DCN May 2016 - Page 30

design & facilities management Cooling towers and air handling units draw in air from the outside that is potentially full of dust, leaves and pollen, all of which can clog system filters. COOL SOLUTION Data centre failure can be cripplingly expensive – according to one estimate, just a single minute of downtime can cost around £5,500. Effective maintenance has a huge role to play in keeping data centres running, but, more than that, it helps save energy, says John Grenville of ECEX. A ll the numbers surrounding information technology are mind blowing. For example, in 1968, a single transistor cost US $1; today, the same amount will buy you 50 million transistors. The first computer chip, built in the early1970s, contained 30 2,300 transistors; Intel now routinely produces chips containing a billion. The world’s first digital computer, the Harvard Mark I, developed in the mid-1940s, could perform three additions or subtractions in a second, and a single multiplication took six seconds; today, there is a supercomputer in the US that can perform more than a quadrillion (one thousand million million) calculations every second. And, just recently, a computer won a 4-1 victory against the world’s top human player of Go (a hideously difficult board game far more complex than chess), which demands not only strategic thinking, but also intuition and creativity.