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NSA's New Utah Data Center Suffering Meltdowns

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the high-grade-shadenfreude dept.

Data Storage 241

linuxwrangler writes "NSA's new Utah data-center has been suffering numerous power-surges that have caused as much as $100,000 damage per event. The root cause is 'not yet sufficiently understood' but is suspected to relate to the site's 'inability to simultaneously run computers and keep them cool.' Frustrating the analysis and repair are 'incomplete information about the design of the electrical system' and the fact that "regular quality controls in design and construction were bypassed in an effort to fast track the Utah project."" Ars Technica has a short article, too, as does ITworld.

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241 comments

good? (0)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 10 months ago | (#45070715)

maybe this is okay.

Re:good? (3, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 10 months ago | (#45070853)

in the 'new america' you can't know if this kind of article is a fishing trap to find people who vocally disagree with the NSA.

it seems like east germany from a decade or two (or 3) ago. people were always wondering who is a spy. the guy next door? your teacher? your boss? you never knew. the mistrust ran very deep.

welcome to the new USA where the same feelings are now 'imported' and we wonder who is real, who is a plant and who is a double agent. we have to worry about everything we say and if it could be taken out of context or misinterpreted.

great. just great. chilling effect on steroids.

Re:good? (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 10 months ago | (#45070935)

I'm conflicted about your post. I think it's good to point out why the NSA spying on everything is a good thing to people who might otherwise be apathetic, but I think you engage in hyperbole which might cause more people to ignore the situation and write it off as paranoia.

Maybe suggest that COULD happen if we don't take steps to pare down the NSA now rather than suggesting it's something you're already worried about.

Not saying you're wrong, just that the NSA is spending a lot of time and effort (and money) on PR to convince the public they have nothing to fear. We need to similarly think about PR concerns in order to have a chance of opposing it.

Re:good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071095)

Maybe suggest that COULD happen if we don't take steps to pare down the NSA now rather than suggesting it's something you're already worried about.
Been doing that for 10 years. Now I'm not so sure its hyperbole anymore.

Re:good? (1)

BreakBad (2955249) | about 10 months ago | (#45071137)

It's rare to see the human race be proactive on issues of this scale. The NSA's "spying" is probably a baby-step towards just more of the same. With a couple changes in management, throw in a few more incidents....who knows. Cannot predict the future but you sure can hyperbole the fuck out of it.

Re:good? (5, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 10 months ago | (#45071445)

Maybe you missed the article a few days ago about how the US is barring critics/dissidents from entering the country? Not criminals, not "terrorists", simply people who disagree cannot travel freely. This really is a police state now, and it's only a matter of time before the 1st Amendment becomes about as well honored as the 2nd, which is to say wholly selectively suiting the needs of the state based on arbitrary standards the founders were explicitly against in their writings.

Re:good? (3, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about 10 months ago | (#45071711)

" it's only a matter of time before the 1st Amendment becomes about as well honored as the 2nd"

It's about time we had reasonable, common sense restrictions on the press. Scented inserts and metallic type should be illegal in magazines. No one needs high speed printing presses which can automatically feed reams of paper - they should be restricted for government and military use. Private citizens will still be able to use hand fed mimeograph machines, so their rights won't be violated. Anyone publishing news should have to be licensed, with a journalism degree from an accredited university.

buy me Bonestorm or go to hell! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 10 months ago | (#45070983)

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

-- some godless pinko and human trafficer


give me apathy or give me cheetos

Re: buy me Bonestorm or go to hell! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071311)

Or give me both? Both is better

Re:good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071047)

I seriously doubt they're doing that as 'vocal dissenters' aren't likely to cause them any real problems. I know many people who feel as I do.. if I ever discovered the identity of an NSA employee I would gladly share that information with as many people as I could and I doubt even that bothers them much.

