Data Center Knowledge - Microsoft Azure Launches Monster Cloud Instances

The architecture of servers in the data center is changing. Scalability and simplicity are some of the key design elements. Don’t forget that you can apply these same design considerations to your in-house data center for more flexibility and less management overhead. And if you need help, the Indianapolis IT infrastructure experts can help.

Microsoft today announced that it was sharing a number of new designs for its cloud servers to improve efficiency and reduce the cost of management.

Microsoft updates its open server design with a battery in every box
New systems also add commodity SSDs for faster storage.

Last year, Microsoft joined the Open Compute Project to join Facebook and other companies to share the designs of the custom servers it uses in its large data centers. By sharing designs and standardizing across companies, the companies involved can reduce costs and increase the range of hardware options available.

The servers are built for high density and high efficiency. The first version of the Open CloudServer specification (OCS) servers Microsoft published packed 24 server blades into a 12U chassis. Compute blades included a pair of Ivy Bridge-based Intel Xeon processors, up to 192GB RAM, one or two 10gigE ports, and up to four disks; storage blades packed in ten disks. The 12U units share power and networking infrastructure.

The second generation OCS servers, announced today, increase the efficiency and performance. The processors are bumped to Haswell-based Xeons, and the networking upgraded to 40gigE.

The more exotic changes are from the handling of power. The power supplies of each 12U unit now include lithium-ion batteries, something Microsoft calls Local Energy Storage. While lithium-ion batteries are routinely used to power computers—laptops use them—that’s not where Microsoft sourced the units for its servers. Instead, it’s using batteries from the power tool industry. They’re cheap, proven, and abundantly available.

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About Tony Johnson

Innovative helps you balance your business requirements, service levels, staff and infrastructure to make your IT as effective as possible. Tony Johnson is Vice President of Operations at Innovative and has been helping clients optimize their IT spend and operations since 1983.

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