NBC's 'Today' offers rare look inside Apple's iCloud data center in feature on environment

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  • Reply 21 of 37
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    The ambient temperature can be higher if you've designed your hardware to allow the cooling air to easily get to the temperature-generating components. Essentially lower the thermal resistance...

    With that setup I'd imagine the temp inside the chassis isn't much hotter than outside. I had never thought of it before but in a clean, protected environment there is no reason for all those extra plastic pieces to be in the way.
  • Reply 22 of 37
    Green energy? What is the 'carbon cost' for the land covered up by the solar panels?
    What was the 'carbon cost' of the workers who traveled to the site to install it?
    What was the 'carbon cost' of the workers who traveled to make the panels?
    What was the 'carbon cost' of the workers who traveled to get the raw materials for the panels?
    What was the 'carbon cost' of the machines that got the raw materials for the panels?
    What was the 'carbon cost' of the workers who travel to maintain the farm?
    When you add up all the 'carbon costs' for the whole support structure of society that still travel in gas guzzling cars and use gas guzzling truck and mining shovels to make these 'green energy' initiatives, how green is it really?

    Nearly all the carbon costs you mention are one-time costs. The savings are returned over years of use and quickly outweigh one-time costs. On an installation the size of Apple's the one time costs are actually held pretty low per-panel due to the scale of the project. Apple likely has a pay-back date that once passed, puts the whole site in a positive energy state. I have not heard when that might be...or if it already is energy positive.
  • Reply 23 of 37
    solipsismx wrote: »
    With that setup I'd imagine the temp inside the chassis isn't much hotter than outside. I had never thought of it before but in a clean, protected environment there is no reason for all those extra plastic pieces to be in the way.

    So true. I once had to design a transmitter to be physically small but dissipate thousands of BTUs of heat without using a fan AND being operated in 300F ambient temperature. I used the "chimney effect" similar to what Apple used on the new Mac Pro.

    I imagine Apple is using fans in the server stacks, but if they had the hardware designed to deliver the air with little turbulence to the hot spots then you can strip away a lot of heat very efficiently. The fan designs in the newer iMacs are good examples of excellent cooling with slow moving fan speed. The fan design of the initial Surface Pro was a good example of "brute force" cooling; energy cost was not a design goal. Essentially if you used the Surface Pro long enough some oven mittens might be necessary.
  • Reply 24 of 37
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ElectroTech View Post



    Green energy? What is the 'carbon cost' for the land covered up by the solar panels?

    What was the 'carbon cost' of the workers who traveled to the site to install it?

    What was the 'carbon cost' of the workers who traveled to make the panels?

    What was the 'carbon cost' of the workers who traveled to get the raw materials for the panels?

    What was the 'carbon cost' of the machines that got the raw materials for the panels?

    What was the 'carbon cost' of the workers who travel to maintain the farm?

    When you add up all the 'carbon costs' for the whole support structure of society that still travel in gas guzzling cars and use gas guzzling truck and mining shovels to make these 'green energy' initiatives, how green is it really?



    Why doesn't the data facility have solar panels on that huge roof?

     

    Maybe they should have just hooked into the local coal powered grid.

  • Reply 25 of 37
    slurpy wrote: »
    This report is stunningly positive towards Apple- not something I expect from mainstream news.

    I agree. Bad news about Apple must sell easier then good news.

    Most reporters favor MacBooks and iPads when they are out there gathering the news. I remember seeing video of the selected reporters who were invited to the Microsoft Surface preview and the number of glowing Apple logos in the crowd was impressive. If I had been Uncle Fester looking out at the sea of Apple Logos I would have felt ill...

    So, I'm suspecting that the negative news about Apple is done by the drones in their offices pouring over news collected in the field (by Apple product users) and putting on their own spin to support the eye-catching headline they already came up with.
  • Reply 26 of 37


    That should be "biogas" and not "natural gas".

    The Data Center is close enough to Washington DC that the natural gas IS biogas. jest say'n... ;)
  • Reply 27 of 37

    These look like HP ProLiant DL360 Generation 6 servers. The thick black cable looks like Infiniband.

     

     

  • Reply 28 of 37
    macosrmacosr Posts: 12member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jsewell View Post

     

    Interesting that they're running their data centers at 103°F. I seem to recall Google runs their cold isles at 80°F, and that they arrived at that temperature through empirical guidance. I wonder how Apple can run theirs 23 degrees warmer without suffering significant hardware failure.


    From that video it appears that Apple is doing Hot Aisle Containment instead of cold. That would mean that the row they are walking down, since you see video of the backs of the servers, is the hot aisle. That is normal for a hot aisle to be that warm where the cold air on the other side of the servers would be around 70-80 degrees.

  • Reply 29 of 37
    The fan design of the initial Surface Pro was a good example of "brute force" cooling; energy cost was not a design goal. Essentially if you used the Surface Pro long enough some oven mittens might be necessary.

