Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Review

I'm going to keep my final post of the year brief for a few reasons -- one, I waited until the very last minute to write it, and two, everyone is probably tired of 2009 reviews and 2010 predictions.

First - stocks. After over a year of manually tracking my own data center stock index I'm going to stop (actively) tracking it. I have found some amazingly cool Google Finance formulas for Google spreadsheet and should be able to create it on the fly when or if I want to. Check out this link to see the Google Finance snapshot of the stocks in my index currently. Another tool joining my arsenal is Wolfram Alpha. This site has some pretty awesome compute power for any number of search/compute queries. For instance - check out this comparison of Equinix, Terremark, Savvis and Internap stock information. Additionally, for the web geeks - check out the website data Wolfram Alpha generates - for instance, on

The other Google tool I like to use this time of year is Google Insight. Check out this graph showing Worldwide web Search Interest for colocation, "data center", "cloud computing":

Here is an insight graph for search terms Equinix, Savvis, Terremark, Switch & Data and Digital Realty Trust:

My take on the biggest story for 2009 is tours of mega data centers such as Microsoft and Google and the planning of a $1 billion Apple data center. I (continue) to think that container data centers are a valid architecture, and not just for the big companies. Hey Microsoft - if you need me to go move some dirt to get the Des Moines, Iowa data center moving I'll do it. :)

The only prediction I'll make for 2010 is that it will be a breakout year for desktop virtualization. We'll finally come full circle from the green screen dumb terminals that talked to the mainframe, with virtualized desktops talking to the cloud.

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and Happy 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Review of 2009 Smart Grid News

Smart Grid is a topic captured my attention late last year and I have been (loosely) following the topic ever since. A Google Insights graph shows that I am right in line with everyone else and that 2009 was a big year for smart grid. In April 2009 I started collecting a few links on smart grid and this past summer I had every intention on posting a few links out to the things I had been reading. Well, the year just got away from me and later in the year I decided to do this 2009 roundup of news, sites and various links of interest. I know there is much more than what I have listed here, but these are my bookmarks.

Security in the smart grid is of particular interest to me. I've been in IT long enough, and have read Christopher Hoff's blog long enough now that I know security aspects of this technology can NOT be underestimated. Earlier this month President Obama appointed a new Cybersecurity Coordinator, Howard Schmidt. Let's just say I bet/hope security aspects of smart grid technologies are on his short list. Below is my list of smart grid websites about companies, products, projects and government related information. After that I'll list my news bookmark collection as 2009 progressed.

Smart Grid Companies / web sites / projects / government

2009 time line of events and news about smart grids.
Interest in the topic peaked in April when the U.S. power grid being hacked was a big story, and then again in October when President Obama announced $3.4 billion in funds to enable the "largest single energy grid investment in U.S. history." I have a few news stories about the current power grid, but (to me) they are related to the smart grid.

and in 2010....
Finally - my twitter list for SmartGrid

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Writing For Data Center Knowledge

Over a month since my last blog post .... wow. Between the holidays, being busy at work and busy at home, I just have not found the time to blog. However, one main reason I haven't posted much here lately is the 'other' blog I write for. If you follow the data center industry then surely you have seen -- I am a contributor to the editorial team at the one and only Data Center Knowledge blog.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing for the site and while much of what I'll cover is a roundup of news in the industry, I also have covered various topics or news more in-depth; such as:

The Data-Crunching Powerhouse Behind 'Avatar'
Blue Waters and the Supercomputing Frontier

I will continue to write 'other' stories here as I see fit.... although I also intend to just tweet them out if time does not permit a full blog post. I also intend to do some end of the year items regarding 2009 review, 2010 predictions and a final edition of my data center stock index.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Electricity Decentralization Study

I have been thinking about an update to my now 2 year old white paper on data center site selection. Many blog posts and articles on the web this past year have prompted me to think of many new additions that could be integrated in to it.

For instance -- reported today on a very interesting story about the 100-Mile Diet for Electricity? It discusses a new/second version of a study done by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) titled Energy Self-Reliant States. It is a very interesting article that of course ties into the number one priority for data centers -- power. The study argues that "the cost of constructing new transmission lines to carry the power and electricity losses during transmission could result in an electricity cost to the consumer that is about the same, or higher, than local generation with minimal transmission upgrades."

I have a blog post brewing on the red-hot topic for 2009, smart grids, that will summarize the industry news for the year and everything that is happening with smart grid technologies. Stay tuned.

Microsoft Chicago Data Center Photo Tour

Although originally reported over a month ago at Data Center Knowledge --- CNet has a photo tour (follow-up or re-hash story) of the new Microsoft data center in Chicago today.

I am still hopeful that the data center Microsoft is planning for Des Moines will be their generation 4 data center model. I am extremely curious to see that in action. I've analyzed the video and pictures that they published last December a few thousand times trying to figure out each component and exactly how the containers are integrated and supported.

