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Could you run your data centre on a mobile phone?

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Allow me to offer some food for thought. The following equipment was found within the data centre of a client of ours, still running equipment, until decommissioned very recently:

  • Compaq Proliant DL360G1
  • Dual Pentium III CPZ at 800MHz
  • 256MB RAM
  • Two 18GB hard drives
  • 32GB data storage

Compare this with the components and features of an iPhone 5:

  • Inbuilt UPS
  • Clean shutdown when power no longer available
  • Dual core CPU 1.2 GHz
  • 1000MB RAM
  • 64GB data storage
  • Robust and portable design, able to operate within a wide temperature range

Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet around the world are millions of mobile phones abandoned for the latest model, much like a rebellious pop star upgrading his girlfriend. And often, the devices are little more than a year old.

When you think about it, each device has the potential to provide the base for an individual low cost server, with their low voltage DC power requirement and inbuilt UPS (battery) making them ideal for use where there is an unpredictable national power supply, or where they are reliant on self-generated solar or wind power. And what’s more? These devices require little or no cooling and need little infrastructure support. If this could be achieved while leaving the phone intact, modifying only its operating system, the cost to market for businesses, as well as the service operation cost, could be reduced dramatically, removing the need for bespoke data centres with heavy self-generation plants, UPS, and advanced cooling systems…

When you factor in the net space required for hosting such equipment, and the achievable computing minutes per square metre, it seems like a logical use of the equipment. I wonder if anyone’s tried it yet? Google seems to suggest not!

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