Get Your Moldy Servers Outta My Fridge

Data Centers and Abandoned Servers

Today we’re talking about abandoned servers in the most obvious and ugly manner possible. If you’ve ever worked in an office where people bring their lunches please commiserate. Data Centers know your pain.

FT Data Center. Drew here. A lot of people ask what’s wasting the most money in data centers. You know what my answer is: abandoned servers. It is literally costing $19 billion per year according to The Green Grid. And it’s doing nothing. These are servers that literally do nothing but sit there sipping or gulping electrons from the UPS system without having any purpose. Let’s look at our data center.

Data Center Racks- Abandoned Servers

Data Center Racks

If I just look at these servers there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly amiss. They look fine (apart from the fact that they’re really blow dryers. But it’s estimated that as many as 10% of those servers might be doing absolutely nothing. The best analogy that I have comes from right here in the office.

That’s right. The office fridge. You see, there’s a lot of food in this fridge that has gone bad. Whoever put it in here has forgotten about it.

Didn’t even label it. It’s all mildewed and disgusting.

Somebody planned to eat it but now it’s been pushed to the back and I lost sight of it. And I don’t feel like I can throw it out because whoever put it here might still want this… science experiment.

Now this one actually has a name on it. It’s great that Chuck put his name on this, but our office doesn’t have a policy of when people need to clean out the fridge, so this could be weeks old. Oh. Looks like this is for today. What about this opaque container? See, servers are often more like this container here.

I have no idea what’s in this container just like many operators have no idea what’s inside a given server, or more specifically, what’s inside a given application. No one takes ownership of the application and it just festers away taking up space, making it seem like we need to build a bigger data center, or in this case, a bigger fridge. But if people would just keep track of their stuff they could get rid of it.

If it gets moldy. If they did it would save $19 billion a year. As always, thanks for watching and until next time, stay centered.



The Green Grid

National Geographic