Friday, August 31, 2007

Google Dalles Pictures

I haven't taken any photos of the Council Bluffs Google Data Center yet, but thanks to Information Week there are photos of the Dalles, Ore. facility.

Check out the nice photo album of the facility and surroundings here.

Blog Day 2007

Blog Day 2007
Since it is Blog Day 2007 I thought I would put my two cents in (or 5 links). More than 90% of my blogroll is tech related, so this is some what of a challenge to come up with non-tech blogs. I like the idea though and hope that you find these enjoyable.

1. Financial Talk for the rest of us
2. 24-7 Family History Circle Blog from
3. Dan Pink Author of A Whole New Mind (favorite book of mine I read recently)
4. Happy Neuron I just like the title :) (good site though)
5. Digitally Imported My favorite online radio station

Monday, August 27, 2007

Storage Service Provider (SSP)

A post from the Burton Group made me nostalgic tonight. They brought up the idea of a potential revival in Storage Service Providers. InfoWorld also writes about the new storage cloud and how it will undercut the market dominance from EMC, HP and IBM. I think Nik Simpson states it pretty well: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

I immediately went to check blogs from Chuck Hollis and Dave Hitz to see if they had anything to say on the topic. They didn't. Why? Because it is silly. First of all it's a term....nothing more. Journalists and marketing geeks like nothing more than to coin a term to spin the hype machine and see who will pay attention. Storage Service Provider (SSP), SAAS (Storage as a Service), storage cloud, Managed Storage Service....whatever. It is all just 1's and 0's on platters.

Reading the article took me back a bit, as a number of years ago I was a part of a dot-com company that offered online storage. We were like the rest of the dot-coms and offered 1gb, 5gb and 10gb plans, and then had a backup tool that would take your data directly to your online account. We ran the site for many years, and I always remember looking to one company as 'the' big dog of the industry. Storage Networks was the SSP of the time and (I think) had grown quite a large business. They took the enterprise side of the market, while sites like idrive, xdrive, swapdrive and others took the consumer side. Take a look to see what Storage Networks site looked like in 2000.

Today, we have Amazon's S3. I'm still amazed at this offering and almost equally amazed that it hasn't caught on more than it has. I was trying to think if S3 had any real competition and the only thing I could come up with is an equally intriguing offering from Cleversafe. It is fun to see how people are using S3 though. Check out this article about Stardust@home:

The Stardust@home project uses the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store and deliver the tens of million of images that represent the data collected from the dust particle aerogel experiment.

Anyway....back to the SSP model. The model is an enterprise one. I really believe that S3 and other online storage services that have survived can only truly cater to home/office users, small companies and some aspects of the hosting world. Enterprise customers want their data close to them and want to know it is managed, protected and monitored at all times. Regulations and data leakage incidents have ensured that enterprise storage is on a short leash at all times.

I do believe that managed storage services (see - even I can't stop from using IT lingo) have a place for some. Inside the data center, or between trusted parties and elaborate SLA and other agreements, it would potentially be beneficial to let someone else manage the scalability, reliability and a few other 'ilities of your storage. If nothing else, perhaps the consumer side of the market will help to push down some of the insane prices that the enterprise players push. Maybe a colo or integrator could offer a pay-for-what-you-use model to the SMB market and see if it flies.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Netapp Cogeneration

It's too late for me to think up any comments on this article, other than to say that this is pretty cool (literally) stuff.

Very much worth a read.

Check out the article here

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Google: Council Bluffs Update

The building has already been expanded, the exterior walls are up and they are continuing to hire/recruit for jobs at the Google Council Bluffs facility. They mention "working around weather conditions" -- it has either been extremely hot, or raining constantly here lately, so I'm sure that has hindered things.

I really wish I could drive down there and snap some shots of construction -- assuming that I could even get anywhere near enough to get a glimpse.

Check out the article here.


On the 'Grid' website there is an article on Data Synapse and the growing trend of jumping on the virtualization band-wagon. They now consider themselves the fastest growing application virtualization vendor.

I personally like the term grid (for them) better, but I can see a fit with virtualization as well.

"We're actually a lot like VMware in the problem we're solving," said Bernardin. But instead of creating virtual machines, DataSynapse creates "application instances" to maximize application performance, decoupling applications from underlying resources to improve scalability and resilience and set priorities.

"That requires an underlying platform, such as a grid," said Bernardin, who calls grid technology a "precursor" to such advanced functionality.

They expect 50% sales growth this year and a potential IPO next year! I ran across them last year and really like their product offerings. I spoke with a partner rep at the company because I have an idea for a product offering of my own that would incorporate their product. Their GridServer and FabricServer products are extremely cool and worth a look.

I would 'almost' venture to say that they are a good target for merger/acquisition. Perhaps the IPO is a backup plan. Adding/acquiring something like 3Tera's Applogic might be a nice complement....?

