Thursday, May 11, 2017

Data Center Links: May 11, 2017

Between company conference season and a lot of M&A activity recently, it is hard to keep up with the news.  Here are a few things I found interesting:


  • Facebook breaks ground on 1M sq ft Altoona data center.  Because Iowa is the best place for data centers.... Facebook broke ground on its fourth building in Altoona - a 1 million square foot data center. With this building the Facebook data center campus will total 2.5 million square feet.
  • Cisco acquires AI company MindMeld.  Just like many years ago when you had to keep a running list of who Cisco was buying, they are keeping a fast pace in 2017. Making it their third acquisition in two weeks Cisco dives deeper into AI by buying MindMeld, a San Francisco company that has developed a conversational platform based on natural language understanding (NLU). The NLU functionality will be integrated with Cisco's Spark platform. MindMeld, besides being on my own 'cool tech' list, has been recognized as one of the top companies leading the AI revolution.
  • Cray launches Supercomputers built for AI.  Cray has launched new CS-Storm supercomputers that are purpose-built for the most demanding AI workloads.  New CS-Storm 500GT and CS-Storm 500NX systems leverage NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerators, which foster "up to 187 TOPS (tera operations per second) per node, 2,618 TOPS per rack for machine learning application performance."   I'll take two.  :)
  • NVIDIA GPU conference.  AI, self-driving cars, healthcare, Volta GPU platform, deep learning software tools.....   Too many to mention; check it out here.
  • Microsoft debuts Cosmos DB. At the Microsoft Build 2017 developer conference Microsoft introduced Azure Cosmos DB, a globally distributed database with five consistency choices. As a superset of DocumentDB Cosmos models include Strong, Bounded Staleness, Session, Consistent Prefix, and Eventual. 

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Data Center Links: May 3, 2017

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:

  • Shaw explores selling ViaWest: Sources 'familiar with the matter' say that Canadian cable company Shaw Communications is exploring options for selling ViaWest. Shaw bought ViaWest three years ago for $1.2 billion.
  • Amazon Strategy Teardown.  CB Insights has an amazing, detailed analysis of strategy at Amazon.  Company history, AI-as-a-Service, acquisition highlights, 'aggressive' growth plans, and initiatives by sector.  Wow.
  • iRobot: Vacuuming up Microservices on AWS.  I like cloud architecture stories. This one just spoke to me -- about microservices and modern applications and services.  "Ben Kehoe, Cloud Robotics Research Scientist at iRobot, explains how they built a serverless solution to power microservices that scale to control millions of robots. You’ll learn how they automate and optimize AWS Lambda function and Amazon API Gateway deployments with AWS CloudFormation and Swagger, plus how they inject information during the deployment process to decouple architecture details from the code."
  • Will Molten Silicon make Lithium-Ion 'Uneconomic'?  Australian company 1414 says it has  developed a molten silicon thermal energy storage system (TESS) that can store 500 kilowatt-hours of energy within a 70-centimeter cube. At 36x the capacity of a 14 kilowatt hour Tesla Powerwall 2 the company says it could build a 10 megawatt-hour plant for around AUD $700,000 (USD $528,000), or a tenth of the price of a Tesla battery-based project.
  • MIT Mathemetician spins up 220,000 core Google Compute Cluster.  Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland crafted a 220,000-core workload on Google Compute Engine using preemptable virtual machine instances. Sutherland is already planning an even larger run of 400,000 cores.
  • Path to Exascale. At a user forum U.S. Exascale Computing Project (ECP) director Paul Messina outlined the accelerated timetable with delivery of the first exascale machine now scheduled for 2021. The ECP is a collaborative effort of two U.S. Department of Energy organizations, the Office of Science (DOE-SC) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Data Center Links: April 12, 2017