Hey Microsoft -- are you ready to build in Des Moines yet??!!?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Merger and Acquisition Targets

Mergers and acquisitions are always fun to speculate on. In this industry it seems like a week doesn't go by where some M&A activity is happening. With the recent Equinix acquisition of Switch and Data I have to wonder if more data center industry acquisitions will happen before the end of the year. Both Google and Cisco have said that shopping sprees will continue to gain speed in 2010. had a Barron's article summary that intrigued me today about M&A speculation. The article points to 10 technology companies that are potential takeover candidates, including several that I have thought of:
  1. Riverbed (RVBD | $1.53B market cap): major competitor to Cisco's WAN Optimization and Application Acceleration products. I've always thought Cisco would buy them, but perhaps HP is better suited.
  2. NetApp (NTAP | $9.63B market cap): another possible target for Cisco. Otherwise maybe HP or Dell?
  3. F5 Networks (FFIV | $3.73B market cap): No idea; maybe HP or EMC
  4. Brocade (BRCD | $3.69B market cap): seems like HP is the lead candidate... if not, maybe EMC or IBM
and others.... Check out the complete article and list here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Switch and Data Shareholder Investigation

There was an interesting development in the Equinix acquisition of Switch and Data late this last week. Kendall Law Group announced a shareholder investigation into Switch and Data Board of Directors in connection with the proposed acquisition by Equinix.

Their release states:
"Kendall Law Group’s investigation concerns whether the consideration to be paid to shareholders below the fair or inherent value of the Company and whether the directors and may have breached their fiduciary duties by not acting in the shareholders’ best interests in connection with the sale process."
Kendall is a national law firm and are either very large, or sue-happy, because there were 8 other investigation or class-action lawsuits announced last week according to their site.

The law offices of Howard G. Smith are apparently investigating as well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Iowa Now Second Largest Wind Producer

The Wall Street Journal reports that Iowa has become the second largest producer of wind power in the U.S.. Tax breaks, cost recovery assurance and few zoning regulations for wind turbines are cited as reasons for the ranking.

At the end of the second quarter of 2009, Iowa had 3,043 megawatts of total wind capacity, compared with 8,361 megawatts in Texas and 2,787 megawatts in California, according to the wind-energy association. The article continues by saying that Iowa is flat landscape and lies in an enviable position on the grid - close to load centers like Chicago and Milwaukee.

Power transmission is now the road block to continued success in Iowa. Roya Stanley, Director of the Iowa Office of Energy Independence said "While we still have some room on the grid in the state, it will be critical to have agreement regionally for further transmission build-out."

The WSJ also has a very interesting article on Five Technologies that Could Change the Energy Picture. It discusses space-based solar power, advanced car batteries, utility storage, carbon capture and storage, and next-generation biofuels.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Waves, BIG Waves and Outage Explanation

Quite the news day this Tuesday, September 29, 2009

1. Google Wave will send out 100,000 invitations to Google Wave tomorrow. This is shaping up to be 'the' killer app of the year/decade. With the hype machine in full swing we'll see if it lives up to the promise. I have my request in for an invite!

2. BIG wave : after a magnitude 8.0 earth quake was recorded near American Samoa, a Tsunami warning for the South Pacific was issued. A Tsunami advisory was apparently issued for Northern California.

3. The Google Apps Sep.24 outage was a result of a high load on Google Contacts. Contacts is an integral part of Google Wave.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cloud Computing Analysis From Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Just a quick link to an outstanding blog post by Irving Wladawsky-Berger. I've linked to him before, because I thoroughly enjoy his thoughts and analysis. Among the amazing amount of cloud computing hype out there, Irving truly gets it and shows us how clouds and computing have evolved and will continue to.

Check out his August 31 post on The Data Center in the Cambrian Age. He compares cloud computing to the Cambrian Age, a geological period where evolution accelerated rapidly into more complex life forms. He also references an excellent paper done by Google engineers Luis Andre Barroso and Urs Hoelzle on Wharehouse-Scale computers.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Data Centre Stock Index Launched

The Broad Group has announced the "World's first global data centre market performance index". The index is a partnership with Data Centre News and AHV Associated LLP, a corporate finance advisor based in London. The index is a capitalisation-weighted index of large companies in the data center sector from all over the world. The index has shown so far that the U.S. dominates companies in the sector and that the sector is yielding good returns for the leading public companies engaged in data centres.

I of course, MUST protest about the "first data center index" claim of course. :) Just about a year ago I started my own capitalization-weighted index of companies I felt were at the heart of the data center industry. I recently posted an update with the graphs for how it has been doing. I maintain it in Google Spreadsheets, and would be happy to share it if anyone is interested.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Internet turns 40

As a follow-up to my post yesterday on BBN -- I found this article at ComputerWorld about the Internet turning 40. September 2, 1969 (very good year) computer scientists at UCLA created the first network connection between two computers. Companies present during this exciting time were GTE Corp., DARPA, Honeywell and Scientific Data Systems.