Check out the article here

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Virtualization: I'm OK, You're OK

With all of the hype around virtualization, I couldn't resist another post. A few items I've found while surfing lately have really peaked my interest.

The first one is well over my head, but extremely cool. It's a year old, but I imagine some of the concepts still apply (or have been revised/improved/tweaked). It's called Hardware Virtualization Rootkits, from Dino A. Dai Zovi and can found here. If you are in to security at all, this guy does some insane research.

The second one I ran across was from a favorite blogger of mine - Christofer Hoff. It's a presentation on Virtualization and Network Security. It's an excellent mix of Virtualization concepts, vulnerabilities and solutions from his former company, Crossbeam. Check out the blog post here and presentation here.

The final is a presentation entitled The Virtualized Rootkit is Dead from Matasano, Symantec and RootLabs. It discusses HVM malware, virtualized malware detection and the Samsara framework. (Dino Dai Zovi is on the Matasono team)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What I did on my Summer Vacation

It seems like I wrote a multitude of these type of papers when I was in school. For the sake of catching up on links, here is what I did on my 2007 summer vacation.

  • Outside 2.0: As a computer geek, information junkie and perpetual web surfer, this getting outside thing is pretty cool. My family takes an annual trip to visit relatives and a particular town we visit is a wonderful reminder of the real world, wonderful scenery and the perfect place to ditch the phone and laptop (besides, there is no wi-fi hotspot for MILES. On the second day we went to a St. Louis Cardinals game (the 2006 World Champion Cardinals). Although my sons' hero didn't win the game for us like last year, they did win and it was a good (but really really hot) game. The relatives house where we stayed did not have an internet connection, but their neighbors were nice enough to have open wireless access points for me...and a few that had the default router login/password still on it. :)
  • I was able to catch up on a number of podcasts that I listen to and try a few new ones out. I was glad to see that Om Malik has a podcast on the red-hot media network Revision3. Since Om made a few (much more qualified) predictions, I thought I would give it a try also. He stated that he thought Ebay will buy Second Life; 'I' Think Google will buy it and integrate a version of a virtual world into Google Earth. Ok, maybe this is just my dream....but it could happen.
  • I was also able to read a few books I had waiting in the queue. I listened to an audio version of Al Franken reading his book Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot. It was very funny and cool to hear Al reading it. I also read Blink, by Malcom Gladwell. This was a good book as well and now I need to back-track and read the predecessor The Tipping point. I'm thinking of a subscription to Audible as a Chrismas Present this year.
  • As an information junkie, I couldn't stay away from blogs for too long. Rich Miller kept me up to speed on the industry and I went back to read several posts from fellow Iowa blogger Trent Hamm. Trent writes a very good (and popular) blog, The Simple Dollar, on 'financial talk for the rest of us'. His story and how he finds the time and ideasvvfor writing his blog was/is inspiring. Check his blog out here.
  • For whatever reason I decided to peruse the quarterly 10-Q statements from Terremark, Equinix and Savvis. They were interesting in their lawyer and SOX-filled ramblings, but one thing caught my eye. From my last post, I had done a Google trends search for the term "data center". Interestingly, the second place region that is searching for that term from 2004-2007 is Singapore. In the Equinix 10-Q I read:
"In March 2007, the Company entered into long-term leases for new space in the same building in which the Company’s existing Singapore IBX center is located (the “Singapore IBX Expansion Project”). Minimum payments under these leases, which qualify as operating leases, total 3,674,000 Singapore dollars (approximately $2,394,000 as translated using effective exchange rates at June 30, 2007) in cumulative lease payments with monthly payments commencing in the third quarter of 2007. The Company is building out this new space in multiple phases. As of June 30, 2007, the Company incurred approximately $11,200,000 of capital expenditures to build out the first phase."
Singapore seems to be a hot spot, and I have to wonder if we'll see announcements out in the near future about data centers being built there.

  • In my Gmail I found a link to a Syska-Hennessy white paper that (due to it being vacation) I had some time to read. It was on outside air economizers and a very interesting read. My new term for the month is enthalpy ( In thermodynamics and molecular chemistry, the enthalpy or heat content (denoted as H or ΔH, or rarely as χ) is a quotient or description of thermodynamic potential of a system, which can be used to calculate the "useful" work obtainable from a closed thermodynamic system under constant pressure. ). As usual, I most likely wouldn't do it justice in trying to explain it, so check it out here.
  • Last, I worked some more on a Data Center Site Selection post I have been developing for some time. Through surfing various sites I ran across an article that mentioned the "Pandemic severity index". From a DR and BCP perspective, I thought this was pretty interesting. Check out the Wikipedia article on it here.

I still have a few days left of vacation -- perhaps I should get back to the outdoors and enjoy it while I can. It may take several weeks to get caught up on work, but the time spent with family, 100+ degree temperature and "are we there yet" car rides was definately worth it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Data Center 3.5

Since I am unable to attend the NGDC conference (I really, really wanted to go), I thought I would have a little fun and coin my own term. I would like to declare DataCenter 3.5. Why? Just because :)

Cisco declared Data Center 3.0, Eric Schmidt declared Web 3.0 and I'm going to declare Data Center 3.5.