If I were them I'd be more worried about the next Edward Snowden. This was a guy who did the right thing for the right reasons but how many more are there in the NSA? Its true that working for them requires a lack of morals so most people wont go to the press but I bet theres dozens or hundreds who would do it for the wrong reasons. There must be a lot of large corporations and government who can offer all kinds of enticing things for access to their data and I really doubt they can stop it.. their competence isnt up to the task.

Re:good? (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 10 months ago | (#45071093)

Who knew that The Prisoner would be a template for America less than fifty years later. I just wish my computer and phone would spray drugs at me on occasion. "Be seeing you"

Re:good? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071211)

The NSA doesn't need you or I or our children to spy for them. Everything they want to know is willingly provided to them, by us, in real time. The Stasi had informants everywhere, which put people on their guard. Most people today don't think twice about saying things, because there are no daily reminders that somebody could be listening. That's far more frightening, in my book.

Re:good? (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 10 months ago | (#45071983)

I think it's more that many people now want to be constantly monitored. They wouldn't announce their every move on Facebook and Twitter if they were interested in privacy.

Re:good? (5, Funny)

Thavilden (1613435) | about 10 months ago | (#45071565)

If only they could harness that chilling effect to cool their data centers, then the NSA would be good to go.

Re:good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071663)

It could be a recruitment article, also. They clearly need help and pay well.

Re:good? (5, Funny)

BreakBad (2955249) | about 10 months ago | (#45070909)

The NSA started scanning itself causing infinite recursion....like looking at yourself through a mirror through a mirror, except digitally. I have infinite bank accounts and I have infinite hits on cougarfinder.com

Re:good? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 10 months ago | (#45071067)

Polygamy Porn. It's like drinking from a firehose.

Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed.

damn horny Mormons (3, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | about 10 months ago | (#45071193)

Maybe they shouldn't have built it in Utah [pcworld.com] ?


More likely they didn't account in the power budget for the seven secret sub-basements and the underground vacutrain for the reptoids to commute from the Denver International Airport.
honestly, it's like the right hand doesn't know what the left talon is doing these days. [xkcd.com]

Re:good? (3, Insightful)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 10 months ago | (#45070975)

We'll just be footing the bill.

Re:good? (5, Funny)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 10 months ago | (#45071013)

Wow are they hosting Apples mapping application?

Re:good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071037)

I mean, I guess this is more time for them to clean up before having visitors over.

STUXNET II (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 10 months ago | (#45071163)

The Blowback!

Good! (1)

tomkost (944194) | about 10 months ago | (#45070729)

I hope the whole place melts down or any type of natural disaster. These tools will be used against the evil and the good alike.

Re:Good! (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#45070939)

I'm less convinced that it will actually be used against the evil. Especially in the resulting balance of use.

Re:Good! (1)

tomkost (944194) | about 10 months ago | (#45071079)

I agree wholeheartedly, unfortunately...

Re:Good! (3, Insightful)

disposable60 (735022) | about 10 months ago | (#45071411)

Doesn't it depend on your definition of evil? To a dedicated Statist, the Bill of Rights is "just a damned piece of paper" in which the rights of the Polity are fully enumerated - until exigencies make them inconvenient. The danger is that only dedicated Statists make it to the highest positions of Authority.

Iranian Stuxnet? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45070755)

Hmm...so your equipment is randomly failing...you don't say?

Re:Iranian Stuxnet? (4, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45071409)

Iranian Stuxnet? No, just government contractors on a rush job that badly documented and cut corners on a sensitive aspect of the design that controls massive resources (power (65 megawatts - enough to power a small city), cooling, etc.) critical to the function of the datacenter. This is generally referred to as, “your tax dollars at work.”

Re:Iranian Stuxnet? (2)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 10 months ago | (#45071493)

Given they apparently haven't even switched on any computers there yet, presumably the cyberattack fun still hasn't begun.

This raises the question of where they're processing all their existing data. Fort Meade ran out of electricity some time ago, from what I understand, so presumably they have some other big datacenters in other places.