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • Megaport launches Exchange. Elastic interconnectivity and global SDN company Megaport launched its Megaport Exchange, a marketplace "designed to connect our rich Ecosystem of providers to our global network of customers." The relatively young Australian company has built a network of 150 global locations, and the marketplace connects customers to cloud service providers, data center operators and Network and Managed Service Providers.
  • DataStation - intersection on the power grid.  My interest in the modular data center concept and application is refreshed. BaseLayer + Phoenix Salt River Project = DataStation and a new approach to delivering compute power right next to the power grid.
  • Synack nets $21.25M investment. Hacker-powered security platform provider Synack announced it has raised $21.25 million in a series C round of funding led by Microsoft Ventures. HPE and Singtel Innov8 also participated in the round. The funding will allow the company to further develop its platform and scale adoption globally.
  • Pure Storage launches FlashArray//X.  All-flash data platform vendor PureStorage announced its first all-NVMe enterprise-class all-flash array, the Flash Array//X. The new array features DirectFlash Software, DirectFlash modules for communication and //X70 Controllers. The company says the end-to-end "software-to-raw flash optimization reduces latency by up to 50 percent, and increase write bandwidth by up to 2x and performance density by up to 4x."
  • Tegile closes $33M funding. Flash storage provider Tegile announced it has closed on $33 million in additional funding. Led by Western Digital and other current investors, the company will use the funds to further invest in technology development and product innovation, as well as expand worldwide market reach. 
  • Cisco launches next gen storage networking innovations. Cisco  launched a number of new storage networking offerings Tuesday - ranging from Fibre Channel Switching Modules to new HBA support on cisco UCS and NVMe support over fibre channel on UCS C-Series and MDS storage directors.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Data Center Links: March 03, 2017

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • C3 IoT updates platform, adds machine learning, closes new financing. It was a big week for enterprise Internet of Things company C3 IoT. The company announced "Version 7 of its enterprise software platform for big data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, with new tools and enhancements." The new edition will be out Q1 2017 and feature advanced capabilities spanning five elements of the C3 IoT Platform – data science tools, artificial intelligence algorithms, application development tools, edge analytics, and platform administration. On Thursday C3 IoT said that it has raised a Series E financing round at a $1.4 billion pre-money valuation, led by Breyer Capital.
  • Faction granted patent for work on hybrid and multi-cloud networking.  Enterprise-class IaaS cloud provider Faction announced that it has been awarded USPTO Patent #9,571,301 for its hybrid and multi-cloud technology. This technology powers its Faction Cloud Bloc and Faction Internetwork eXhange (FIX) product sets. Faction says its patent details how physical resources that may be hosted within a data center or colocation site can connect to one or more cloud providers a creating seamless, single pool of resources. The Denver based company, formerly known as Peak, also raised $11 million earlier this year to continue growing the company.
  • Nimble introduces Multicloud storage service. Nimble announced Cloud Volumes, an easy to manage multi-cloud storage service that lets an enterprise use public cloud for compute and Nimble Cloud Volumes for storage capacity. Nimble explains that data protection is flexible and cost effective, as customers only pay for changed data, not for additional full copies. 
  • Asetek signs product development agreement.  Liquid cooling company Asketek announced that it has signed with a 'major player in the data center space' for a development agreement that has been in the works for several years. Asetek says the goal of the agreement is to have "products in the market before year-end and resulting revenue to have significant impact on Asetek's future data center business."



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Data Center Links: January 26, 2017

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • Cisco to acquire AppDynamics.  Cisco announced its intent to acquire Application Intelligence software provider AppDynamics for $3.7 billion. AppDynamics was on the cusp of filing an IPO when Cisco scooped them up for almost twice their value. Cisco saysIAAS  that AppDynamics CEO David Wadhwani will continue lead the new software business unit within the company. 
  • Faction nets $11 million funding round. IaaS cloud provider Faction announced it has closed an $11 million funding round from investors to fuel company growth and meet ever-expanding customer demand. The Denver based formerly known as PeakColo had a successful year of growth in 2016, and launched its Internetwork eXchange (FIX) solution, which enables enterprises to connect private cloud and colocation resources into public clouds privately and securely.
  • Hyper.sh aims to be the new IaaS.  Forbes has an excellent article on Hyper - a New York startup company looking to disrupt IaaS with its HyperContainer, a convergence of containers and VMs. 
  • D-Wave announces 2000Q Quantum Computer. D-Wave Systems announced the commercial availability of its 2000Q quantum computer, and first customer of the new system, Temporal Defense Systems. After launching 10 years ago D-Wave says the new 2000Q is 1,000 times faster than the previous generation system it released in 2015.  The company says it is the only company with a product designed to run quantum computing problems - with its 'quantum processing units (QPUs)'.  D-Wave benchmark tests revealed that its QPUs outperformed classical algorithms by 1,000 to 10,00 times in pure computation time, and that the 2000Q system outperformed the GPU-based implementations by 100 times in equivalent problem solving performance per watt.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Data Center Links: December 29, 2016

