Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Titan Private Security Vault

I found the following article to be pretty interesting. An Oklahoma off-site storage and safety deposit box company blossoms into a colocation and DR facility. Titan Private Security Vault is building a 20k sq.ft. facility in Sapulpa, Oklahoma so they can offer a wide variety of services. With extremely hardened and redundant facilities, help from technology advisor I2e and a ton of neighboring Texas data centers going up (and needing off-site DR), I have to think Titan will be successful. The most interesting thing in the article was the last line:

"Titan also is working to expand to the Kansas City area in a mine converted to a "mega” data center with more than 1.5 million square feet."

Check out the article here


Working in the computer industry I use, and am surrounded by acronyms. Some times it seems they are used just for the sake of sounding important.

The uber global consulting engineering firm EYP has recently added a dedicated C4ISR group to its Washington D.C. group. This addition creates a "unique bridge" and will assure "continuity of operations (COOP)".

I simply have to quote a sentence from this link, for two reasons: one because it will define C4ISR for those (like me) that didn't know what it means; and two, because it accomplishes a perfect marketing spin, while (like a politician) not really saying anything meaningful.

"The term C4ISR is an acronym for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and refers to the facility, technology, operations and people who manage the protection umbrella of U.S. national security, through a netcentric approach to today’s asymmetric warfare threat."

Anyway... here is the Energy and Power Mangement site link

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Failure Happens

Just a quick link to the O'Reilly Radar blog -- where Jesse Robins does a nice summary of the 365 Main outage. I am a visual learner, so I Really appreciate the nice diagrams he has.

check it out here

New 40k sq.ft Peak 10 DC in Nashville

Peak 10 is building a second data center in Nashville, Tenn. Not too many other details released, other than it being 40,000 sq.ft and that they will be investing heavily in to the infrastructure (can you 'not' do that in the market today? :)

Peak 10 is investing heavily in space, power, and bandwidth to enable current Nashville customers to grow their infrastructure in both the existing and new facility. The new data center will be in close proximity to the original facility, convenient to customers with presence in both, and will be built to next generation data center standards.
Check out the press release here

Friday, July 27, 2007

Virtualization Follow-up

Just a couple of things I wanted to write about as a follow-up on my post a while ago on Virtualization (man, this is one, hot topic)

  • Unless you have been under a rock, you have heard about "Data Center 3.0" from Cisco. BTW: I thought Tim O'Reilly was the only one that could coin a term like that. :) Anyway, this is one seriously cool product that I plan on reading up on soon. To top things off, they then turn around and invest $150 million in VMWare!

  • One seriously cool company I forgot to mention in my Virtualization post was Platespin. It's best just to check out their site and product offering, but they summarize their offering as "Anywhere to anywhere workload portability and protection". Since I made a wild guess about Opsware being bought, I would like to say that Platespin sure seems ripe for the picking ....... by......umm....BMC (yeah, that's it)

  • Microsoft Cloud OS: This isn't really virtualization - but I'm going to throw it in because it is kind of cool. Cnet has a good article on the next Microsoft developer platform where they plan to open it all up to the public. "Microsoft plans to open up much of the technology that powers Windows Live as well as the underlying infrastructure." Check out the Cnet article here.

  • OK -- I saved the best for last. I'll start with a quote that I really like: "future of IT is being defined on the Internet". Granted, it is a little basic for a cool quote, but read this Web Hosting Talk article and you'll see why it is inspiring. The quote is from Barry Lynn of 3Tera. 3Tera and Layered Technologies teamed to build a virtual private data center (grid), composed of 443 CPUs, 920GB RAM, and 47 terabytes of storage. They allow you to easily scale your product/site/application because they have infrastructure over many data centers and 'they' worry about the infrastructure, not you. It is a step closer to a true utility computing model and think what you want...."I" think it is the way of the future.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Do you want fries with that?

Pour a data center floor and make some french fries too! :)

While pouring the floor in Microsoft's new Quincy data center, the construction company found that it presented a health and safety issue because of the diesel exhaust.

Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos confirmed that the construction company is using biodiesel at the Quincy, Wash., site. "It smells like you're in a fast-food restaurant in there," he said. Biodiesel, which in this case is made from the same type of oil that is often used in restaurant fryers, can let off a scent similar to fried food when it's burned in engines. The first building there is now finished, he said.
This is the largest Microsoft data center yet, and it plans on running on hydro-electric power. I think I will setup a Google alert for the phrase "carbon footprint"....that seems to be favored by many journalists and press release writers.

Check out the InfoWorld article here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

365 Main Power Outage!

365 Main apparently lost power today. Tens of thousands of PG&E customers in San Francisco were down Tuesday afternoon, starting around 2pm and service restored around 4pm.
"The problem began when breakers in the utility's transmission service opened for an unknown reason, Chiu said. Every time workers attempted to close those breakers to restore service, it caused voltage fluctuations -- high and low flows of electricity through the system -- that impacted PG&E's Martin Substation in Daly City, she said"

365 Main, host to Craig's List, Yelp, Technorati, Six Apart properties and others were affected. The shocker was that the facility 'lost' power, and generators were not reported working until 45 minutes later!

I think this will easily be a case study for the industry with whatever went wrong at the facility that the generators did not come on. I only hope 365 Main explains what happened. Maybe the aforementioned sites may also learn to load balance across multiple data center sites as well. :)

Here are the links:

Monday, July 23, 2007

HP to Acquire OpsWare

Earlier this year I had a hunch. I'm a big fan of anything Marc Andreesen does and so I have followed OpsWare for some time. I figured with everything going on in the market and the position that OpsWare was in, they would be acquired, or go on a spending spree themselves.

Although it was the wrong buyer, I did make a guess at this back in May; here

Today, HP announced that they are acquiring OpsWare for $1.6 Billion. The deal is subject to regulatory approval, but once complete OpsWare will merge with a "HP Subsidiary".

Here is the coverage:

Network World
Data Center Knowledge
Marc's Blog

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wind Power

As many people look for alternative power sources, I found an article at the Houston Chronicle interesting. City officials in Houston are negotiating a contract to power 1/3 of the city with wind power.

Looking to stabilize a $150 million annual electricity bill, the wind will be part of the annual 1.3 kilowatt hours needed to power city infrastructure.

The article has 6 pages of user comments ranging from loving the idea to absolute hate. I figure with all of the data centers that are there and being built, the city probably needs an alternate source. :)

Somewhat accidentally, I ran across this article in CSE Magazine, describing how wind power is being used to generate hydrogen. The project is a collaboration of Xcel Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

"The facility links two wind turbines to electrolyzers, which pass the wind-generated electricity through water to split the liquid into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can be stored and used later to generate electricity from either an internal combustion engine turning a generator or from a fuel cell. In either case, there are no harmful emissions and the only by-product from using the hydrogen fuel is water."

Check out the Houston Chronicle article here

GDCM Signs Storm Technologies as a Reseller

Storm Technologies, a specialist computer reseller has signed up to sell Global Data Center Management's flagship product, nlyte.

Nylte is a comprehensive data center management, automation and intelligence application.

"John Brooker, Managing Director, Storm Technologies commented: “By partnering with GDCM, we’re able to provide real efficiency gains to our customers. We chose nlyte, above any other tool on the market, because of it's proven ability to reduce costs within the data center as well as reducing power and cooling, enabling our customers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

I'll have to admit that I had heard of UK based GDCM, but did not really know too much about the company or software. There is a lot of good marketing swag on their site, but I think the one that wrapped it up nicely for me was:

"GDCM underpins the next generation of datacenter management, enabling complete audit, mapping, optimisation and control of global datacenter assets"
They claim that nlyte is designed to optimize utilization across power, cooling, space and connectivity restraints. The press release states that clients have a 16% reduction in power requirements, which, if repeated across the world would "equate to a reduction of up to 96,000,000 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide production per year."

Check out the press release here

Sunday, July 15, 2007

InfoBunker Article

I'm not sure what the purpose of the article is, but Jason McGinnis from Infobunker is in the news again explaining all of the security and under-ground madness associated with the facility.

