Renowned author Walter Isaacson has penned a biography on the life of Elon Musk. One fascinating event that he highlights is the server migration that took place in December 2022. Musk had a strong desire to move the servers from Sacramento to Portland, Oregon, in order to save on the hefty annual cost of $100 million. However, he faced resistance from the management due to the varying densities and energy requirements of the two locations. Consequently, improvements had to be made to the storage room before the move could even be considered, a process that typically takes 6-9 months. Musk, however, set an ambitious goal for the transfer to be completed within just 30 days.
During a flight from San Francisco to Austin, Elon Musk, along with Andrew Musk and James Musk, agreed to move the servers immediately. As a result, the flight diverted to Sacramento, where the servers were stored, instead of heading to Austin. Upon arrival, Alex, an employee of X, allowed them access to the server room.
The X servers consisted of 5,200 large cabinets and approximately 30 computer cabinets. Each cabinet weighed around 2,500 pounds and stood 8 feet tall. Additionally, disconnecting the power cables attached to the floor proved to be a challenging task. In order to overcome this obstacle, Musk borrowed a knife from a security guard to lift the floor and remove the plugs with success. He then called upon colleagues from Tesla and SpaceX to assist with the relocation, using Airtags to track the servers.
When news reached the NTT management, they insisted that Musk cease the server migration, as it required the expertise of professionals. It was deemed unsafe to exceed a pressure threshold of 500 pounds in certain areas. Musk responded, stating that the servers had four wheels and therefore only exerted 500 pounds of pressure on each point.
In the end, they successfully managed to move up to 700 cabinets in just 3 days, with minimal costs and no protective packaging. Unfortunately, this hasty relocation resulted in unstable servers in the long run.
TLDR: Walter Isaacson presents the fascinating account of Elon Musk’s server migration, where Musk aimed to save costs by moving the servers from Sacramento to Portland. Despite management resistance, Musk rallied his teams and successfully completed the relocation within a mere 30 days. However, the rushed process ultimately led to server instability.