Why a Fish Tank Data Center?

Data Centers can be a bewildering world of tech concepts that are so completely abstracted from reality that they’re almost invisible. We literally call them a cloud even though they’re complex behemoths of electrical, mechanical, plumbing systems. FT data center is here to make that entire world simple and digestible in short, informative videos for the general public.

Welcome to FT Data Center. Drew here. So, you might have been wondering why we call the show FT data center. Well, some of you might have guessed that our signature prop is indeed a fish tank and that fish tank has the initials FT and then correctly surmised that FT stands for fish tank. To the rest of you, don’t feel bad, we called the show FT because wanted to make sure that nobody thought this show would only be about a fish tank. We’re here to talk about any and every possible aspect of data center design and operation. But the dumb, reaching goal of this series is to literally make our fish tank into a world class ultra high efficiency tier IV data center filled with sixteen (or more) actual servers capable of supporting the full open stack framework. Granted, these servers will be Raspberry Pi2 nodes, each of which is only 900mhz, but the whole point is to walk you through all of the options available to real world data centers using this fish tank. And we’re serious here. This is going to be a tier IV data center with dual UPS, redundant cooling, fire rated walls, independent electrical rooms, 24/7 monitoring of all systems and high efficiency backup generators. We’re determined to show people how to meet all Uptime Institute requirements and ISO standards, albeit in a fish tank. We’re going to be using our pi’s for both our compute nodes and also to control our HVAC and switching equipment. It may take us a very long time, but by the end we will compare our design to the Uptime Institute criteria and see how close we can possibly get.

We’re also going to use this as a test bed for different air conditioning and power technologies to showcase concepts using household items in a way that’s accessible for everybody, not just data center experts. Once our data center is done we’re going to open it up as a public openstack cluster capable of somewhere around 10 gigaflops, or roughly the capacity of the ETA-10 supercomputer, the fastest in the world… In 1987. We may choose to install a GPU array or other high performance computing systems but… I mean… It’s a fish tank. Come on guys. The point here is to use this as an example of real world infrastructure like power, cooling, networking and monitoring systems. Here’s a quick overview of the proposed components of our system.

Two 20 amp extension cords. Two arduino controlled automatic transfer switches. Two generators, one of which will have an automatic starter, the other human powered. One photovoltaic array with optional inverter. One wind turbine with optional inverter. Four surge protector plug strips. Two 350 watt UPS units. Two manual UPS bypass switches. Two custom built HVAC systems capable of adiabatic direct and indirect economization as well as DX backup. Two dual corded Power supplies. Two 8 port network switches. And finally, sixteen Raspberry Pi 2 computers.

Keep checking back in with us for more tutorials and as you do, you’ll see more and more progress in our fish tank data center until, just maybe, it’s as good as Amazon’s or Google’s best… It almost definitely won’t be, but that’s ok. We have a lot of fun stuff planned between now and then. As always, thanks for watching and until next time, stay centered.

ACArduino switchbike-diagram-470blow dryergeneratorextension cord

Data Center Heat Exchanger

Data Center Heat Exchanger

network switchplug stripSolar_cellUPSwind turbine data center













For more info:

Uptime Institute