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • Inside Amazon Hyperscale.  I am a little behind - but catching up on watching AWS re:Invent talks from the event last month. I think the world of AWS VP James Hamilton, and his talk at the event about the inner workings of AWS data center operations is absolutely fascinating. Putting the hyper in hyperscale, James talks about all of the components of their data center architecture, innovation and the things one can do when your unit of measure is in a category of its own. Global network details, 100 waves @ 100G, 32MW data centers with 50-80k servers each, making their own network and compute hardware, machine learning, and just how their massive scale came into being for the cloud giant. Watch the video...  or catch up on a much better article on it at Data Center Frontier.
  • Number of hyperscale data centers reach 300. Citing research from Synergy Research Group CBR reports that the number of hyper scale data centers is expected to reach the 300 mark this month. The report analyzed the data center footprint of major cloud providers and internet service companies. With an average of 13 data center sites each the U.S. accounted for 45% of the number and China and Japan following at 8% and7% respectively. 
  • OneWeb raises $1.2B for satellite-based internet. The race to deliver satellite-powered internet is moving fast. After Tesla asked for permission to launch satellites, OneWeb has raised $1.2 billion to fund a "high volume satellite production facility" that will hopefully produce 15 satellites each week. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Data Center Links: December 7, 2016

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  1. Equinix buys Verizon data centers.  I 'think' I saw this one coming... but the biggest player in the industry just got bigger.  Just 5 years after Verizon paid $1.4 billion to acquire Terremark, it has sold 24 data centers to Equinix for $3.6 billion. It seems hard to top this asset sale, but I guess we'll see what 2017 brings. I liked Equinix co-founder Jay Adelson's link to the 1998 story about Equinix as a Cisco-backed upstart.  
  2. HPE and Schneider Electric partner on Micro Data Centers. HP Enterprise and Schneider are partnering to deliver a complete pre-fab solution for drop-in-place modular data center. I always liked the previous respective versions of a modular solution that were offered, but this partnership makes sense (targeting the edge and IoT, etc).  Bonus points for not referencing the solution as a 'virtual data center'. Last week Schneider launched the next generation of its EcoStruxure architecture and platform.
  3. Cray and Microsoft partner for deep learning.  At the 2016 Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) Conference this week Cray announced the results of a deep learning collaboration between Cray, Microsoft, and the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) that expands the horizons of running deep learning algorithms at scale using the power of Cray supercomputers.  Research at CSCS utilizes the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit on a Cray XC50 with more than 1,000 NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPU accelerators. 
  4. Dell EMC and VMware launch new Hyper-converged systems. Powered by VMware Cloud Foundation Dell launched the VxRack SDDC as a turnkey hyper-converged solution for both traditional and cloud-native workloads. The total lifecycle offering is built on Dell PowerEdge servers and VMware infrastructure software (vSAN, vSphere, and NSX) and VMware SDDC Manger. 
  5. Micron announces 8TB SATA SSD. Micron launched a 8TB Enterprise 5100 series solid state drive this week with random write performances up to 74k IOPS. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Data Center Links: November 23, 2016

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • Green500 List of energy-efficient supercomputers. Almost as fun as the Top500 list itself. The Green500 ranks supercomputers by how energy-efficient they are. NVIDIA Corporation took the top spot with 9,462.09 MFLOPS per Watt with their DGX-1 system, using their P100 Tesla GPUs. 
  • Spray-on concrete for EMP shielding.  This just sounds cool.  A team from the University of Nebraska has created a cost-effective concrete mix that acts as a shield against "intense pulses of electromagnetic energy".
  • HP - The Machine.  HP has been running a series of posts on their vision for the future of computing - The Machine.  These posts elaborate their process to build this vision and the research behind it.
  • France's nuclear fusion reactor.  Interesting article on how countries around the world are contributing billions to the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor).

