Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 Reviews and 2011 Forecasts

This time of year I typically become inundated with "Top X Stories for 20xx" and reviews and predictions for the next year. Some times I have simply joined the crowd and made my own predictions, but this year I thought I would just 'link' to some of my favorites and review the news, innovations and prognostications for things to come.

Looking back at 2010:

Stocks and Mergers and Acquisitions

I think data center stocks have performed fairly well over the year and the M&A activity in the technology industry has certainly been brisk. In 2008 I started tracking my own data center stock index, using a weighted capitalization calculation. In October 2008 the initial value I tracked was $19.12, and on December 27, 2010 it was $35.55. I 'think' we will continue to see some M&A activity in the first half of 2011 as some additional target companies may get swallowed up. GigaOm has a nice summary story on acquisitions and how $10 billion was spent on data storage and warehousing companies between HP, EMC, IBM, and Dell. A Bloomberg article listed the following as 'takeover bait': F5, Brocade, Riverbed, Arista, VMware, bmc software, Citrix, Tibco, Teradata, and others that have already been acquired since they wrote the article. :)


With supercomputers in 2010 it was all about GPU's and energy demands to pave the road for exascale supercomputers. A top highlight of my year was traveling to the NCSA National Petascale Compute Facility to check out the data center that will house Blue Waters. The specs for Blue Waters were recently published and at an estimated 10 Petaflops I am sure we'll see it in the top 5 of the top500.org list.

The Cloud

Cloud computing was obviously a run-away hit for 2010. Perhaps we are even coming to a point where it isn't pure hype with a sole purpose of aggravating Larry Ellison and other non-marketing people. The public/private cloud divide will help push overall cloud technologies along, as individuals and enterprises find their perfect fit. I still think security, legal issues and governance have a ways to go in the cloud - check out these videos: Gartner's Cloud Law and Order and Tom Roloff, Senior VP at EMC Consulting on private vs. public clouds.

I found another decent definition of cloud computing, that I believe is attributable to McKinsey: clouds are hardware-based services, offering compute, network and storage capacity where: 1) hardware management is highly abstracted from the buyer; 2) buyers incur infrastructure costs as variable open; and 3) infrastructure capacity is highly elastic (up or down).

Looking forward to 2011
The "A" companies

I think the "A" companies have it for 2011. Apple and Amazon. Apple's 505,000 square foot North Carolina data center had a big spotlight in 2010 and I think 2011 we will finally see the streaming iTunes service come to life that everyone has been talking about. Continued success of the iPhone and iPad will drive data center requirements as well -- just today it was reported that Apple put an order in for 20-21 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2011. The really interesting company behind the scenes for producing the iPhone, among many other devices, is Foxconn. Bloomberg had a nice article a few months back on this company.

I can never seem to find too much information on Amazon data centers, but they certainly have the intellectual capital behind them between Werner Vogels and James Hamilton. Amazon acquired Quidsi this year, the company behind the wildly successful site diapers.com. With that acquisition they gained a 1,250,000 square foot warehouse in Gouldsboro, PA. Now there is a place to put data center containers and build-out a warehouse-scale data center. :) In 2010 AWS introduced Cluster Compute Services for EC2, where for $1.60 an hour anyone could 'rent a supercomputer' -- VERY cool stuff. Amazon Web Services had a number of innovations in 2010 and I think we'll see them continue to dominate in 2011.

Finally - as LEED is a big part of data center design, did anyone else make their holiday ginger bread houses LEED-compliant?

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 Google Zeitgeist

I don't know if I am technically a statistics geek, but I certainly enjoy the annual Zeitgeist that Google puts out this time each year. It captures the year in search - all of the billions of search queries, crunched nicely and categorized for our viewing pleasure. No wonder they need warehouse-scale computing!

  • For the U.S. in the "A Greener World" category, the Bloom Energy was the #1 search term.
  • Patent #645576 from Nicola Tesla in March 1900 was the most searched for patent. This was for the "System of Transmission of Electrical Energy.

Some other data center terms and how they trended over 2010:

Some data center providers:

and finally a look at energy