Re:Iranian Stuxnet? (3, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 10 months ago | (#45071745)

Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

Re:Iranian Stuxnet? (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 10 months ago | (#45072059)

Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

All right, let's explain it that way. Let's also make sure that incompetence is punished, while we're at it.

Can't analyse all their 'adversaries' (2)

stewsters (1406737) | about 10 months ago | (#45070769)

Save yourself some trouble and stop spying on your own people then.

Nelson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45070795)

Ha Ha

Good (1)

rcb1974 (654474) | about 10 months ago | (#45070817)

Respect our right to privacy. Stop the snooping. I am upset and ashamed that the people of Utah have allowed this spy center to be built in their state. I had higher expectations of them. They should have cherished our individual liberties, upheld the Constitution, and told the Federal government take their spy center elsewhere.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45070945)

Considering what the US did to the Mormons you think they would have a little bit of distrust. But the government knows that good church drones make good government drones.

Re:Good (2)

sls1j (580823) | about 10 months ago | (#45071131)

Trust me as a Mormon and at Utahn I very must distrust the government, and have been dismayed and angered that this monster has found a home in my state.

Ah well, (2)

syntheticmemory (1232092) | about 10 months ago | (#45070835)

It probably lacks certification from the Department of Redundancy Department anyway...

Re:Ah well, (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#45071099)

Just wondering... Does that come in triplicate carbon copies?

A case of Poetic Justice? (1)

dryriver (1010635) | about 10 months ago | (#45070861)

You set out to snoop on the minutiae of the lives of tens of millions of innocent people. Then your data center melts down... Perhaps God/Angels had something to do with this? =)

Your tax dollars at work. (5, Funny)

generic_screenname (2927777) | about 10 months ago | (#45070863)

The only thing that will save us from the massive dragnet of the NSA is apparently the incompetence of the NSA.

Re:Your tax dollars at work. (5, Insightful)

Professr3 (670356) | about 10 months ago | (#45070901)

Bureaucratic incompetence has been the strongest protector of civil liberties to date :\

Re:Your tax dollars at work. (0)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 10 months ago | (#45071267)

Bureaucratic incompetence has been the strongest protector of civil liberties to date

Wait until one of the aggrieved nations decides to do a 'limited kinetic action' on this facility - only to cripple the capabilities of a program that's being run in violation of international law.

I'm sure DC will simply view it as judicious global policing against a rogue power.

Re:Your tax dollars at work. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071277)

Bureaucratic incompetence has been the strongest protector of civil liberties to date :\

Oh God no it isn't.

When SWAT teams go to the wrong house because of bureaucratic incompetence, that's about the worst possible violation of civil liberties.

The government is so damn powerful and our media so damn uncritical of it that there really is no protection any more.

Can we at least agree to stop feeding the growth of the beast? Shut the whole damn thing down. Don't raise the debt ceiling.

Re:Your tax dollars at work. (2)

atgaaa (1869296) | about 10 months ago | (#45071307)

We will be told more money will solve the problem. Closing it down will solve the problem also.

Re:Your tax dollars at work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071587)

The only thing that will save us from the massive dragnet of the NSA is apparently the incompetence of the NSA.

Because God knows that the American people themselves surely won't. Ya, they will bitch and whinge about it but then American Idol comes on TV and they go back to eating junk food.

I honestly don't understand. (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 10 months ago | (#45070871)

The submission had one article, the editors linked to two more.
ALL THREE ARTICLES REFERENCE & LINK TO THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Is it so hard to include a link to the source of this story?
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304441404579119490744478398.html [wsj.com]
(Google Cache just in case [googleusercontent.com] /. does this far too often and I hope to see better in the future

Re:I honestly don't understand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071835)

You're missing the point. /. editors attempted to improve the submission!

Power management (4, Interesting)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | about 10 months ago | (#45070873)

They probably used a power budget similar to the public Facebook datacenter data but then decided to run their machines on Windows Azure.
I have noticed that power consumption of my computers is significantly higher when running Windows - and the laptops have seriously reduced battery life, even while doing nothing.