The article interviews UCLA distinguished Professor of Computer Science Leonard Kleinrock, who was one of the men who enabled the two computers to exchange data. The UCLA web site also has a personal history/biography of Kleinrock: "The Birth of the Internet"

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Raytheon Acquires BBN Technologies

Government contractor Raytheon has acquired BBN Technologies. Most people (I think) won't even recognize the company name BBN Technologies. I've been in IT long enough (barely) that I remember BBN from the very early days of the Internet. BBN is a Massachusetts company known for the development of packet switching, including work for the ARPANET; predecessor to the Internet. They also developed the first TCP protocol for Unix. Wikipedia has the wonderful merger and acquistion history for BBN:
BBN was acquired by GTE in 1997 and BBN's ISP division BBN Planet was joined with GTE's national fiber network to became GTE Internetworking, "powered by BBN". When GTE and Bell Atlantic merged to become Verizon in 2000, the ISP portion of BBN was included in assets spun off as Genuity. In March 2004, Verizon sold BBN to a group of private investors. In September 2009 Raytheon entered into an agreement to acquire BBN

Following the acquisition, BBN Technologies will become part of Raytheon Network Centric Systems.
I had not been to the BBN web site in quite some time ; upon browsing, they have some pretty amazing research projects listed:
  1. Flexible Intra-autonomous-system Routing Environment
  2. Smart Environment for Network Control, Monitoring and Management
  3. Density-and Asymmetry-aware wireless Networking
  4. Proprietary waveforms for wireless networks
  5. Terabit router traffic engineering
Network World has a very nice article (back in May) on DARPA military research projects. Check this one out (from the Network World article):
DARPA's Quantum Entanglement Science and Technology (QuEST) program is creating new quantum information science technologies, focusing on loss of information due to quantum decoherence, limited communication distance due to signal attenuation, protocols, and larger numbers of quantum bits (Qubits) and their entanglement. Key among the program's challenges is integrating improved single- and entangled-photon and electron sources and detectors into quantum computation and communication networks. Defense applications include highly secure communications, algorithms for optimization in logistics, highly precise measurements of time and position on the earth and in space, and new image and signal processing methods for target tracking.
Now -- I'm off to read patent 7,242,774 : Quantum Cryptography Based on Phase Entangled Photons

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Green Storage, Smart Grids, and Wireless Spectrum for Utility Providers

Earth2tech has an excellent article on smarter storage -- how data storage can account for up to 40 percent of the energy consumed by a data center. GigaOm's Tom Trainer offered data de-duplication and thin provisioning as technologies that were helping the greening efforts. 3Par is a leader in thin provisioning, which is a "mechanism that applies to large-scale centralized computer disk storage systems, SAN's and storage virtualization systems". 3Par recently helped Mary Kay save 50% in storage capacity and 60% administration time with 3PAR Utility Storage and six InServ storage servers.

Last week Vint Cerf had a Google Public Policy blog post titled Where the smart grid meets the Internet. Vint has some awesome insight (as always) into building the smart grid and how it is essentially a nascent energy Internet. He stresses open protocols, open standards and free access to all of the energy information generated.

Finally -- Earth2tech also has an article today about American Electric Power (AEP) telling the FCC that a dedicated licensed spectrum is sorely needed by utilities. AEP is saying that as more smart grid services are rolled out, more and more network bandwidth is needed.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Data Center Stock Index Update

As I approach almost a full year of tracking my data center stocks, I thought I would post the chart for the wild ride it has been. I think for the most part these stocks have weathered the recession pretty well, and as you can see, they are doing quite well lately. Reference this blog post to see what stocks are included in my capitalization-weighted index.

Here is the October 2008 through August 21, 2009 graph:

Earlier this year I started a second index: Equinix, Savvis, Switch and Data and Terremark. Here is the graph for that index.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Smart Grids, City 2.0 and Project Netal

Ok, so those 3 things aren't related -- I just had a couple of things I ran across tonight that I found interesting....

1. Cisco looks to ride smart-grid data deluge. This one is pretty apparent if you follow the Cisco news and EnergyWise software announcements. I keep waiting for a Cisco acquisition -- particularly in this space.

2. HP's vision of building City 2.0. HP Labs sustainability visionary Chandrakant Patel describes his vision of building City 2.0, enabled by a sustainable IT Ecosystem. Pretty interesting interview/article.

3. Ok -- so this one is not data center related, but is just frigg'n cool. :) Cnet has an exclusive on Microsoft's project Natal. Netal is a next generation gaming platform (REALLY next generation) with no controller required.

one last one, as long as we're talking about the big companies in IT : BusinessWeek posted an interview with Eric Schmidt last week and asks several questions about where Google is headed next.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Now With 20% More Fiber!

The DataCenterDynamics site has an article I really liked, titled The American Clould's Weakest Link. It covers the sobering speech given by Allied Fiber CEO Hunter Newby at the Seattle DataCenterDynamics conference Thursday. Newby said "Moving apps into the cloud is very dangerous if you don't know your physical fiber route". How very true -- I almost think people take the physical connectivity between data centers for granted some times.

$7.2 Billion of the recent U.S. stimulus money was dedicated to developing the country's broadband infrastructure. Allied Fiber has been applying for stimulus funding and dreams of building one large fiber ring around the country.

