[Aaron] has been working at iweb hosting for about 5 years. When he started, the number of servers was small enough that managing them was fairly painless and could be done by just manually verifying that everything was operational. As the number of servers grew, this task became more and more difficult. They employed various methods of tracking problems, but found them all lacking in one way or another. They got an idea to build a Defcon status page based on all of the information collected about their server status. The page was built and all rejoiced. As with most projects, they just couldn’t leave it alone. Next, they built an android app to be able to see the defcon status from their phones. As cool as that was, they felt they needed to have yet another way to keep track. They What you see above is the prototype for the office defcon status display. It is extremely simple, using an Arduino (yes, we know, massive overkill) to receive status updates to change the display number. [Aaron] says that right now it is a mess, and you have to shield it from the light with your hands to see it, but it works. What should the next step be? A giant Alpha Numeric LED indicator? A nixie tube?
The growing demands of Microsoft’s core customers necessitate dramatic alterations in the way Microsoft’s data centers are set up. Before their server racks were replaced one at a time, Microsoft’s new solution to server management is to truck in servers in sealed shipping containers and set them up without even taking them out. If a core number of servers start to fail within the shipping container it is removed, returned to the manufacturer, and replaced. This strategy helps Microsoft manage the desires of its consumer base for search, video, photo services and other services provided under the Microsoft Online umbrella. Although Microsoft’s method of server management makes the process of running data centers more efficient, thereby saving costs and power, Microsoft still has to contend with old networking protocols. It’s counting on the industry to innovate in these areas.
[via Boing Boing]