Home    Bloggers    Messages    Polls    Resources    Newsletter Signup   
Tw  |  Fb  |  In  |  Rss
John W. Verity

High-Altitude Computing: It Can Be Done

John W. Verity
JohnVerity
JohnVerity
1/28/2013 1:38:34 AM
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Solar Interference
High-altitudes might make sense for certain datacenters; the cooling factor. 

50%
50%
JohnVerity
JohnVerity
1/13/2013 8:52:00 PM
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Solar Interference
I wonder if the increased incidence of cosmic rays at high altitudes plays havoc with memory chips. I believe that some avionics gear, used at even higher altitudes, must be hardended against cosmic rays, which can alter the contents of individual memory cells and introduced errors into the data a computer is handling.

50%
50%
JohnVerity
JohnVerity
1/8/2013 8:07:10 PM
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Solar Interference
I wonder how many computers are in use above, say, 10,000 feet. Must be a few, but not too many supercomputer=class machines like this one, I bet.

50%
50%
JohnVerity
JohnVerity
1/8/2013 11:33:40 AM
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Solar Interference
I am not sure that the sun can interfere with communications running thru a cable, but who knows. 

As for air flow, the problem up at those altitudes is that the air is thinner. It is colder, true, but because it is much thinner, it has much less capacity for carrying heat; it's more of a vacuum, in a way, and a vacuum has not heat carrying capacity. And, as pointed out, there are some potential problems with back up generators, which cannot run in such thin air. 

I am glad I am not the guy stationed up there to take care of the computers! Actually, there is nobody there, not regularly, anyway, so that's one problem taken care of.

I was once in the Alps at 11,000 ft., as I recall, and I immediately got a sunburn. And, I lost my breath just walking up some stairs. (I'd taken a cable car up there, not hiked!)

50%
50%
Boost
Boost
1/6/2013 8:01:22 PM
User Rank
Peta
Re: Solar Interference
Very interesting topic.  Regarding the need for more air flow to cool down a data center, I wonder if this could be mitigated that the tempertures at high altitudes are lower. However, when cold tempatures meet hot equipment, water condensation is an issue.  And changing tempatures can cause wires and other componets to crack. 

It can also affect digital displays as the liquid crystals used in the monitors can freeze. Additionally, lubricants for any moving parts such as bearings can thicken. 

Read more: Altitude Effects on Data Centers | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_10069669_altitude-effects-data-centers.html#ixzz2HFNuUs4a

50%
50%
Wisco
Wisco
1/6/2013 3:00:41 PM
User Rank
Peta
Solar Interference
What I was wondering about at that altitude was solar.

Wouldn't communications also be exposed to greater interference from the sun?

50%
50%
More Blogs from John W. Verity
A Twitter engineer has explained much of the company's approach to performance and triggered a fascinating debate about infrastructure as well.
Cloud-based computing offers major advantages that are increasingly difficult to ignore.
The chip colossus is slated soon to unveil a new design for server racks to be used in large-scale datacenters.
Companies running their own compute clouds are opting for the platform-as-a-service model as a way to make IT as a whole more agile and effective.
Serious questions are being raised about how, and if, society can cope as automation eliminates many well-paying jobs, as seems inevitable.
flash poll
follow us on twitter
like us on facebook
Datacenter Acceleration
About Us     Contact Us     Help     Register     Twitter     Facebook     RSS