I've worked with several places and brokers that know where all of the fiber routes are in America -- what a fun resource that would be to have as public domain. I think much more fiber investment is needed in this country and NOT just in the big / tier 1 cities and markets. I think if the U.S. is to stay competitive, on both the business and home side of things, we must have a more robust fiber infrastructure that reaches everyone. Next to cheap land and cheap power, data center site selection places a strong emphasis on the amount of lit and dark fiber available in the area.

Allied Fiber and TMCnet have built a Dark Fiber Community to bring together optical network providers and the suppliers who help them build. I've also worked with NEF and the vast database of buried and lit services they have. They also have a natural extension of that business in Another favorite site and set of research reports I would Love to use if I had money burning a hole in my pocket is TeleGeography.....some pretty cool data here.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

DOE Smart Grid Report and $57 Million Funding

Renewable Energy World reports on the DOE $57 million to fund smart grid development yesterday. The original announcement was back on July 20th and included more than $47 million in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and $10.5 million to increase the nation's energy security. Wednesday Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the delivery of more than $47 million in funding. The DOE also released a Smart Grid Report. Other items of interest on their web site include:
Science News also had an interesting article recently about Electromagnetic weaponry being used on the electric grid.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

NASA's Nebula a Possible Federal Cloud Prototype reports that a NASA cloud computing model, called Nebula is being looked at by NASA and the Obama administration for federal agencies to outsource IT services to a shared platform. "A significant journey ahead" may be an understatement -- an estimated 10 year migration would have several hurdles to manage.

NASA's Chris Kemp is working with the federal government's could computing working group. NASA CIO's Chris Kemp and Linda Cureton have blogs that I have been following for a while now. Chris managed the Google relationship and talks of the larger strategy with NASA and Google, Microsoft and Cisco. The NASA/Ames Research Center has the current #4 supercomputer (Pleiades), a SGI Altix ICE 8200 wiht a measly 51TB of memory.

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra held a live chat several weeks back and has pretty ambitious plans for federal IT and data. You can see that even Vivek Kundra learned from Google -- the IT Dashboard site (very nice by the way) has a "beta" stamp on it.

Like many commercial data center consolidation projects, the federal government has about 70 data centers with "various levels of efficiency and availability that NASA is trying to contract to two outsourced data centers".

"Obama's fiscal 2010 budget proposal envisions optimizing cloud computing by "scaling pilots to full capabilities and providing financial support to accelerate migration," the budget stated. The fiscal plan acknowledges the effort will involve upfront costs, but the expense should be more than offset by savings from consolidating data centers."
Let's see -- one cloud with Google and one with Microsoft -- and then use all Cisco gear to network them together. :)

Check out the article here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Emerson St. Louis Data Center

Today I attended the open house for the new Emerson Global data center in St. Louis. The data center and presenting staff were both very impressive. The data center, like many corporate initiatives we’ve heard about in recent years, was a consolidation project. Emerson consolidated over 100 data centers they had around the world in remote offices, acquired companies and such and made the St. Louis facility a showcase, done right from the start, high density facility to serve the enterprise. The consolidation project will continue overseas with Europe and Asia facilities.

Some quick specs from this impressive facility include:

35,000 square foot --- 12,000 sq. ft. raised floor and ultimately capacity for 5,000 servers

Anticipating a LEED Gold certification

7,800 square foot Solar array on the roof providing 100kW of power to the IT Load

Applied all 10 attributes of their own Energy Logic road map.

Designed to cope with a variety of natural and man-made disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, fires and telecom fiber cuts). The facility was built to withstand up to a F3 tornado or an earthquake up to 8.0 on the Richter scale.

Integrates numerous Emerson Network Power products – including Alber, Aperture, ASCO, Knurr and Liebert.

2 Caterpillar generators, with the capability to add 2 more.

72 hours of fuel on-site plus room to place an additional fuel tank.

Mostly new IT equipment populating the cabinets: Cisco, Dell, EMC and Sun.

Three layers of redundancy:

a. Dual utility feeds (separate physical paths into the building)

b. A and B side mechanical rooms / redundant UPS

c. N+1 Caterpillar generators

In Uptime Institute tier standards it comes about as close as you can to a tier IV data center. Dual-everything inside the building is used to the extent of having A & B telcom rooms where visiting technicians do not have to enter the data center or mechanical rooms to work on carrier equipment. There was great detail paid to the layout of the facility to ensure a separation of IT and facilities staff.

The LEED certification and renewable energy aspect to the facility was impressive. St. Louis based Fox Architects led a multi-disciplinary design and engineering team through years of

planning and 18 months of construction. Fox Architects also led the Monsanto data center project from a few years back. The solar array on the roof gives the ability to (manually) provide 100kW of DC power, directly to the IT load below. They use a Solectria Renewables Grid Tiered Photovoltaic inverter and boast that it is the largest solar array in the state of Missouri. The facility was originally planned to achieve silver LEED certification, but several items gave them additional points, such as approximately 80% of the waste generated during the construction has been diverted from landfills.

Site selection (to me) was a no-brainer, but primary reasons listed by Emerson were low power rates (typically 3-5 cents per kWh), low natural disaster risk, and low telecommunication rates. The sister site Emerson has in Marshalltown Iowa serves as a disaster recovery site and (now) vice versa.

