The Parallel Data Lab (PDL), housed at Carnegie Mellon University, is a multi-disciplinary academic research organization with stron g ties to industry partners. The PDL undertakes a number of research projects. The Data Center Observatory (DCO) is one of the lab’s most ambitious projects. The DCO was conceived to serve as both a fully operational data center and a research facility dev oted to developing strategies for reducing the operational costs of data centers. The purpose of this course is to review the resu lts docume nted via the creation and operation of this unique functional laboratory.