I always smile when I see that product name (4, Funny)

Marrow (195242) | about 10 months ago | (#45071271)

From: "The Edge Of Darkness" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090424 [imdb.com]

"Craven: The word azure is a police intelligence term. It means the room is bugged or under some sort of electronic surveillance"

A perfect name for a cloud computing product.

Re:Power management (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071861)

Interesting since I get the opposite result with Windows 8 compared to daily Ubuntu on my Surface Pro.

Porn the more likely cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45070877)

The more likely cause is too much porn overheating the CPUs.

"HA-hah!" - Nelson (2)

pla (258480) | about 10 months ago | (#45070917)

Someone explain to me why the holy bloody fuck these enemies of the American people haven't taken an involuntary 8-day vacation along with the rest of the noncritical federal government?

Re:"HA-hah!" - Nelson (1)

h4nk (1236654) | about 10 months ago | (#45071551)

I actually in my head said "HA-hah!"

Surprised they didn't take from google's play book (1)

segmond (34052) | about 10 months ago | (#45070951)

afterall google revealed a good amount on how they go about building their data centers and keeping it cool. But then again, contractors...

Re:Surprised they didn't take from google's play b (3, Funny)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 10 months ago | (#45071057)

afterall google revealed a good amount on how they go about building their data centers and keeping it cool. But then again, contractors...

Rule #1 of government spending: why by one, when you can have two at twice the price?
Rule #2 of government spending: a penny saved is a spending oversight.

Graft. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45070961)

Secret budgets. No bid contracts. Endless graft. Pork.

The NSA is a money pit. Welfare for private business who perpetuate endless war for a buck.

You get (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45070973)

You get what you give, you give the world shit, you get shit...
payback is a bitch...

Probably just electrical under-design (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45070979)

If they fast-tracked the project, they probably didn't have an electrical engineer do a load analysis. I wouldn't be surprised they are tripping panel main breakers, but not individual load breakers. This tends to give a nice inductive kickback to the system, which can cascade into tripping superficially unrelated circuits.

Re:Probably just electrical under-design (5, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 10 months ago | (#45071275)

If they fast-tracked the project, they probably didn't have an electrical engineer do a load analysis.

In my experience, some engineer probably DID the analysis, but they ignored him/her because it would take too long to do it right. The revision 1 Blue prints where already under contract and it would take too long to process a change order. Of course, everybody KNEW that the design had a fatal flaw, at least until the program management started leaving like rats from a sinking ship and their replacements where not aware (or told) of the problems.

The original engineer is then tasked with fixing the problem with about 1/4 the resources necessary and no authority to actually make any changes to the project. Every time there is a power failure and equipment gets smoked, the engineer is blamed for not having the "problem" fixed. His performance rating takes a dive at the next performance review and he either quits in frustration or gets fired.

That's what happens in large government projects... At least in my experience...

Let's see. . . Data Center in Dry Climate. .. (3, Insightful)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 10 months ago | (#45070995)

. . .eats huge amounts of power, not large amounts of water for cooling.

And thus, power requirements go up, pushing the limits of your provisioned electrical infrastructure.

And extremely-high-capacity circuit breakers tend to be explody when they fail. My guess: someone used some REALLY bad assumptions for electrical infrastructure planning. . .

Re:Let's see. . . Data Center in Dry Climate. .. (4, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 10 months ago | (#45071219)

My guess: someone used some REALLY bad assumptions for electrical infrastructure planning. . .

Hey, don't be too hard on the electrical engineers - James Clapper told them that the power requirements would be really low.

Re:Let's see. . . Data Center in Dry Climate. .. (4, Insightful)

linuxwrangler (582055) | about 10 months ago | (#45071287)

Works for Switch in Las Vegas. Cold in winter and cools off at night so 70% of annual hours they can pull in ambient air through filters. Evaporative cooling, whether direct or to cool the hot-side of a refrigerated system, works best in dry climates but it's only used to improve efficiency as they can run fine with air-cooling albeit at much higher power costs.