As expected all of the latest and greatest Emerson products were used inside the facility.

Emerson even makes a component inside the Caterpillar generators used. There was amazing use and integration with their Site Scan and Aperture Vista products. A lobby television displays an interactive one-line diagram of their power infrastructure that can also be viewed on their internal corporate network. Site Scan is the dashboard for viewing a wide variety of data on the facility, load, IT equipment and other critical components. Emerson also incorporated the strategies and technologies advocated in their Energy Logic roadmap for improving efficiency. For instance they used a 240 volt power distribution architecture instead of the typical 208V. Aperture Vista is used for facility operations and future planning.

The “Liebert Adaptive Architecture” was seen in action throughout the facility:

1. Liebert DS precision cooling system

2. Liebert NXL on-line UPS

3. Liebert XD Cooling module (used when they had blades or higher density in a cabinet)

4. The web based monitoring of Site Scan

5. Liebert FDC power distribution cabinet

6. Liebert MPX adaptive rack PDU. This was just pretty darn cool. The word ‘adaptive’ is key here. It’s modular, re-configurable, supports NEMA and IEC, has SNMP and a host of other metrics and monitoring capabilities. The product is not yet released, but I was able to find this German Knurr brief on it – here.

The IT equipment going in to phase 1 of this facility will include around 400 servers plus storage and network gear. They intend to use blade systems (Sun I assume) and have approximately a 15:1 virtualization ratio. All network distribution to the cabinets is fiber. Following the dual-everything approach, each cabinet is fed A and B side fiber runs and there is NO copper in the under-floor trays. The 3 foot raised floor serves all electrical connectivity, cable trays for communication and FM200 protection.

The FM200 distribution under-floor was interesting to me. With so much going on under the floor the thought was to put out the fire in this 3 foot raised area, but not above floor for the IT equipment. Above floor fire protection comes in the form of pre-action dry pipe. This is also then used in power equipment rooms that are on slab.

Designed to be a lights-out facility, the on-site staff may just achieve that if they sit still too long and the motion-detection lights shut off. J CNN was playing on the TV in the lobby, which means cable, which means the St. Louis Cardinals SURELY are on whenever the boss isn’t around.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Paetec Data Center

Communications provider Paetec announced Thursday that they are opening an advanced data center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
"The 6,500 square feet of space available for customers includes the newest advancements in equipment with connectivity up to 10 Gbps, more energy efficient devices, higher cooling capacity to meet the increasingly powerful applications and a new Bi-Fuel power system providing redundant power generation fueled by conventional diesel, or a cleaner combination of diesel and natural gas. The center is also served by a diverse power grid, separate from New York City and Philadelphia, offering further resiliency in the event of a wide-scale brown-out or power outage in the area."
The press release mentiones Paetec's data center solutions -- at ; but I am unable to get a web page to resolve at that address. According to the site dropped off in late 2007. More information on hosting/colocation off of the Paetec web site can be found here.

UPDATE: Not sure if it was my connection or their site down last night --- is now resolving for me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Renewable Energy Roundup

I've run across several items recently of interest in terms of smartgrids, new energy sources and reports on renewable energy.

Blue is the new Green
THE man, Mr. Bob Metcalfe (small invention known as Ethernet) -- is a partner in Polaris Venture Partners, a group of "experienced venture capital investors and technology executives." Polaris backs many IT and life science businesses and has an Enertech portfolio that is pretty impressive. Bob Metcalfe has a very interesting SlideShare presentation titled Internet History Applied to Solving Energy. This was from the March presentation at GigaOm's Green:Net -- I must have missed that, but this presentation is pretty cool.

Frost & Sollivan also have a nice SlideShare presentation on Utility-Scale (Grid) Energy Storage Development. Bulk Energy Storage + Power Generation = Grid Modernization

The DOE announced today up to $52.5 Million for concentrating solar power research and development.

The 20% Wind report card was released last week -- B overall, Transmission lags at C-. "National Policy Commitment Urgently Needed to Ensure Greater Use of Clean, Abundant Energy Source". Check out the report here.

Technology Review had an article yesterday about upgrading the electrical grid in the U.S. if it is to increase the use of renewable energy resources. "But plans to string new high-voltage lines to bring wind power from the midsection of the country to the coasts, where most of the demand is, could be expensive and unnecessary, and a distraction from more urgent needs, some experts say."

Also reported yesterday -- has an article on Baltimore's massive smart grid program where 2 million meters are being installed. Earth2tech also has an article on this. also reports that a new U.S. renewable energy record was set: 13% of total electric generation in April 2009.

I've seen a number of things online now about energy transmission problems and to lend to that, last week T. Boone Pickens announced that his plans to build the $10 Billion, 4,000 megawatt, Pampa Wind project are on hold. article with the rest of the details here.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Superb Intnernet Hosting - New Virginia Data Center

Superb Internet announced the opening of a new data center today, located in Springfield, Virginia. DCA3 compliments its two existing data centers in McLean, VA and Seattle, WA. The new facility will facilitate a continued strong demand for data center space and they will offer dedicated servers as well as colocation services.

