ID University: Data Center 101 – Part 1

By Michelle Bramson, Marketing Coordinator

Every Thursday morning, Integrated Design Group (ID) has a unique weekly staff meeting referred to as “ID University”. ID University is not your typical boring staff meeting; these meetings consist of insightful presentations from our staff that shed light on current topics or projects that are happening within the company. Though ID has both a Boston and Dallas office, through web-conferencing, both offices are able to present with one another. Last week’s presentation, Data Center 101, may have been two years in the making, but proved that it will be a great tool for our company for years to come.

ID architect, Mike Proscia, kicked off the first installment of Data Center 101. In this series, the staff at ID, whether long time employees, new hires or co-ops, went back to the basics to help pull together the history and evolution of the data center.  Mike’s presentation began in the 1930s with the first variation of a data center and ended in present day. He also highlighted major data center topics like the data center market, data center models and design considerations.

First electronic general-purpose computer.
First electronic general-purpose computer.

Mike began with two current definitions for data centers, as well as a great quote from the book Data Space“The data center is the physical manifestation of the cloud, the factory of the 21st Century.” Next, he discussed the origins of the data center beginning in the 1930s. First implemented during World War II the British supercomputer ‘Colossus’ was used to crack German codes. Up to ten Colossi were housed in an existing estate outside of London, creating the first data center. Mike proceeded through the 1960s to current day; going through the 1973 Xerox Alto, the 1990s use of the server and today’s Cloud. In speaking about the Cloud, he posed the question, “What effects might more data in a smaller foot print have on the data center in the future?”

Another important topic covered in this presentation was design considerations. In a quick list, Mike discussed IT requirements, geographic risks, connectivity, security and climate. During the presentation, Mike provided a map that highlighted where data centers were located across the globe. You can check out the map on datacentermaps.com. Mike, who recently became a LEED accredited professional, took us through the codes and standards for data centers, such as LEED, Uptime, NFPA and PUE.  He went on to explain that each state has specific codes to follow, as well as some counties, cities and towns, which can be challenging when designing a facility.

Concluding the presentation, Mike showed some design examples of industry trends and energy efficient data centers. He spoke about the importance of economizers, renewable energy and having efficient HVAC systems. Additionally, we took a look at a few “less conventional” data centers to stress the fact that there’s plenty of room for innovation in this industry. Among those data centers were Yahoo’s “Chicken Coop” Data Center, Facebook’s Data Center as well as the MareNostrum supercomputer in Barcelona and Norway’s Green Mountain Data Center. ID University will continue next week with a follow-up presentation, Data Center 101, Part 2, with help from ID Mechanical Engineer, Ishtiaq Haque and Electrical Engineering Co-op, Dan Sheehey.

Yahoo's "Chicken Coop" Data Center
Yahoo’s “Chicken Coop” Data Center

One thought on “ID University: Data Center 101 – Part 1

  1. This is the perfect webpage for anyone who wants to understand this topic.

    You realize a whole lot its almost hard to argue with
    you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You definitely
    put a new spin on a topic that has been discussed for a long time.
    Great stuff, just wonderful!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s