STH Data Center Lab Update May 2016

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2016-05-05 Data Center Lab evolution
2016-05-05 Data Center Lab evolution

We opened the STH data center lab in September 2015 with two racks. Our primary objective was providing our users with some exciting new features and content. By adding additional data center racks we were able to test more and much larger gear. While in September 2015 we had three switches and two servers, we made a significant investment for the future. We took a census of the racked machines in early May 2016 and it finally looks like we have something substantial.

Since STH’s 2 racks is a fraction of the minimum requirement for the data center, we are using a reseller, Tranquil Hosting to get us space, power and bandwidth. So far that has worked extremely well even though we were some of the first people to move gear into the new data center. We still do operate racks in other data centers for 120V testing, web hosting and etc, but Sunnyvale has become our primary lab facility.

Here is a quick look at the lab’s progress in the last 8 months:

2016-05-05 Data Center Lab Evolution
2016-05-05 Data Center Lab Evolution

Here are some key stats as of May 5, 2016 (and this does change quite a bit weekly):

  • Total rack units available: 90 (2x 45U racks)
  • Total power per rack: 30A @ 208V for about 24A usable.
  • Nodes: 33
  • CPUs: 50
  • CPU Cores: 672
  • GPUs: 32
  • RAM: 4.5TB
  • SSD Storage: 100TB
  • HDD Storage: 100TB
  • Number of switches: 9
  • 10Gb switch ports: 212 (48 are 10Gbase-T)
  • 40Gb switch ports: 20 (this will likely grow soon)
  • Vendors currently represented in the lab: 14
  • Bi-weekly churn (nodes in/out of racks): 5

As you might notice, we are not running a full load 24×7 which is how we are able to maintain this much infrastructure in two racks. We have zero production workloads which helps immensely.

The biggest challenge thus far has been working with so many different vendors and having so much hardware going in and out of the lab. Cabling is an absolute nightmare just because of the wide array of gear that we test as well as the churn.

If you are thinking, that sounds like way too much infrastructure for what STH is currently doing, stay tuned to STH over the next few weeks. We have some very exciting announcements coming.

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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

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