Check out the press release here.

SGI/Rackable ICECube Deployment Video

SGI/Rackable has some new media on their site for the ICE Cube Modular Data Center. I think this container has been one of my favorites ever since I saw it at a DataCenter World conference. It is really pretty unique in the container market -- if you get SGI servers inside. They take the fans out of the servers and are able to get amazing density: 1400U of available space and up to 22,400 processing cores. If you haven't seen inside of an ICE Cube - check out this video.

Check out this page on their site for a new product video, plus a nice white paper about their "Next Generation Data Center Infrastructure".

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Greenest Supercomputer

SGI performed quite well in the semi-annual ranking of the world's TOP500 Supercomputer sites this past June. They had the #4 supercomputer -- the Pleiades - Altix ICE 8200EX at the NASA/Ames Research Center. Although not an official award, they also were heralded as the industry's "greenest" supercomputer, as measured by performance efficiency.
Performance efficiency, or “LINPACK efficiency,” measures the ratio between maximum performance (RMax) and peak performance (RPeak). SGI dominated this new category with 12 of the 20 most performance-efficient supercomputers in the world."
Additionally the SGI Altix ICE cluster is the first time that an x86 scalar-based system outperformed vector-based systems.

Last week SGI/Rackable announced their x86 scale-out servers to support both on-board Quad Data Rate 40Gb InfiniBand and 10Gb Ethernet connections.
"The features of the expanded Rackable x86 server lines include dual QSFP InfiniBand/Ethernet ports at up to 40 Gb/s (gigabits-per-second), Intel Xeon 5500 series "Nehalem" processors, including the top-bin W5580 running at 3.2 GHz, and large memory capability with up to 96 GB (gigabytes) of ECC registered DDR3 DIMMs. It is also power optimized with over 90 percent voltage regulator module efficiency on the server board, which perfectly complements SGI’s up-to-96.5 percent-efficient power supplies."
96GB of memory! One of the things that made me such a fan of SGI was a computer I saw in 1994; a SGI with 4GB of memory (which was a TON back then). It ran a flight simulator that looked Amazing.....

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Tech Industry M&A Activity

It's always fun to speculate about IPO's, mergers and acquisitions. In the tech industry it happens so often it's hard to keep track of who bought who and how long ago it was.

My current train of thought on the topic surrounded the recent news of CoreSite. CoreSite is a Carlyle Group company, which as I mentioned before is a HUGE global private equity company. I wondered if CoreSite would do an IPO in the near future. Carlyle invested in Equinix in 1999 -- their site says "acquired" in 1999. Equinix then raised $240 Million in their IPO a year later.

Some other interesting ones I have seen a few times:
With all of the news Cisco has made lately, there could be some acquisitions by the other big players to get deeper into the networking market:
I refuse to believe that Cisco would buy EMC, but do think they could/should buy NetApp. Or maybe Isilon Systems?

Either HP or Cisco could by F5

All speculation -- but the tech industry M&A activity does seem to be picking up.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CoreSite Prepares 20,000 sq. ft In Their Chicago Data Center

I've always been pretty impressed with CoreSite (formerly CRG West). They've been a solid company, in the data center business for quite some time, and they stay innovative. A few months back they announced a partnership with Verari and the FOREST containers. Recently they re-branded to CoreSite, a Carlyle Company. I remember many years ago asking my boss who the Carlyle Group was, and he answered something like " a H U G E global private equity firm." Today Carlyle announced $1.04 Billion to support high growth in Asian businesses.

Once again proving Chicago to be a hot data center market, CoreSite announced today the completion of 20k square feet of new space at the downtown Chicago data center. The space provides 2MWs of power and immediate occupancy. The Lasalle site offers low latency and direct connectivity to major financial exchanges as well as multiple domestic and international carriers.

Equinix Wins Engergy Innovator Award

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group Energy Summit, held yesterday, gave Equinix the Power Energy Innovator Award. The ceremony held at Stanford recognized their nearly $1 million in rebates received from the city of Santa Clara for energy efficiency measures implemented. Equinix optimized efficiencies at its Silicon Valley 2 (SV2) data center.

"As a part of Equinix’s expansion at its SV2 center, the company implemented a variety of efficient procedures, such as installing air-side economizers that use the outside air to provide “free cooling” and drastically reduce the amount of mechanically produced cold air needed for the center. This system has resulted in energy savings of more than 4,000,000 kWh and $300,000 per year. Equinix also installed variable frequency drive (VFD) fans that allow for greater efficiency by operating at reduced fan speeds when there is a lower demand for air distribution."
Check out the press release here.

Equinix stock has done quite well the last 3 months, starting at $55.67 March 30th and then closing up 3.66 at $72.74 today. Analysts at Morgan Joseph initiated coverage of Equinix with a 'buy' rating, and set a target price of $100.