I'm still surprised at the number of places that think cooling is optional. We had equipment in a Sacramento data-center that had plenty of backup electricity for servers but couldn't run the AC in a power outage. The SLA only had provisions for exceeding 80-degrees for more than something like 90 or 120 minutes. *Ahem*, cold-comfort when a dense data-center can blow through 100 in minutes without AC.

UC Berkeley had a widespread power outage about a week ago. The main campus data center had power but, you guessed it, couldn't run cooling and had to "gracefully" shut down most of the core systems while watching the center breach 100F.

But I agree with your base assumption - really bad planning and/or execution on the power systems.

Re:Let's see. . . Data Center in Dry Climate. .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071641)

I don't think you can plan everything to the fourth decimal. At some point, design gives way to monitoring - you need to measure environmentals, be able to correlate it to load, and have an emergency plan if you're going out of bounds. There is simply no excuse for running equipment until it physically fails.

So maybe the universe does have a sense of humor - the NSA failed miserably because they didn't put enough importance on monitoring.

Well, well. (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#45071007)

I, for one, definitely trust an outfit that can't size a bloody datacenter power distribution system to build those magic technical safeguards that are allegedly allowing a spying operation of unprecedented size to occur with no abuses (And that's no bullshit!)

I wonder if we could convince them to switch to a utility that conducts background checks on electrons before sending them to the customer? That would clearly help...

'incomplete information . . .' (2)

hduff (570443) | about 10 months ago | (#45071021)

'incomplete information about the design of the electrical system'

Well, duh, it's secret.

Re: 'incomplete information . . .' (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#45071513)

No, knowing govt projects. Nothing labelled and changes made on the fly that are not documented. One building they had 48 breakers and NONE labeled.

Really? They're missing some information? (1)

Jean Taureau (2195790) | about 10 months ago | (#45071031)

> Frustrating the analysis and repair are 'incomplete information about the design of the electrical system'
Why don't they just snoop the needed information off the contractor's network?

Uh oh, how did Stuxnet get here? (SSIA) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071033)

SSIA but form wouldn't accept a subject-only comment

That's a shame. (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about 10 months ago | (#45071039)

Cry me a river, and all that.

Such is the life of a government project.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071083)

Just theorizing, but I'd venture to say:

1) Army Corp project and design
2) Lowest Bidders (if not for the prime, at least for the sub contractors)
3) Multiple Change Orders
4) Multiple on the Fly revisions
5) GOTO 1 Repeat till deadline.

Re:Such is the life of a government project.... (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 10 months ago | (#45071295)

Multiple on the fly changes are, alas, typical in Federal projects.

The Classic case of project fail due to this:

Who Killed the Virtual Case File ?? [ieee.org]

Re:Such is the life of a government project.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071903)

As is the case with any gov project I've done that had more than a $10k cost.

$10k, there's only so much they can attempt to change before the job is complete. $6k, you're pretty much in the clear.

$100k+ all hell will start to break loose.

$1mil+ and smaller companies go under because they can't keep up with all the changes.

good i hope the whole motherfucker burns down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071085)

fuck off and die, and btw, god hates you, study the equations of electromagnetism (the Dirac equation among others) and you'l see for yourself if your brain is any larger than an ant

Nelson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071143)

HA HA

Those darn Gremlins.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071175)

No the movie, but the folk legend kind http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gremlin.
Or could it be a computer bug? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:H96566k.jpg

Wile E. Coyote, running on air to get to safety (5, Insightful)

Catbeller (118204) | about 10 months ago | (#45071185)

This isn't the result of incompetence - rather the result of trying to racing to finish the thing before any more opposition builds up that may stop the project. Wile E. Coyote trying to run on air, knowing it's impossible, but trying to get to the cliff before gravity notices the flagrant violation.