This time at the New York Post

Check out the article here

Frankfurt Data Center

A while back I wrote about the underground Frankfurt Data Center at the airport. Recently I ran across another Frankfurt Data Center calling itself a "Tier IV Shell Data Center".

This looks to be an offering from global real estate adviser DTZ.

The stats, pictures, location and brochure can be found here. The interesting thing (that I liked) is on the facility page you can download a PDF of the typical floor plan (a Worldcom document?). I like looking at these just to see how others arrange their rooms, rack layout, etc.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Virtualization is (my vote) the top buzzword used in 2007 so far. I am both sick of the headlines and jealous that I don't get to experiment with it as much as I would like. I have read good and bad about it and either way, it is here to stay. It looks to be a main topic at the Next Generation Data Center conference and VMWorld is coming up soon (BTW: Intel just recently invested $218.5 million in VMWare )

Besides satisfying my own curiosity on virtualization, I was asked a while back exactly what it is. With all that I have seen and as I have watched virtualization evolve, it is a pretty vague term anymore. Virtualization can apply to a number of things and technoloiges. I follow Grid technologies as well, and there is often some overlap and/or confusion with Virtualization. So... for myself, the person that asked what it was, and for anyone else interested, here is my run down of defining virtualization:

Since this is a data center blog, let's start there. One of the first articles that prompted this post was news of a patent. eGenera claims it is has received a patent for an all-in-one N+1 tiered disaster recovery solution. It provides a hardware-neutral Disaster Recovery solution that encapsulates your entire data center via grid and virtualization technologies. Joe Foran's article here goes on to explain why this is silly and not patent-worthy.

Intel launched its Data Center Virutalization project in order to enable transparent use of resources worldwide. They claim that since launching the program they have achieved 11% increase in server utilization and saved $77 million through cost avoidance. Check out the article here - click on contents--page 36

Server (or Operating System) Virtualization
When most people hear the term virtualization they most likely think of server virtualization. According to searchservervirtualization.com, server virtualization is "the masking of server resources, including the number and identity of individual physical servers, processors, and operating systems, from server users." Players in this market are many, although dominated by VMWare , Microsoft ,and Xen. There are also a ton of blogs on the topic, but I read VMBlog and gridvm.org (because I LOVE Grid technology as well).

Storage Virtualization
Virtualization of storage can of course be twisted to mean what the vendor wants it to, but it's basically pooling physical storage and managing it from a central console. You can read more in the Wikipedia article here. One of my favorite companies to watch here isn't really in the 'virtualization' market, although they fit the description. Cleversafe is a really cool idea that takes storage from all over the world, splits it into slices and allows you to have your data (virutally) everywhere at once. They call it "Dispersed Storage Grids". I probably am not doing it justice, so I would highly recommend checking out the details on their site .

File Virtualization
It seems easy to think of this as the same thing as storage virtualization. The best way that "I" can describe file virtualization is to explain the vendors. EMC's Rainfinity operates at the CIFS and NFS file protocol level. Click here for more info on Rainfinity (not for the weak of budget). Netapp bought Spinnaker many years ago and now has their Virtual File Manager solution, that well....does everything. Check it out here for a better explanation than I can give it. I imagine there are many others in the market; check out this Internet News article for more information.

Application Virtualization
I had heard 'some' about application virtualization, but really started getting interested in it when I saw Softricity. They have since been bought by Microsoft and become "Softgrid Application Virtualization". http://www.softricity.com/ Again, I probably can't describe it perfectly, so check out their site. It basically delivers applications for users without ever installing them...where ever they are. It's an on-demand system that doesn't care what PC the user is on and from a system administration aspect makes a ton of management effecencies. My favorite player in this market however is Data Synapse. I ran across Data Synapse when looking at grid solutions. Gartner has listed them in the 'real-time infrastructure' market. Seriously cool stuff.

Desktop Virtualization
I won't go into this area too much - it's basically things like VMWare player, Parallels, and then other things like a Citrix environment. The Virtual Machine market has a lot of options

Virtual Nework?
Interesting......check out Peter Christy's blog

Virtual Worlds (I had to)
Business Week has a nice article on the Virtual Web. From my perspective, the only one in this market is Second Life (I've been a member for some time now).