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Data Center Links: September 14, 2016

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • NCSA to lead $110 million NSF project. The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a $110 million award to NCSA at the University of Illinois at Ubana-Champaign and 18 partner institutions to continue, and expand, the activities undertaken through cyberinfrastructure ecosystem XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery).
  • Google acquires Apigee.  The APIs have it. Google announced its intent to acquire API management platform leader Apigee. Apigee went public last year and gives Google some big name customers and position against other cloud rivals such as Amazon.
  • Teradata launches Teradata Everywhere. Analytics solutions company Teradata launched Teradata Everywhere, to bring its massively parallel processing (MPP) analytic database to multiple public clouds, managed cloud, and on-premises environments. Listing most of the major cloud players in that 'everywhere' statement, the comparison to note is AWS, where Teradata says (with benchmarks) it outperforms Redshift by an order of magnitude.
  • Carbon Nanotube Transistors outperform Silicon.  Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have used single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) to make a transistor that outperforms state-of-the-art silicon transistors. A Science Advances journal article notes that "researchers were able to achieve a current that is 1.9 times as fast as that seen in silicon transistors."  This video gives a primer on SWCNT and implications of the new research.
  • Rackware nets $10M financing. Enterprise cloud management company Rackware announced that they have closed on a $10 million Series B round - from Signal Peak Ventures and additional funds from Kickstart Seed Fund and Osage Venture Partners. RackWare will utilize the funding to enhance and accelerate product development and to expand sales, marketing, partnerships and customer support teams.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Data Center Links: August 31, 2016

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • VMWORLD.  VMware's annual event in Las Vegas this week.  I really wanted to attend - but just couldn't ; it looks like an eventful week. Lots of news releases, conversations and partner announcements. VMworld videos can be found on their vmworld TV channel.
    • Dell to continue M&A. The now closed $67B deal for EMC just wasn't enough -- Michael Dell says the company will continue to do acquisitions.
    • Tegile launches IntelliFlash Cloud.  At VMworld Tegile introduced its IntelliFlash Cloud Platform, a rack scale all-flash platform meant to serve as the foundation of optimized, cost-effective private clouds. 
    • Nutanix acquisitions. #NutanixAtVMworld.  Lots of activity at VMworld, but just as the event was getting started Nutanix announced that PernixData and Calm.io will help further the vision for an enterprise cloud by joining the Nutanix family. 
    • Virtustream and Iron Mountain join forces. Virtusteam announced that Iron Mountain will use Virtustream to power its cloud-based service offerings. Virtustream's xStream and Viewtrust software will orchestrate, automate and secure cloud storage services for IronMountain.
  • Cloud Technology Partners funding round. CTP announced the close of a Series C funding round - unknown amount. Existing investors Rackspace, State Street Bank and Pritzker Group Venture Capital participated in the round. The company will use the funding to expand cloud adoption program, expand CTP's digital innovation practice, build its managed service capabilities, and expand their sales and delivery teams.
  • Cisco acquires ContainerX. As its first venture into the container market tech giant Cisco announced its intent to acquire early stage startup ContainerX, for an undisclosed amount. ContainerX is a group of container geeks with PhDs that have a patent-pending approach called Elastic Container Clusters. 
  • Ericsson wins hybrid cloud deal. Ericsson will be the lead partner (with EMC, Telia, OpenNode and Cybernetica) to build a hybrid cloud infrastructure in Estonia. 
  • Open AI Infrastructure. The Open AI blog has a nice post on the infrastructure model used to support their deep learning research. Top-end GPUs, AWS cloud donations, Ubuntu, Chef, Kubernetes, OpenVPN and Terraform.
  • Elon Musk progressing on Neural Lace Brain hack.  This is just cool - as most things Elon does are.  On Twitter Elon Musk said that he is "making progress" on his neural lace design, which is designed to augment human intelligence.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Data Center Links, August 23, 2016

Data Center Links for 8/23/2016.

