Carnegie Mellon attacks the data center problem

Goals: Better understand complexities, costs, failures of the huge systems that power higher education.

Data centers are notorious for being massive and unwieldy, storing enormous amounts of data and eating up human resources to power them. A new research center has recently opened at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to study the problems of making data crunching more effiecent, reports eSchool News.

The 2,000-square-foot Data Center Observatory (DCO) will have the ability to analyze data in dense computing environments, run data mining to simulations and three-dimensional visualizations.

The DCO's research goals are to better comprehend and mitigate human administration costs and complexities, power and cooling challenges and failures, and their consequences. Researchers also aim to understand resource utilization patterns and opportunities to reduce costs by sharing resources among users.

"One thing that motivated the project was that people have come to us consistently over the years and said, 'This data center stuff is really hard and really expensive,'" said Bill Courtright, executive director of Carnegie Mellon's Parallel Data Lab (PDL), which specializes in the study of storage systems. "When you asked them to quantify that [statement], you often got the answer, 'Because it's just really hard and really expensive.'"

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