Well, I hope my ramblings have helped someone other than myself. Virtualization is certainly an interesting and multi-faceted technology. Finally - here are some items I have read that I found interesting on the topic:

Friday, July 13, 2007

Stargate Data Center

I 'think' I checked out this blog last April, but forgot to post about it. Stargate is blogging a photo album as their new Data Center is constructed. I happened upon it again today, and they are certainly making progress.

I take a lot of pictures as well as data centers are constructed --- it is just cool to see the progress and all that goes into the building of a good center.

Check out the Stargate blog (and latest pictures) here

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ontario Data Centre Project

A plan to modernize public infrastructure for Ontario's Government has reached RFP (request for proposal) phase. This will allow the 'short list' of selected vendors make a proposal to design, build, finance and maintain the new data centre.

Although they are happy the project is moving along quickly, this is a Government project - and I am still amazed at all of the steps, red tape and stages a company has to go through to even bid at the chance to win such a contract. However......

"This project is one of many in the McGuinty government's $30-billion plus infrastructure investment plan to modernize public infrastructure while ensuring value for taxpayer dollars."

For this fact alone, only the really large players have gotten through the first round (request for qualifications)

The overall project just (continues) to show the importance people are placing on infrastructure, data centers and modernizing their assets to compete.

Check out the news here and Government site here

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

IBM Data Center Modeling

I watched a video on IBM and it reminded me of some old software I used to use. Many many years ago the company I worked for used CA Unicenter for monitoring. It was pretty cool software and for the price, it ought to be. The semi-cheesy and not really useful feature it had was a 3-D fly-in view to computer hardware. Complete with really bad graphics you could fly in from your world view, all the way down to inside of a server on your network.

Anyway, the video explains that IBM is building data centers in Second Life (a virtual world) to assist planners and designers for real-world data centers. Pretty cool!

Check it out here

nVidea Data Center Tour

Here is a cool video of the nVidea data center in Santa Clara.

Joe Sura (VP Information Systems) certainly has a nice setup.

I still, however, love the Lucas Arts DC tour that Cnet did a while back. Check it out here

P.S.: I was listening to a podcast that interviewed Jonathan Schwartz and he was mentioning how putting images or video in a blog post increased traffic. :)

Google's Lenoir Data Center now $1.8 Billion!

"Documents released following a public records request by the News-Topic show that the scope of the project could expand, bringing the company's overall investment to as much as $1.8 billion."

The original data center size is growing larger, and they are pouring the pad for the second facility.
Each location had a sizable plot of land....maybe all of these announced locations will really be 2 to 3 times the size originally thought.

Check out the rest of the details here

Monday, July 09, 2007

DNS - "critical infrastructure"

I'm going to throw this one in the "Understatement of the year" category....

"IETF DNS Working Group defines DNS as "critical infrastructure"

Check out the IGP blog entry here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Grand Central

I'm taking a break from Data Center news to tell everyone about a service I absolutely LOVE!!

GrandCentral is, well.....hard to describe, but it is awesome! As their site puts it, it's a new way to use your phones. One number, one voicemail and a TON of features.

And just when it couldn't get any better....they were recently acquired by Google! It will be interesting to see how this changes the service and what else will be added.

The button in the previous post will leave me a voice-mail. It's just an experiment, but anyone is welcome to try it out.

1. click the button
2. enter your phone
3. GrandCentral will call YOU
4. Leave a message

Monday, July 02, 2007

DataCenter Build vs. Buy Whitepaper

Just a quick link to what looks to be a very good white paper.

It's by Fredd Mapp and is loaded with surveys and statistics from data center professionals.

Check it out here.

Overhead or Under-Floor Installation?

Network World has a free chapter of Douglas Alger's Cisco Press book Build the Best Data Center Facility for Your Business

The chapter is an interesting read on overhead or raised floor design. I was very glad to see that he at least made the caveat on the needs and space of your data center ultimately determining which solution is the best.

Check out the full chapter here