This Infoworld article made the dare, so I thought I would oblige. :) I suppose I could attempt to put a little bit behind the statement. Let's take a look:

  • Data Center 1.0: Everything pre-2002 : from small server rooms all the way up to Exodus and other dot-com boom companies. BTW: When searching for Exodus, I found it funny that this is what I came up with. The Equinix IPO was August 11, 2000
  • Data Center 2.0: 2002-2006 : Post dot-com bubble rebuilding. The industry re-groups and numerous other colocation companies come on the scene. Many of the big players start to out-pace the S&P 500.
There you go.... data center 3.5 begins. :) It really is quite silly ; all we really measure in the what-ever x.x is a hype cycle. On that note, I wandered over to a fun little distraction...Google Trends. Here are my finds:

Data Center vs. Data Centre

Data Center companies in 2007 (I thought the 365 main spike was kind of funny)

Hopefully Public Relations 4.0 is next.

Monday, August 06, 2007

DNS Re-binding Attacks

This is a little off-topic, but incredibly interesting(originally found at the O'Reilly blog). It is a paper/presentation by Dan Kaminsky at the recent Black Hat Black Ops 2007 conference on turning your browser into a tcp/ip relay. Anyway....I have only read the first half dozen pages or so, but it is really fascinating. As Artur Bergman puts it in the O'Reilly blog post, "I'm really glad Danny is on our side"

PDF here
Slides here

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Google in Korea

I'm not sure if this means they are exactly 'building' a data center, but the Data Center Journal reports that Google is "transferring servers" to Korea in order to better comply with local regulations.

Other things I have read here and there, certainly show Google's interest in the global market, underwater fiber to Europe/Asia and peering arrangements.

Check out the Data Center Journal article here.
Google's Fiber (older story) here
Google jobs: Strategic Negotiator-Global Infrastructure

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Third Pipe

It seems there is an entire industry following what Google does now days. I have to admit that I am a Google-junkie. I use a vast majority of Google tools and applications and simply can't get enough (Google Earth being my favorite)

I had an idea recently and had it 'somewhat' confirmed by my favorite podcast, This Week in Tech. It's potentially far-fetched, but is, for the purpose of this blog, data center related. Before I get to what I am thinking, some background information:

  • Google searching for growth in cell phones.
    • Google is talking with carriers, pushing the mobile versions of its applications and prototyping it's own phone. If I remember right an iinovate podcast with Eric Schmidt had him mention 'mobile technologies' as the market to watch / grow in the future. Google has relationships with Vodafone, T-Mobile, Sprint and others. Eric Schmidt sits on the board at Apple (i.e. iPhone). Check out these articles for further information:
  • Google's $4.6 billion bid for the 700mhz spectrum
    • AT&T told Google to put their money where their mouth is, and well....they did! The news and commentary is worth a read:
The FCC also wants to spur commercial wireless innovation, especially when it comes to creating a "third pipe" for broadband that can provide an alternative to cable/DSL duopoly that prevails in most of the country.

Ok -- so where I am I going with this? Google obviously has plenty of mega-data centers going up around the world to house the amazing server infrastructure needed to satiate search and applications. But what about customer-access to the net via a 'third pipe' or other
wireless ventures? Well, we all know the story about shipping containers in Google parking garages in Mountain View. What if they had the containers put all over the U.S. and
used them as a small data center to connect communities, serve the immediate area and dominate the third pipe?

Ok, I can't seem to explain my idea the best, but basically -- the have the containers, they'll have the spectrum, customer applications and of course, the cash to lay out the infrastructure. I would think there is a minimal amount of infrastructure (networking and servers) needed to serve a particular market and if they put all of that in a container, dropped it on some of their
dark fiber and then had the mobile devices to connect....well, viola! Now -- let's hope they provide a little better physical security for these containers than the default Sun Black Box.

It's been a long day today (garage sale and tired kids), so I apologize if I am rambling and don't make sense. Thanks again to Leo Laporte of TWiT for confirming and discussing the thought.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

New Uptime Institute White Paper

The Uptime Institute has a new white paper out (draft). It is quite interesting and has a number of good statistics and observations about the industry. It reviews the facilities' CapEx and OpEx costs and examines what needs to happen to alleviate skewed trends. The title is The Invisible Crisis in the Data Center: The Economic Meltdown of Moore's Law

Besides being an excellent paper to read, I wanted to quote what I found to be a funny story inside the paper. It is nice to hear that large corporations can have large blunders. Here is an excerpt from the paper:

"...a company that invested $22M in blade servers without including the site facility representatives in the decision. Just to install the blades, a site infrastructure upgrade investment (site CapEx) of an additional $54M was required For three years of operation, another $21M was required for site OpEx."

Check out the white paper here