I was in the server room with my system administrator the other day, discussing how we could cut costs in the server room.
I told him that the budget for the server room was too big, and we needed to implement some cost-saving measures. He said that everything he bought was necessary. That is so like a system administrator – to overbuy and just pretend that it is necessary.
What I told him is this – if I can remove it and the servers still function, then it was a waste and we can at least resell the extra pieces.
So, I took a big bin with me and started walking around. The first thing I noticed was that every server was plugged into the wall twice into different circuits. Not only that, but the machines themselves had two power supplies. So I went to each machine and physically removed one of the power supplies and put it in the bin. The machines continued to run, so I was satisfied with what I had done. In fact, removing one power supply from each machine opened up an entire circuit path on each rack, so that was removed as well.
Then, I went to the an area labelled “backups”. There was a giant, expensive-looking machine that was moving tapes back-and-forth. There were numerous servers, each sucking up a huge amount of electricity. I asked the system administrator if this data existed anywhere else. “Yes,” he said. “Well, then we don’t need it.”
I unplugged all of the devices. I put all the servers in the bin. The tape library was too big for the bin, but I had some people remove it and take it to the curb.
Next, I noticed that the cables connecting everything were attached to various nodes. I asked the system administrator, “what do these things do?” “Cable management” he said. Cable management? “Do the wires carry the same amount of data without cable management?” “Yes.” “Then get rid of them.” So we removed all of the armatures and supports of the cabling.
Then, I got to a section that had an endless array of batteries. “What do these batteries power?” “Right now, nothing” said the system administrator. “So why did we buy them?” I said angrily as I threw them into the bin. I also noticed an unused generator in the corner. I told the men carrying out the tape machine to get the generator as well. “What is that, from the 1800s? We’ve been connected to the grid for years, and that generator is just sitting in the corner doing nothing. Get rid of it.”
Then I realized – I had been concentrating on the center of the room. There was all sorts of equipment on the outer walls of the room as well. “What are these big units? How much data do they process?” “They don’t process any data, sir” said the administrator. “They are air conditioners” he said. I responded, “the building is already air-conditioned! You don’t need special air conditioners just because you are well-paid.” So we removed the air conditioners.
“Is there anything else that can be removed?” I asked. “Well,” the administrator said nervously. “The hard drives are in a RAID configuration. That means that at least one hard drive from each machine can be removed.” So we went around and removed a hard drive from each machine.
Then there were a bunch of machines labelled “staging”. “What do these do?” I asked. “They are the machines that we use to test code before we release it.” “Get rid of them.” I said.
Then I noticed a lot of machines labelled “Secondary”. There was a “Secondary DNS” machine, a “secondary database” machine, and so forth. “Are these needed?” “Only if the main one goes down.” “So they just sit here and eat up electricity and bandwidth without doing anything?” Get rid of them.
I then called up to the operations center and had them test all of our systems to make sure they are all still online. “Yes, sir!” They said. “In fact, you are using significantly less electricity as well – sounds like you are doing a great job over there!”
So, pleased with my work, I told the system administrator – “see, I told you that we could cut this stuff down. We removed over half of the server room and it is still functional!”
(note – this post is a more satirized version of a comment I made on a previous post)
——————–end of story
I should also note that instead of removing the secondary DNS and secondary databases, we actually could have removed the primary DNS and the primary database without any immediate issue if the site was not under load. Additionally, if the hard drives were in a RAID5 configuration, removing a hard drive would actually increase performance.
In case you didn’t notice, the goal of this is to illustrate the idiocy of saying that the “functional fraction” of the genome is equivalent to the amount of the genome for which there are no detrimental effects to removing or to mutation. Under this criteria, all of the things that we removed from the server room would not be considered “functional”.
And yes, if the server is well built, you can remove active power supplies and hard drives from running servers without them even hiccuping.