When that monster is done - and it seems that they are turning it on *right now*, this week - human history is done as we understand it. We will all behave as though someone is watching and recording us, because they will be.

Scientology is going to *love* this - one stop shopping for all its spying needs. The NSA just last week asked permission for private corporations to access their new trove of data, Because Terrorism. The Unification Church and Scientology will be first in line with front corporations to drink deep of this wonderful new integrated terrorism enabling center - terrorism because bad guys like Scientology will be able to terrorize people with fresh, holistic super-knowledge not only of who they are, what they say, what they read and where they've been, but also of everyone their enemies ever talk to, email, walk next to, text or write to. That center isn't about just metadata, it's the *actual phone conversations* that will be recorded. Don't ever piss off the powerful, 'cause they can nail you and anyone who ever contacts you until you give up. Blackmail, extortion, we-know-where-you-kids-are... anything. And the coolest part is that it will all be secret! Persecutors with behind stage access to the NSA superboxes and analytic tools won't even be logged in any real sense. Political opposition, nullified, instantly. The possibilities for our brave new world owners are limitless.

Build your data centre in the desert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071233)

People with even one brain cell functioning know the biggest problem in the USA is how government projects have to be spread across EVERY State, no matter how inefficient of inappropriate this is. So, in a nation that spreads from some of the hottest to some of the coldest places in that part of the world, you build your data centres in the hottest place, and then complain when cooling them is an issue. Well let me tell you straight- the rest of the world applauds such American stupidity.

As the USA becomes a vile, evil, genocidal cancer spreading across my planet, the ONLY thing us decent Humans assume can give Humanity any hope for the future is the notorious inherent corruption present in the 'UNITED' STATES. The full surveillance programs of NSA are simply another means to growing the US war-machine unchecked, until the time that war machine is fully unleashed across the globe. The real rulers of the USA do NOT know exactly how they will start their World War, but they do know that so long as the US war machine grows massively every year, and the US sheeple are are converted into worshippers of this war-machine, and aggressive war itself, at some point they WILL find the straw that breaks the camel's back.

So we decent people take small comfort at the missteps like this Utah story, or the revelations of Bill Gates' work with the NSA found in the Xbox One, or the failure of Obama to holocaust hundreds of thousands of Humans in Syria, but we do no doubt that one day the monsters will have their last straw.

Re:Build your data centre in the desert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071393)

>>>People with even one brain cell functioning know the biggest problem in the USA is how government projects have to be spread across EVERY State, no matter how inefficient of inappropriate this is.

If only that was our "biggest" problem like you claim.

Re:Build your data centre in the desert (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#45071485)

Dont make us come there and look for WMD's in your back yard.

Well..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071255)

This is what happens when you go with the lowest bidder.

That's what happens when... (1)

mrflash818 (226638) | about 10 months ago | (#45071259)

...the NSA tries to tail -f the [censored] planet!

; )

Shot self in foot? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#45071269)

Frustrating the analysis and repair are 'incomplete information about the design of the electrical system' and the fact that "regular quality controls in design and construction were bypassed in an effort to fast track the Utah project."

This sounds like someone was in such a great hurry to get their shiny new toy that they bypassed a lot of the steps they should have followed.

And, somehow I doubt there's a lot of sympathy for the NSA here on Slashdot.

Here's hoping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071285)

Here's hoping it stays down until we can reign in the NSA.

Disclosure Project (1)

watcher-rv4 (2712547) | about 10 months ago | (#45071325)

Seems NSA has also pissed off some UFOs and they are doing their magic. Thanks!

meltdown couldn't have happened (3, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about 10 months ago | (#45071331)

to a nicer data center...

Karma (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071359)

is probably the main cause

It's the little things in life you treasure (2)

Daetrin (576516) | about 10 months ago | (#45071371)

I'm sure it won't last, nothing this good ever does, but let's enjoy it while we can.

