Thursday, October 30, 2008

Iceland - A Green Data Center Hub?

We've heard the stories in recent months about activities in Iceland and the potential for locating data centers there. The geothermal resources and cold climate make it attractive for a power-hungry data center. The 2008 Icelandic Financial crisis may have some of those big companies that were "looking", thinking twice.

An article at Greentech Media is what had me thinking about Iceland again. The CEO of EYP made some comments about Iceland at a recent round table with reporters. According to the CIA World Factbook, Iceland is slightly smaller than Kentucky, has a population similar to Pitsburgh, and lists natural hazards of earthquakes and volcanic activity. The most interesting part of the article was these two lines:
"So in the future, large companies could roll them from center to center around the world and take advantage of low nightime electricity rates. Some HP customers and HP itself is already examining ways of shifting computing loads with the clock"

Not rocket science in terms of the concept, but it does reinforce the #1 site selection factor of cheap power, and #2, renewable energy possibilites in the area. I think in the end Iceland will loose out to Ireland as far as a European hub for data centers. Who knows though...... maybe Microsoft, Cisco, Google or others will build a cheap skeleton of a facility in Iceland where they could deploy containers quickly/easily -- and then pull them out just as easy to another location if economic problems in the country persisted.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Data Center Index 10/27/08

The data center index I created/started a few weeks back continues to plumit. My index is down over $5, but the DJINET index is down $15 for roughly the same time period.

John's Data Center Index as of 10/27/08: $17.66

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cisco's TechWiseTV

I recently upgraded my iPod to an iPod Touch, and ever since have been watching more video podcasts.  I can list off a number of good shows that I have on my downloads list, but thought I would mention the Cisco TechWise TV show for those of you that hadn't heard of it.

Episode 38 is out -- Accelerating Virtual Machines and it has some good information about WAAS (Wide Area Acceleration Services) and VN-Link, which delivers virtual machine-aware network and storage services.  The video is below, but they also have a YouTube channel for previous episodes/videos.

Cisco WAAS technologies are pretty cool and I think you'll see that product line grow pretty fast for them.  A video on this WAAS page at Cisco gives an implementation case for Monsanto.  It's a nice video, but I have two problems:  they mention Iowa twice as if it is connected via 56k modem at best (so VERY not true btw); and the solution pairs WAAS with Microsoft Share Point.  I have never been much of a Share Point fan, but (Ben - don't read this) -- it is growing on me.  It has it's purpose and the product line has certainly evolved since I used it last.

Finally, itWorld Canada has a story on Cisco WAN Optimization and "dramatically shrinking" replication times between company data centers.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Microsoft Data Center Experience 2009

The blog reports that Microsoft will hold their second Data Center Experience in Chicago in Spring/Summer 2009!!!  Assuming that this will tour the NorthLake facility, it stands to be a very cool event!

Transformational Technologies On the Horizon

Just a couple of quick links to interesting 100Gig articles I ran across recently and an article about the Father of the Internet....

From PC World --  researchers have created an optical network component that they say can encrypt data travelling at 100 Gbps.  The advantage comes from companies utilizing Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (WDM)  in corporate networks.
"But encryption still is typically done electronically, at a top speed of about 10G bps, Telcordia's Etemad said. Without the high-speed optical encryption, enterprises that wanted to carry 100G bps of traffic couldn't take advantage of the efficiency of putting it all on one wavelength."

TMCnet reports that Huawei Technologies has reportedly deployed a 100 Gigabit Ehternet WDM prototype.  Back in June of this year Cisco and Comcast did a demo of a 100GbE router interface.  

Finally -- in the list of "Tech gods", Vint Cerf is certainly in my top 5.   Network World has a summary of his keynote speech from the Internet Days conference.  IPv6, DNSSEC, and international characters (in DNS) are what he thinks will be a part of the "big changes"  in the coming years.  Check out the article here.  