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • Avere and Cycle Computing integrate for hybrid HPC in the cloud.  Avere Systems and Cycle Computing announced a technology integration that enables hybrid high performance computing in popular public cloud computing environments. By combining the CycleCloud with Avere's vFXT Edge filer users can launch an Avere tiered file system on demand linked directly with the CycleCloud managed scalable compute nodes through cloud providers like AWS, Google and Microsoft Azure.
  • U.S. DOE awards $34 million to protect power grid.  The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $34 million to help protect critical infrastructures, specifically the smart grid. The funds cover 12 projects in the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability's Cybersecurity of Energy of Delivery Systems (CEDS), and is intended to help develop new solutions to protect critical infrastructure in the energy industry.
  • U.S. approves handover of IANA to ICANN. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has approved a plan to hand control of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) contract to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN has run IANA functions - DNS, IP addresses and protocols - since incorporation in 1999. 
  • NVIDIA Parker - SoC for autonomous vehicles. At the #hotchips conference NVIDIA announced Parker, a new mobile processor that the company hopes will power the next generation of autonomous vehicles. Built around the Pascal GPU architecture and NVIDIA's Denver CPU architecture, the company says it will deliver "up to 1.5 teraflops of performance for deep learning-based self-driving AI cockpit systems." NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang delivered a supercomputer to OpenAI, a non-profit founded by Tesla's Elon Musk. 
  • SKA Science Data Processor (big data meet big compute). A prototype part of the software system to manage data from the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) telescope has run on the Tiahnhe-2 supercomputer - currently the second best supercomputer in the world.   Deemed the world's largest science project, the SKA data processing system will ingest data from more than a quarter of a million antennas. 
  • CyrusOne and the REIT sector. Seeking Alpha has a nice look at data center REIT CyrusOne and their record leasing quarter - and a bullish thesis on the company and its future. 
  • Intel to Fab ARM.  I had to check that headline a few times - but yes, Intel Custom Foundry will now "offer access to ARM Artisan physical IP, including POP IP, based on the most advanced ARM cores and Cortex series processors. Intel also told of several foundry success stories from LG Electronics, Spreadtrum, Achronix Semiconductor, Netronome and Altera. 


Monday, August 08, 2016

Data Center Links August 8th, 2016

Ever have a 4 year battle with writer's block?  Well, I'm back...I think. I started this blog 10 years ago as a way to keep track of the endless links I logged in browsing and reading about data centers. A lot has happened since I last blogged... but I don't see any benefit to attempting to catch up here.

I think my main goal going forward in this blog is just to keep a transcript of links, stories and happenings on the web that I find interesting -- about technology or data centers. There is a decent chance I'll tweet them as well at @johnrath

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:

  • HP's The Machine:  I have followed this for a while -- but saw some fun commercials for it with the new Star Trek movie.   HP says "The Machine will reinvent the fundamental architecture of computers to enable a quantum leap in performance and efficiency.It will be interesting to watch the technology HP is developing here. 
  • Dell Triton:  Dell's Triton technology looks cool...literally.   It is a different approach to liquid cooled solutions that has some definite potential.
  • The Green Grid announced  a new metric to compliment PUE. Building on PUE, the new 'performance indicator' is a multi-metric view that enables operators to "predict the impact of proposed changes before implementation and choose configurations that deliver the best combination of efficiency, resilience and conformance for the organization."
  • kWAC anyone? This is interesting - 6fusion's Kilowatt Hour for IT, called the Workload Allocation Cube (kWAC) is a measurement that the company says includes comparisons of real-time utilization (workload) against a fixed baseline (allocation) spanning six vectors (cube) - CPU, memory, storage, disk/IO, LAN I/O, and WAN I/O. 
  • (one I'm watching) VPS (Virtual Power Systems). Their software-defined power ICE Platform applies machine learning to control data center power distribution and monitoring. 
  • CenturyLink said  they still have a focus "on the sale of all or a portion of our data centers, but we also have alternatives should our process not result in a sale."  So... if the price is right, they will sell the data center, but otherwise keep it and see what we can do with it....?   I guess there is 'realizing value for share holders' and there is seeing what comes out of a For Sale sign.
  • Here is a nice article (pictures, video) about the new Tesla Gigafactory.  I know this is for car batteries... but I think there is a long term interest for the data center, and it is just cool what has been done with this massive facility in the desert. 
  • Quasi-real time view of the U.S. Electric System Operating data.  This is just kind of fun to peruse. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Choose Iowa For The Project Edge Data Center


Back in 2010 I was considering a post to entice Microsoft to build a data center in Iowa.  At that time Iowa was in the running, but the decision had not yet been made. This was the Microsoft and Google build-out era of the mega data centers, similar to the Facebook and Apple story of recent years. As I started to write the 2010 post, Microsoft announced that they had decided on West Des Moines for their latest site.

