eBay's $2,000-Per-Second Data Center - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
5/24/2010
11:07 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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eBay's $2,000-Per-Second Data Center

eBay's new $287 million data center in Utah was built in just 14 months and is responsible for managing all transactions and revenue from eBay.com and PayPal.com, which in 2009 totaled $60 billion or about $2,000 per second. Maybe it's no surprise that two of the project's leaders are former tank commanders and West Point graduates. And don't miss the photos!

eBay's new $287 million data center in Utah was built in just 14 months and is responsible for managing all transactions and revenue from eBay.com and PayPal.com, which in 2009 totaled $60 billion or about $2,000 per second. Maybe it's no surprise that two of the project's leaders are former tank commanders and West Point graduates. And don't miss the photos!The can't-miss descriptions and photos come from the overall leader of the project, eBay senior director of global data center strategy, architecture & operations Dean Nelson:

Now, many think that when you build a data center with this much redundancy, it will be extremely expensive to operate and very inefficient. Quite the contrary. Besides running the data center operations for the company, I'm also responsible to pay the power bill. So, the datacenter must be built like a tank, be able to brush off major faults, lower our operating costs and be extremely efficient. Did I mention that these are goals in my annual performance review? Ok, no pressure there either . . . .

(And a hat tip to Rich Miller at datacenterknowledge.com, who's posted one of his typically insightful articles about the new facility.)

To say that eBay's Nelson has a bit of the showman in him would be an understatement-when we last saw him three months ago, Nelson was putting the final dramatic touches on the shutdown of an obsolete eBay data center, a process he described this way in our post, "eBay Kills A Data Center": "I reared back and drove an axe through the final remnant of this once complex, powerful and archaic beast of a data center." And that blog post has the photos to prove it.

But with the new Utah data center, Nelson's new blog post features photos of a very different kind: the opening celebration (including break-dancers, of course) as well as some examples of what happens when those tank-commander project leaders mentioned above confront challenging obstacles.

Nelson's post is also jammed with details and anecdotes and is must-reading for anyone involved in planning or running the type of high-capacity, high-efficiency data centers that are becoming absolutely indispensable to the global economy. Be sure to check out Nelson's story and photos here.

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