No Refunds, No Exchanges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071373)

I'd laugh except I bought it.

"Just get it done" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45071397)

"Just get it done" strikes again.

Add to it.... (0)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#45071463)

Typical incompetent Government Contractors and Engineers or Administration.

IF you cant keep them cool then the guy that designed the HVAC is a moron. It is not hard to calculate the required heat generating load unless some moron NSA higher up changed the number of systems the place was supposed to hold after construction started. Then it's that guys fault and he needs to be waterboarded for 30 days just to teach him a lesson.

Honestly a data center is not rocket science anymore, it is so well documented in what is needed that even a 1st year engineering student can easily design a proper one with proper HVAC needs.

Re:Add to it.... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 10 months ago | (#45071847)

It isn't about the engineers. It is about their management.

Good management can build the Trajans Bridge in a year from rocks and trees.

Bad management can't build a web site. EVER.

IMP. CAESAR. DIVI. NERVAE. F
NERVA TRAIANVS. AVG. GERM
PONTIF MAXIMUS TRIB POT IIII
PATER PATRIAE COS III
MONTIBVUS EXCISI(s) ANCO(ni)BVS
SVBLAT(i)S VIA(m) F(ecit)

Stuxnet (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 10 months ago | (#45071497)

Couldn't happen to nicer people.

$100,000 (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 10 months ago | (#45071521)

so we now have an official price tag on your stolen personal information.

suffering leads to sufferering (1)

kalioto (631024) | about 10 months ago | (#45071755)

Spell check - there's an app for that.

Switch-mode power supplies (3, Interesting)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 10 months ago | (#45071821)

A friend of mine is researching power surges in the local town.

Most building codes under-specify the gauge of the neutral/return wire. For illustration, if you have three phases each rated for N amps, there is one shared neutral/return wire rated at N amps going out. At the end of the runs all phases are connected to the shared neutral line.

This is due to the nature of 3-phase electricity: the phases will tend to cancel out, so in a perfect setup you would need no neutral/return at all. Of course, the load on each phase won't exactly balance, and the load can vary as people connect/disconnect appliances, so you still need the neutral line in practice.

(Not true for house wiring, which has one or two phases coming in. Each phase has a return with the same gauge as the supply.)

This was fine when appliances were (generally) resistive loads, but nowadays switch-mode power supplies are common. When you do some math, it turns out that this type of load appears equivalent to 120 Hz power coming together at the neutral/return junction. Since 120 Hz [equivalent] power does not cancel out, the power in the return wire can be 3x as large as the building codes allow.

I've got a book explaining all this. Typically the neutral line will heat up and catch fire, breaking the circuit. Once that happens the various phases are connected without a neutral, playing hob with whatever is on those circuits and making occasional high-power ground loops and other unexpected behaviours.

Re:Switch-mode power supplies (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 10 months ago | (#45071901)

At the end of the runs all phases are connected to the shared neutral line.

Poor choice of words: I don't mean to say that power and return are wired together. I meant to say that all three phases share one neutral line.

Post before coffee, regret at leisure.

Re:Switch-mode power supplies (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 10 months ago | (#45071957)

I'm suspecting a power factor problem, condensers not dealing with enough inductance and so surges occur when large amounts of equipment turn on simultaneously.

Might have to stop my escapades to Utah (1)

nucrash (549705) | about 10 months ago | (#45071899)

They might be catching on to my sabotage to their facility. Nothing to see here, move along. Not short circuiting anything. It's not like if you supply 480V to a hard drive directly and you won't have any problems. Also, is it just me or does one hundred thousand feet of data center space seem pretty small to hold 5 zettabytes in data storage. I tried to build the same out of BackBlaze storage pods and came up with 180TB of space in a 4U pod, with 1.8PB per rack, that would still take a lot more than they are showing. I suppose they could be building into the ground, but wouldn't that show up on their calculations for square feet?
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