Wikinvest has some nice new features on their site -- worth a look!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2009

The Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2009, or H.R. 2428, would "require many of the so-called 'shovel-ready' projects funded by the stimulus bill earlier this year to also lay conduits capable of carrying fiber optic cables." Two Democratic Senators announced a measure today that would require states to build 'tubes' for internet fiber optic cables under every bit of highway they build or modify with with federal funds.

Check out the article here

Data Centers In The Desert

Forbes has a very nice article on i/o Data Centers - the cool company in the hot Phoenix desert. They interview President Anthony Wanger and ask why the Phoenix area has been such a hot bed of activity for corporate data centers and i/o Data Centers growth.

Check out the article here

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Phoenix NAP

A 160k square foot retrofit will be the home of the first data center for Global Datacenter Trust. The company announced ground breaking for the facility, dubbed Phoenix NAP on Thursday. The facility will have more than 20 megawatts of power, 2N redundancy all the way back to the substation, a 3000 sq. ft meet-me room, and modular chilled water plants.

Although this is the first data center for GDCT -- they are a private equity firm made up of operational, networking and management professionals that have worked in the industry since the 1990's. "the difference" as they claim, is ping, power, pipe and people.

Check out their web site here and a Phoenix Business Journal article here

The facility is located just south of the airport in Phoenix, Arizona.

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Testing Cisco's Media-Centric Data Center has an excellent article about the tests they ran against Cisco IP video infrastructure, applications, and data. The report is broken out into the various areas and equipment, and disects the claims that Cisco makes on their hardware and software.

Storage Area Networks
Unified Fabric
Virtual Machine Relocation
Data Center Convergence
In-Service Software Upgrade
Control Plane Failover

Check out the report here

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Tech Innovations Cool Data Centers

The Environmental Leader site has a nice story on data center cooling methods. The main part of the article talks about the GlaxoSmithKline data center in Brentford, UK that installed a water chiller cooled by the Grand Union Canal that runs along side the building.

The article also discusses Sentialla's Energy Manager For Data Centers. Very interesting read -- check it out here.

Cisco and Duke Energy Partner for Smart Grid Development

Cisco and Duke Energy announced a partnership today to fast-track the development of Duke Energy's smart grid. Duke serves 11 million people over 5 states and later this year will launch a five year mass deployment of smart grid technology.

"Cisco, working closely with Duke Energy, will develop a highly refined, end-to-end, smart grid communications architecture – one that both companies believe will be among the most comprehensive and interoperable in the electric utility industry."

Check out the press release here.

New Cisco Data Center For Allen, Texas

Cisco announced today that they will build a 140,000 - 160,000 square foot data center in Allen, Texas. The facility is reported to cost $500 Million, employ 100 people and (wait for it....) Cisco will receive tax incentives. Cisco stock closed up 1.06% today at $20.08

The Allen Economic Development Corporation has a nice report on the the Data Center proposal for the Stacy Road location that Cisco is most likely building on. Good power, fiber connectivity and financial incentives = data center site selection. The local utility for this area, Oncor announced last week that the "World's largest concentration of smart grid voltage compensation equipment placed in service by Oncor".

Allen Texas is about 25 miles north of downtown Dallas. There is also a sizable Cingular data center just a little bit south of the Cisco site in Allen.

Check out the press release here

Here is a map of the Allen, Texas data center site

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Qwest Nixes Plans To Sell Long-Haul Network

At an estimated value of around $4 Billion Qwest announced today confirming that they will not be selling their long-haul network. I have to agree with the Telecom Ramblings blog in that this was just a trial and if they didn't like the bids today, it won't stop them from reconsidering an offer later in the year.

Check out the Qwest Press Release here

There is a nice history lesson of the 1984 AT&T break-up and the resulting baby bells on the Wikinvest site.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Northern Indiana - Latest High-Tech Hub

Like I was saying in my last post -- the data center news is getting predictable:

____insert city name here____ is poised to become a high-tech hub, thanks to a change in state law that allows __________.

This time around: Northern Inidana, where they have passed a law that allows for personal property tax exemptions on data center equipment. The announcement is complete with benefits for Metronet, a quote from EYP Critical Facilities Servcies, and a the Senator who authored the bill.

Colocation and managed service provider Gramtel is located in South Bend, Indiana. Gramtel was acquired by Cincinnati Bell in January 2008.

It just shows how the data center industry continues to be a hot business and states are foaming at the mouth to get that business to locate in their state.

Check out the press release here.

I meant to mention this a few weeks back, but if you haven't checked out lately ......CHECK it out! Sune has been busy on this site and the additions (since the last time I had seen it) are really cool. There are data center profiles, maps, tenants, connectivity and more!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

North Carolina Passes Tax Code for Apple

Get ready for the shocking news... :) NC House passes tax code that could bring Apple data center. It seems like these mega data center announcements are pretty cookie-cutter as far as 'how' the deal goes down. Months and months of stealth mode, a "leak" of information, tax breaks written for data center "companies" and so on. The funny thing in this arstechnica article is that "the bill isn't tied to any particular company" and then a little later... "those conditions include investing $1 Billion dollars". :)

The Cliff Notes:
  1. $1 Billion data center
  2. 100 full time staff members initially
  3. up to $46 Million in tax credits over the next 10 years
  4. could save Apple $300 Million if the company operated the data center for 30 years

Check out the article here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

i/o Data Centers To Offer ICE Cube Modular Data Center

I have followed i/o Data Centers for a while now. Today I ran across a press release that furthers my theory about containers and the colocation market, as well as supporting the overall container momentum.