So.... I am writing today to entice Facebook or Apple (who else has $1.2B to spend) to select Iowa for the site of its next data center. Earlier this year the buzz was out that 'Project Edge' could result in a $1.2 Billion data center campus. The decision was down to either Iowa or Nebraska, and the political battle (i.e.: tax incentives) was on. Although all sources said the mystery company was looking to break ground in May 2012, nothing happened.

I won't spend too much time stating why Iowa is an awesome place to build Project Edge - the facts do that for me   :)

  1. Iowa is #2 in wind energy - installing 647MW of new capacity in 2011, for a total of over 4,300MW available.
  2. Iowa has wonderfully robust technology and innovation support systems.
  3. CNBC's Top States for Business 2011: Cost of doing business - Iowa #1, Nebraska #17
  4. Google and Microsoft constructed data centers in Iowa. Google even expanded another $300 million this year.

An article last week at watchdog.org says that Project Edge is on hold.  The article says that the mystery company is "trying to figure out logistics...". Facebook (FB) has had some stock issues since its IPO, but should still be able to pull the trigger.  The world's most valuable company (AAPL) just won a $1B verdict against Samsung - so they should have no problems executing.

The logistics of site selection is a pretty interesting process. Since this project has been publicized for so long now, I doubt the site is the problem, but figuring out exactly what the company wants to do. If it is Apple, they announced a new data center near Reno in June and perhaps that one was just prioritized over the Iowa site announcement.

In 2007 I wrote about data center site selection - at a macro level. For companies like Facebook, Apple, Google and Microsoft the regional data center strategy is to be in close network proximity to its user base and the macro-level decision boils down to some of the evaluation criteria that I have in mind for adding to my site selection white paper.

Two big ones are water and power (strength in renewables, capacity, reserve...). Obviously data centers built to the scale that these companies develop will require a plentiful, reliable water source for years to come. The 2012 drought that has hit many parts of the midwest may have an impact in looking at a site for long term. As I state in my white paper, there really is no area in the country that is completely impervious to some form of natural disaster - there could be drought this year, but a flood the next.  As a visual learner I appreciate maps, and have found a number of useful maps with data at the USGS Water Science School site. Climate change impacts are also a consideration - and the EPA has some nice resources for researching that.

Power is another one of the large areas to research when selecting a site, and there are a number of sources to look at. Iowa and Nebraska are on the same power grid, but some recently published information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration was interesting -- about the regional reserve margin estimates. It is just a short term reliability assessment, but interesting: Iowa is covered in the Midwest region, and has a 27% reserve margin estimate, with a 17% target, and Nebraska is in the Central region, with a 20% estimate and 14% target. Texas, having its own grid ....  well.... is in trouble again for keeping up with demand.

Microgrids are another interesting power topic .... but for another post. Forbes had a really good article recently on Distributed Energy.

Either state would be a good choice for the Project Edge data center, but should the mystery company look at Iowa - I would especially recommend cities that start with a W.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Facebook IPO and What $10B Buys

The headlines have picked up once again for a possible Wednesday filing for Facebook's IPO. Expected in May, the IPO could raise around $10 Billion and place a stock market value on Facebook as high as $100 Billion.

With Facebook already being watched closely for their supposed 800+ million assets (users) and potential value per user, their IPO will be heavily scrutinized. It's hard to believe such a high value placed on a company like Facebook, and to me it just seemed like an opportunity to randomly calculate things that one could do with $10 Billion.

Since this is a data center blog and new facilities typically cost a dollar or two, how much would $10 Billion buy in data centers?  Well, going off of their own $450 million price tag for past Facebook data centers, they could build 22 more data centers around the world to support their (surely) agressive growth plans.  Alternatively they could just acquire Equinix ($5.74B market cap) and Level 3 ($4.04B market cap) and just use those existing facilities and networks to power their growth. $10 Billion would almost equal the total amount of Data Center mergers and acquisitions in 2011 ($12.3B).

