Data and server centers are what keep businesses running and, most importantly, give us the Internet, but there is a big problem with them: the stunning failure of using energy properly. Computer scientists at Cornell University have proposed an unexpected solution to the problem.
Cornell University is an American private Ivy League research university located in Ithaca, New York, United States.
What the computer scientists working there have come up with is a data center design, called Cayley Data Center (Arthur Cayley is a mathematician whose work inspired it all), that doesn't use any area network switches and also does not share the layout of the conglomerates known to waste 90% of all the power they eat (which is most of them, sadly)
Half of the idea is to employ 60 GHz wireless transceivers that transmit 10 meters from the source and don't interfere with nearby activity. That the technology inside them is cheap is only a nice bonus.
The other half of the concept is for the servers to be made round and stacked like a cake, or piles of compact disks, only set vertically. Each server rack would be shaped like a wedge, like cake slices.
The scientists point out that much of the energy eaten by today's centers goes into the switches on top of each server rack stack.
Since the wireless data center does not need such things, it brings a second benefit: no cable clutter. This permits the new arrangement mentioned above, where servers are mounted vertically in cylindrical racks, with the 60 GHz transceiver on the outside and inside of each server.
The racks would be arranged in rows and connect wirelessly to eight others, while the transceivers on the inner ends would connect servers within the rack.
And since this is line-of-sight wireless connectivity, the signals get to move from rack to rack, always across the shortest direction.
The Cayley Data Center uses a twelfth of the power needed by a conventional data center and needs, again, only a twelfth of the money to be built. As for reliability, the researchers found that 59% of the serves would have to fail before communications break down between them. Needless to say, the odds of administrators not catching on to a problem before that stage is reached are astronomical.