    I saw one at Starbucks yesterday. The user wasn't holding it because it's not a tablet, it's a tiny laptop with a snap-on keyboard. It just sat propped up on its kickstand displaying the Windows 8 desktop.

    In contrast, the people with iPads were holding theirs.
  • Reply 30 of 37
    jsewelljsewell Posts: 12member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacOSR View Post

     

    From that video it appears that Apple is doing Hot Aisle Containment instead of cold. That would mean that the row they are walking down, since you see video of the backs of the servers, is the hot aisle. That is normal for a hot aisle to be that warm where the cold air on the other side of the servers would be around 70-80 degrees.


    You're absolutely right. When I thought again about what I had seen, I reached the same conclusion.

  • Reply 31 of 37
    haarhaar Posts: 563member
    analogjack wrote: »

    er.. 'empirical guidance' could be shown to be that Apple are, and therefore can, run at 103°F.

    apple is probably using cool (pun intended) technology such as FLIR and the simple fact that they know the temperature of every cpu in the data center.

    also i suppose that they use water cooling, or perhaps they are using custom cpu's designed for 103F cold isles...

    Doubling a CPU's speed quadruples the power consumption, so perhaps they run the CPU's slower to compensate for the 103 degree high cold isles... ?

    BTW, just guessing... (but FLIR equipment in regards to Data Center cooling issues is a cool idea.)
  • Reply 32 of 37
    jjarojjaro Posts: 29member
    You know, I genuinely wonder what kinds if computers that they have running there. The Xserve is gone, so maybe it's just a ton of Hackintoshes.
  • Reply 33 of 37

    Of all the morning shows, why Today?  They're such a bunch of douchebags.  

     

    Matt Lauer's response and contribution to this piece is how 'cold' it is in the studio.  He's King Douchebag!  

     

    And what's up with the crappy video quality. Those old farts running NBC haven't clued into the fact that HD is, and has been, the default resolution for the past 10 years.  On top of that NBC is owned by Comcast.  What gives?  

     

    Oh right, Comcast hates any kind of web streaming or video.  They pine for the old days of 1993 when downloads crawled along and cable was King.  They're actively waging war against net neutrality in an effort to 'double-dip' on video streaming. You pay for the service, and now they want the streamer to also pay for the service.  In essence, they're a bunch of douchebags too!  Their cable boxes suck down 300 Watts/hr with no 'real' turn-off switch.  They contribute 5 million tons of CO2 a year to the atmosphere.  Now they're reporting on how Apple does it better than anyone else.  The Romans had Nero, we have Comcast.  

  • Reply 34 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    With that setup I'd imagine the temp inside the chassis isn't much hotter than outside. I had never thought of it before but in a clean, protected environment there is no reason for all those extra plastic pieces to be in the way.

    The issue is not the temperature of the ambient air but the temperature of the heat generating components. The first step is using heat sinks to quickly keep the component temperatures low. This requires strong and solid heat sink connections to the temperature generating components. The next step is to cool the heat sinks. Air or liquid or both might be used to lower the heat sink temperatures. Certainly the components themselves could remain far cooler than the ambient air.

  • Reply 35 of 37
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brianwells View Post

     

    These look like HP ProLiant DL360 Generation 6 servers. The thick black cable looks like Infiniband.

     

     


     

    Maybe it's Quid pro quo:

     

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/11/11/23/hps_chairman_using_macbook_air_may_detail_webos_plans_next_week

     

    Interesting to see all the snide "calling out" comments in that article compared to the defense of Apple when it's the other way around.

     

    It's a good thing that most of the anti-Apple media haven't caught on to this, or they would be having another feeding frenzy.

     

    How much did the HP Chairman pay for that Macbook Air, compared to how much Apple is paying to set up and maintain all those non-Apple, non-OS X servers in their data centers?

  • Reply 36 of 37
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    Here’s a thought experiment: At what temperature could Apple’s farms run would they were still full of Xserve and Xserve RAID? 


    Here's a better one...How much energy will Apple save in their data centers when they switch over to Apple ARM-based CPUs?

  • Reply 37 of 37
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,277member
    The trade-offs of introducing cooling to the environment adds a far heavier footprint to the cost of power at no measurable gain, when servers running at 103 degrees Fahrenheit vs. 83 degrees Fahrenheit is point less considering the systems are rated running, at full throttle, with temperatures far higher. In short, they've most likely tested the cost of power curve against the life span of a server and found no measured improvement of bringing down the temperature another 20 degrees, internally. The convective heat transfer systems that vent will also be different, depending on the design of their HVAC solutions and proper insulation.

    Apple could take advantage of a new Google openly shared and published method of using a neural network to predict (with upwards of 99.6% accuracy) and manage data center power needs including optimized cooling. I'd actually be very surprised if they don't do something with it going forward. It only needs a single server to control it.

    http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2014/05/28/google-using-machine-learning-boost-data-center-efficiency/
    http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en/us/about/datacenters/efficiency/internal/assets/machine-learning-applicationsfor-datacenter-optimization-finalv2.pdf
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