Otherwise, here are some fun (and totally irrational) things $10B could buy:

  1. Give $12.50 to all 800 million users
  2. Send 50,000 people on a Virgin Galactic trip into space.
  3. Buy Autonomy from HP
  4. Acquisition possibilities:
    1. RIM ($8.8B)
    2. Zynga ($7.03B)
    3. LinkedIn ($7.39B)
    4. (most of) Dish Network ($12.33B)
    5. Sprint ($6.5B)
    6. Purchase 83,884 shares of Berkshire Hathaway
    7. Twitter (~$8B)
  5. Purchase 845 megawatts of power from the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in northern Oregon.
  6. Supply the one year payroll for the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL
  7. How many hours of 'Eight extra large cluster compute instances' on Amazon's EC2 could they buy?   Let's just say its enough to last the life of the company (and then some)
  8. If you figure $1/Gigabyte of SSD storage - they could buy over 9.3 Exabytes of storage

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

2011 Data Center Statistics


Now that all of the 2011 reviews and 2012 prediction stories are out I am finally getting around to my year-end review. I just didn't quite make it to post by the end of 2011.  Regardless, I have a number of items I wanted to cover as a means of reflecting on the year, data center stories, statistics and other musings.

I don't spend a great deal of time in my Google Analytics for this blog, but when I am sifting through it I am constantly surprised at the number of visits coming for a post I did in early 2009 about 2008 Data Center Statistics.  As much as I would like to think it was possibly an insightful post, it was most likely due to not having turned on comment moderation (yet).   :)

Statistics

Data Center statistics are interesting however, and as data center technologies have evolved and case studies written throughout the past years it is helpful for looking at a more of a macro view of the industry.  Many statistics are of course made possible with the help from a company that is studied for many data center topics; Google. Google's Zeitgeist is always an interesting barometer of what the world searched and how we spent our online lives. Check out the 2011 Zeitgeist video.  Google Trends is also sometimes fun to look at for more specific topics, such as those that frequented 2011 headlines:

Patents

Looking at patents for the data center can always be interesting as well. Google has filed patents over the years under the name Exaflop LLC and they filed around 8 in 2011.   They continue to refine their data center infrastructure and methods to engineer and optimize the environment, through such things as patent 8004831, Orthogonally system arrangements for data center facility.  The physical data center and components within are almost arranged/engineered like the big data programs that are running on them. Lead on patent 8004831, Andrew Carlson  recently had an interesting article in the New York Times  on "Aiming to Learn as We Do, a Machine Teaches itself". 

Just doing a Google Patent search on "data center" or cloud computing can be enlightening.  Another interesting Google patent was 0276686, for a Cloud Computing Assessment Tool.   With the tool, input your data center information and it will spit out how it could look at a number of different data center providers and what efficiency, green-ness, and cost scores/ratings are. Not to be left out, Microsoft's 20110278928 is certainly intriguing, as a Wind-powered data center. 


My 2011

In 2011 I was fortunate enough to take several data center tours that were each memorable in their own way.  In May I toured an almost complete CoreSite facility and the Vantage Data Centers campus in Santa Clara. This was while attending the Uptime Institute Symposium. I also geeked out and toured the corporate campuses for Apple and Google while out there (stalker-mode, not official tours).  While attending Cisco Live 2011 I toured the Vegas SuperNAP facility.   It was very impressive and certainly lived up to all that I had read about it.  

Since it is (kind of) in my back yard, I made several trips to the West Des Moines Microsoft data center in 2011.  They have been pretty quiet about the details on this site, but as an iteration of that "4th Generation" data center vision I am very intrigued about how it is engineered (and how it is operating so far).  It looks close to how they depict the 4th generation infrastructure in this blog post

I also completed a couple of white papers in 2011 at Data Center Knowledge:



Data Center Markets

Finally - the markets for data centers and U.S.-wide site selection are still an interest of mine. In 2007 I wrote a site selection white paper and in 2012 I would like to get a second / updated revision out.  There are a number of angles to consider in the process other than natural disasters and obviously a lot has happened in the industry since 2007.  Last month GigaOm published a post on the Top 5 places to build a data center, but for some reason left out Iowa in that list.  

In 2011 the U.S. broke its record for billion-dollar weather disasters.   I ran across an article over the holidays that adds an interesting angle to earthquakes as a natural disaster. In McDonald Ohio a 4.0 earthquake struck recently. "It was the latest in a series of minor quakes in the area in 2011, though the residents say Saturday's appeared to be stronger than others.  Many have struck near an injection well used to dispose of brine water that's a byproduct of oil and gas drilling."  

2012

2012 predictions?  I'm not a big fan of guessing what the new year will bring ; let's just say - big efficiency, big data (getting bigger), deeper cloud integration and modular data centers continue to proliferate.     ... and that Mayan calendar thing: five 9's chance that it was wrong.