SGI / Rackable announced that it recently shipped its ICE Cube modular data center to i/o Data Centers to address clients' evolving data center needs. The press release is about 95% marketing and specs on the ICE Cube, so I have to wonder what exactly i/o is going to do with the containers other than 'offer' them to customers. Still -- I applaud them for embracing it and making it a product offering.

Last month CRG West announced it was offering Verari Systems FOREST containers to its customers.

Data Center Stock Market News

Just a couple of items I noticed today in regards to the data center stocks I monitor. First, is an update to the data center stock index I started last year. It has been a roller coaster -- here is the latest graph:

More details on what the index is comprised of can be found here.

The Dow Jones Internet Composite Index has also been graphing quite nicely the last 3 months.

The second story was one I some how missed last week -- Wachovia resumed coverage of the data center space. They immediately rated Equinix and Switch & Data with OUTPERFORM.
"Both companies have high visibility into its revenue base and low churn driven by 1 – 3+ year contracts with escalators. EQIX, SDXC, and other network neutral data centers benefit from a supply demand imbalance due to growth in IP and internet traffic and limited available space close to fiber hubs for telecom equipment and networking gear"
Also late last week submarine transport cable provider Hibernia announced they have expanded into Equinix's LD4 London Slough IBX data center.

Earlier today Datacenterknowledge reported on VMWare taking a 5% stake in Terremark. In terms of institutional ownership, that puts them in 2nd place, behind Ashford Capital Management, who has a 7.98% stake. I thought the comment on the BusinessWeek investing site was interesting:
"There is significant interest in TMRK by institutional investors. The 29.13% of the shares outstanding that they control represents a greater percentage of ownership than at almost any other company in the Specialty Telecommunications industry."

Data Center Degrees

Nope -- not a blog post about temperatures and cooling in the data center -- this time I'm talking about educational degrees. reports on Metropolitan Community College (MCC), in Omaha reinventing its General IT curriculum. They are adding specialized course work realting to the IBM Power Systems i Platform - and launching a two-year educational track called Data Center Management. With Yahoo, Google and Microsoft all in their back yard - combined with online courses, MCC should have a lot of demand for these courses.
"MCC received a three-year $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor with the goal of increasing the number of students in IT education. Building and developing the data center and the management is part of the grant."
Check out the IT Jungle article here

Last week the Wall Street Journal had an article about "Google Searches for Staffing Answers". It discussed Google HR and their approach to solving the brain drain problem. What better or more appropriate way for them to solve it, than with an algorithm. Check out the interesting article here.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Fremont, NE Data Center Study

Apparently Freemont, Nebraska lost out on a bid for a Yahoo data center.  A study was then done to determine whether Fremont was a suitable location for a data center.  The study findings show a spot on the north edge of town that would be idea.  The main selling point for the city is power -- 30 megawatts.  While it may not have been enough for Yahoo, they point out it is perfect for the smaller, Enterprise data centers.

Fremont is about 35 miles north-west of Omaha.

Check out the Fremont Tribune article here

Yahoo Data Center Planned for New York

It looks like Yahoo is planning another mega data center, this time in Western New York.  The Wall Street Journal reports that state officials are working with Yahoo to establish the new data center and that the Governor asked the Power Authority to come up with low-cost power (which is why I was suprised to hear the news in the first place).

Late last month Yahoo reported a strong balance sheet with $3.7 Billion in cash and marketable debt.  

Check out the article here

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Insert Catchy Cloud Computing Title Here

For the most part I stay away from articles or links about cloud computing -- it's just too crowded right now and I have too much to read, let alone write about.  I have, however run across several good links lately that I wanted to share:

Many sites and blogs have coverered the move from Microsoft to Digital Realty Trust for Michael Manos.  I thought the May 5th post on his blog - Forecast Cloudy with Continued Enterprise - was particularly good.  The beginning reminded me of reading Nicholas Carr's The Big Switch: an excellent book.  I think Digital Realty Trust will be an excellent fit for Michael and thank him for generously sharing his wisdom in his blog.

Also on Cinco de Mayo was a post from Sam Johnston on "Is OCCI the HTTP of Cloud Computing?"  OCCI is the OGF's Open Cloud Computing Interface - who provides the interface to Cloud Infrastructure as a Service.  Has anyone asked Tim Berners-Lee about this yet?

Apparently Akamai, formerly a Content Delivery Network company, is now a Cloud Provider.  Ummm... ok

Google had a couple of notes on cloud computing recently.  Co-founder Sergey Brin posted the 2008 Founders' Letter on the Google blog, and discussed cloud computing.  CEO Eric Schmidt, at a press event, dismissed Android questions in favor of talking about the cloud, models and strategies.

Forrester Research recognized 3Tera's Applogic as the leading "cloud infrastructure software offering available today".