agency, among other branches of the Department of Homeland Security. Despite obvious threats to the right to privacy, the Fourth Amendment (against illegal search and seizure), and the trust of the American people, the spy program has been going ahead with the full approval of two presidents as well as US Congress.

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To ensure the cooling and ventilation systems in the company's data centres are running at peak efficiency, IBM now employs autonomous temperature-monitoring robots built on the iRobot Create platform to hunt down problematic areas. Fitted with a 2m tall pole laden with temperature and other sensors, the robots wander collect data on temperature and humidity that can later be mapped in 3D to determine cold spots where cooling is being wasted, or hot spots where ventilation needs to be improved.

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Microsoft's Outlook.com email service suffered a massive 16-hour outage yesterday, which saw users unable to access parts of SkyDrive, Hotmail and Outlook. Microsoft has revealed that it was the result of a mischievous firmware upgrade, which caused "a rapid and substantial temperature spike" in the data centre.

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If you're hankering for an Xserve, you've been out of luck since 2011. But there's always an alternative. You can make your own by squeezing a whole 160 Mac Minis into a custom rack, for instance. That's what a fellow named Steve did, and the results are staggering.

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There is a lot of data out there, and more is being created every day. It takes a lot of resources to make sure that we can access the data we want, when we want, with minimal downtime. Naturally, this takes a lot of energy, but the New York Times looked into exactly how much. It's a ridiculous amount.

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One of the key features of Apple's upcoming North Carolina data centre is its mammoth field of solar panels, which aim to provide the data centre with the majority of its power. Although the solar farm in progress is a whopping 100 acres and aims to put out 20 megawatts, that's only 60 per cent of the data centre's expected draw.

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If you want to know how to protect a data centre in 2012 you don't have to look further than the QTS Richmond Data Center. With what seems like a fortress surrounding it, the data centre meets all the US Department of Defence anti-terrorism force protection physical requirements.