Data Center and Green Design

I ran across a couple of interesting posts on CleanTechnica recently, and then a newspaper article tonight that prompted this blog post.  The CleanTechnica posts I liked were:
Then - today the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had an article on designing buildings for increased productivity.  The thing that caught my attention was the mention of the new $21 million Monsanto data center.  I imagine/hope I am reading too much into this, but.....
"...Fox aimed to limit human errors by introducing daylight into much of the space.  The firm said studies showed natural light improved the efficiency and mood of employees."
I'm all for this in the office space -- but they seemed to be talking particularly about the data center itself.  Any reader of my blog would know there are any number of security, natural disaster and other concerns with putting windows in the data center!  Anyway...the construction video is below...

Monday, October 20, 2008

John's Data Center Index: Week Ending 10/17/08

My data center index that I started a few weeks ago ended down 2.01  at 19.4.

It was yet another turbulent week for the markets. The other Index I have kept an eye on, the Dow Jones Internet Average, ended up down 6.37, at 64.46

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Nationwide Data Center in New Albany, OH

I know a couple of people that work at Nationwide in Des Moines, IA.  Des Moines is (I believe) Nationwide's second largest presence of employees next to their headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.  Nationwide will build a new data center approximately 14 miles to the north east of their headquarters -- once again showing that site selection seems to be thrown out the window in favor of building close to where your existing offices / people are.

The 120,000 square feet facility will be constructed on 45 acres in New Albany's Research and Information district.  Apparently there is no rush, as construction is not set to begin until January of 2010.

Check out the article on the announcement here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Storage Networking World

Storage Networking World is going on this week, and (big surprise) there is a lot of press and new product launches going on in the storage industry.  The most interesting ones to me are EMC's FCoE products and the CloudNAS from Nirvanix.  I am really intrigued by Nirvanix and intend to dig a little deeper into their service in the near future.  

Here are the highlights I've seen for storage news this week:

  • This wasn't a news release - but check out the solid state drives (SSD) at Intel!  They come in 80GB and 160GB capacities and the first enterprise class SSD is expected to ship by the end of the year.  I think 2009 will be a big year for SSD.

Social Engineering in the Data Center

I listened to a TWiT podcast recently with the one and only Kevin Mitnick.  If you don't know who Kevin is, follow this link and see his story -- he is a pretty amazing security expert who has been through a lot.  There was an interesting part in the story he was telling on TWiT about HID proximity card spoofing.  The spoofing has been around a while, but he makes it sound pretty easy.  Kevin is widely known for his social engineering.

Via a tweet from @ciscoDC tonight I also read a very interesting paper on data center security.  It covers the physical side of security for a data center and related social engineering that can go on.  I think so much effort is put into digital security and facility security, that the people and process side of the business get ignored.  This paper does a very good job of conveying the importance of people and processes.  
"A terrorist isn't likely to be walking in with guns blazing and take over the building, but rather play a game of invisibility and misdirection, taking advantage of the very nature of "good-willed" or ignorant individuals...these external tests can help identify these weak areas."
Check the paper out here.

Also along the process side of things -- check out an Uptime Institue paper on using ITIL to gain data center efficency.  

Sunday, October 12, 2008

John's Data Center Stock Index

I imagine we are in for another week of Wall Street news and analysis.  As I mentioned last week, I decided (for the heck of it) to create my own Index.  I researched it a little bit and decided to use the capitalization-weighted method.  I wanted to use it just to keep an eye on the market, from a data center perspective.  Many have speculated that the data center industry will continue to boom throughout all of the rest of the turmoil in the financial industry.  Google Spreadsheets has some awesome formula tie-ins to Google Finance that made tracking my Index very easy.

