[Beowulf] Servers Too Hot? Intel Recommends a Luxurious Oil Bath

Douglas Eadline deadline at eadline.org
Wed Sep 5 11:46:55 PDT 2012

> I'm not sure that google actually does servicing per se.. they mark it
> dead, and just move on.  The cost to service (or even to diagnose) is
> probably higher than the cost of just overprovisioning.

I would assume this as well. Over provision for an expected
decay rate and life cycle. Colonizing insects figured this
out already.


> Jim Lux
> -----Original Message-----
> From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On
> Behalf Of Robert G. Brown
> Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2012 6:15 AM
> To: Ellis H. Wilson III
> Cc: beowulf at beowulf.org
> Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Servers Too Hot? Intel Recommends a Luxurious Oil
> Bath
> On Tue, 4 Sep 2012, Ellis H. Wilson III wrote:
>> Yes, Google does house these containers in a fairly basic building,
>> but there is no reason I can think of why it couldn't put them out in
>> the open and run all wires, etc, into the ground instead.  I think
>> they just put them in a building for convenience to the maintainers,
>> rather than for some property of the building itself that would enable
>> the containers to work better.
> Google in particular, though, lives and dies by means of instantaneous
> access to parts.  A computer is to them as a mere neuron is to us -- nodes
> fail in their cluster at the rate of many a day, and are replaced almost
> immediately the way they have things set up.  This is multiply economical
> for them -- minimum downtime, minimum human costs (because it is EASY and
> FAST for them to pop a node out and a new one in), minimum hardware costs
> because IIRC a "node" for them is literally a motherboard, memory, CPU and
> it just fits into a harness in the trailers, I don't think they even
> bother with a proper enclosure per motherboard.  Over the counter,
> commodity, cheap, almost hardware agnostic.
> Which are all reasons that it would be a terrible idea for Google to fill
> the containers with any sort of gas or immerse the nodes in oil or use any
> sort of non-contained direct-contact liquid to cool them.  It would take
> ten times as long to replace a node, literally.  It would mean (very
> probably) that they'd have to "mess" with the nodes in some way putting
> them in -- I don't see normal CPU cooling fans moving oil, for example, or
> there would be custom plumbing to a per-CPU, per-Mobo water cooled sink
> that wouldn't work or would have to be replace if they changed Mobo, or
> the fire/explosion risk and need to pump down an entire container in order
> to replace a single motherboard, which might come with a need to SHUT DOWN
> the entire container while this was going on.
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