Tech Sighting – Blade Servers

Not many movies that come out feature this particular piece of technology, primarily because these are only required when a lot of computing power is needed.

In the DC Comic movie adaptation of the Green Lantern, you see the characters interacting with these computers that they pull off ‘shelves’. These are called Blade servers, kind of like RAID arrays for hard drives which focus on storage, these massive workstation clusters act as a unified brain that allows for heavy computing tasks to be accomplished smoothly. I’m not talking about run-o-the mill type of tasks here, these are the sort of massive data processing tasks such as the live dogfight simulation that they tested on the movie. Now these servers normally don’t come with controls such as these, they are available of course but most of the times they are controlled centrally from an external location, this is because the heat generated by these clusters require a consistent operating temperature and that tends to be very cold.

Here you see Carol Ferris (Lively) working on the device to gain control of one of the experimental jets that they have on the hangar. Configurations like this were developed before to perform simultaneous calculations with multiple processors. Back in the day when processor power was fairly limited, creating such a configuration would allow for calculations to be run unencumbered. Multi-threading in today’s modern processors is a miniscule example of what such a setup could do, only exponentially greater. If you would look at older films with a lot of computer work going on, Eagle Eye for example, you’d be sure to spot one of these in them. In this particular film, Dell had premium airtime… as well as many other well known brands of course.

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