If anyone would like to see the spreadsheet - just let me know and I will share it.  I picked the companies in my index as representatives of colocation providers, infrastructure equipment manufacturers, service providers and REITs.  I wanted to keep the list somewhat managable -- I am open for suggestions if anyone feels there is a company that is missing from my list.  Outside of Cisco, I wanted to keep the Really large companies out of the mix (i.e.: Microsoft, Google).  I felt Cisco contributes SO much to the data center that they were a good candidate.  The companies in my index are:

Cisco, EMC, Digital Realty Trust, Equinix, Terrermark, Savvis, Level 3, DuPont Fabros, Internap, Switch and Data, Akamai, VMWare, Rackable, Schneider Electric (APC).

I started tracking it on Oct. 6th, and it was 23.13.  On Oct. 10th, it was 19.12

I'll post the Index price once a week, or more often if requested.  I'm mainly interested in this acting like any other stock index -- just an aggregate view of the industry.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wednesday Links

Too many stories -- too little time to comment.

Some of these are on the current Wall Street situation (hard to avoid that topic recently).  On a side note to that -- I am building my own stock index for data center companies.  Google Spreadsheet makes this amazingly easy.  I want to get a full week of data before blogging about it though, so more on Monday....

Wednesday Links:

  • Veritas Cluster Server One -- Symantec Delivers new High Availability Disaster Recovery platform
  • Sun Microsystems recognized by EPA for surpassing agressive greenhouse gas emissions goal.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Welsh Data Center, IBM and Carbon Offsets

I don't have a lot of time to comment on these stories, but found each of them to be interesting:

  • Massive data center planned for Wales.  In April of this year we learned about Next Generation Data's plans for a $400 facility in Newport, Wales.  Today, PC World had an article on the now $346 million renovation of an old microchip fabrication plant.  The building and infrastructure that NGD is putting into this facility is pretty impressive -- and reminds me of some of Terremark's NAP of the Capitol Region.
  • Any good tech blog wouldn't be hip without at least one mention of Cloud Computing.  So....  The ICT Review has an article about the IBM initiative that "extends its traditional software delivery model toward a mix of on-premise and cloud computing applications with new software, services and technical resources for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and clients"

Monday, October 06, 2008

1&1's Lenexa Kansas Photo Tour

Just a quick link to Information Week -- they have a series of photos taken at 1&1's Lenexa, Kansas data center. Check them out here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Wecome to the Matrix

UsuallyI am reading and linking to information about massive, mega data centers that Microsoft, Google, Yahoo or others are building.  I ran across a presentation tonight, given at the Qcon conference that was really fascinating (in an incredibly geeky kind of way).

It was given by Richard Gabriel and is titled Architectures of Extrordinarily Large, Self-Sustaining Systems.  I really enjoyed the talk he gives and I think it has a ton of insight into software design and the building of Ultra Large Scale Systems - which he defines as "one that is impossible to build because it exceeds critical limit of today's software engineering technology.

I do think this further validates the change in data center architectures in that ultra large scale software will run in ultra large scale computing environments.  Welcome to the Matrix

Check out the presentation here.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Links - IBM and Wireless at Fiber Speeds

IBM is in the news recently regarding two foreign centers. PC World reports that IBM plans to open a new data center early next year in Scotland. This facility, at $3.52 million, is suited for medium-sized businesses. Check out the PC World article here.

IBM also recently (today) announced that they awarded Schneider Electric the contract to design and provide electrical distribution, building management/security system, high density cooling and critical power solutions for their India data center. Schneider Electric is a pretty huge company, and thanks to acquisitions has all of the necessary parts to fulfill such a large contract. The facility should be complete by March 2009. Check out the article here.

MIT Technology Review has a story about new millimeter-wave technology that sends data at 10 gigabits per second. The article is fascinating and I recommend reading it -- here.

ReadWriteWeb has an article on 5 Big Data Center Trends for 2008. Blades, Green, Virtualization, Clouds, Enterprise Linux. Maybe it's just me -- but I would throw the container model in that trend list. I think we are just starting to see containers in the data center and that there is a lot more to come. Check out the article here.