Thursday, September 21, 2017

Data Center Links: September 21, 2017

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:

  • Toshiba sells Flash Memory Chip Unit for $18 Billion.  The bidding seems to be over, as Bloomberg reports that a group led by Bain Capital has acquired the chip unit from Toshiba for 2 trillion yen ($18 billion). The Bain consortium includes backing from Toshiba, as well as Japanese and other overseas companies. It was noted that financial support was added from Apple, Dell, SK Hynix and Japan's Hoya Corp.  
  • Vexata launches with $54 million venture funding. After years in stealth Silicon Valley company Vexata launched, backed with $54 million from Mayfield, Intel Capital, Lightspeed Ventures and Redline Capital. The company also announced its Active Data Fabric, a software-defined all-solid-state data storage infrastructure that enables extreme performance at scale for Tier 1 applications in enterprise or cloud data centers. 
  • Cray 'Theta' Supercomputer used to map brain function. What do you use to face such a daunting task as mapping connections of 100 billion neurons with 100 trillion connections? Call on the Intel-Cray 9.65 petaflops supercomputer housed at Argonne Leadership Computing Facility. With tera and petabyte scale datasets the Theta supercomputer along with an advanced software platform utilizes data mining, graph analytics and machine learning to meet the challenge.  Very cool stuff.
  • TigerGraph nets $31 million.  Graph database startup TigerGraph (formerly GraphSQL) announced its first product Tuesday, and a new $31 million Series A funding round. The company says it has "built the first native parallel graph databased platform using proprietary technology that yields performance up to 100 fold compared with other graph platforms."  
  • Comcast acquires Stringify. Comcast has acquired IoT automation service company Stringify. Stringify has been named an IoT company to watch, and I'm not sure if this is a story for the data center, other than I can't help to think there is something making this deal significant...  at the intersection of content and things....      edge... ?
  • IBM claims top spot for Blockchain technology. A Juniper Research study ranked IBM as the number one player in blockchain technology, leaving Microsoft and Accenture trailing in second and third places respectively. Customer project stories for blockchain with IBM include Maersk, London Stock Exchange, and AIG. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Data Center Links: August 24, 2017

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:

  • Apple to build data center in Iowa.  The Des Moines Register reports that Apple will build a data center in Waukee, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines. Following large data center builds from Microsoft and Facebook in the Des Moines area, and Google in Council Bluffs, Apple will fulfill project 'Morgan' in a newly annexed portion of Waukee.  My thoughts? Smart move by Apple (Iowa=awesome location), data center hub in the making (enormous build-outs by Microsoft, Facebook and Google in Iowa), and good for Waukee (there is already another totally awesome data center in town). #iowa  #iowabrag
  • Druva nets $80 Million Funding round.  Cloud data and protection management company Druva announced $80 million of growth equity funding Tuesday, bringing their total raised to around $200 million. Funding was led by Riverwood Capital, with participation from Sequoia Capital India, Nexus Venture Partners, Tenaya Capital and most other existing venture investors. Druva said they will use the funds to "dramatically accelerate research and development, expand go-to-market efforts worldwide, and lead the industry in redefining how enterprises protect, manage, and use their data."
  • Microsoft Acquires Cycle Computing. Microsoft announced it is acquiring Cycle Computing, a leader in HPC cloud computing orchestration. Microsoft says it will integrate the Big Computing capabilities from the CycleCloud product into Azure. 
  • Microsoft launches Brainwave for real-time AI. At the 2017 Hot Chips Symposium in Cupertino Microsoft announced Project Brainwave, a new deep learning acceleration platform. Leveraging a large FPGA infrastructure inside of Microsoft, the new platform is built with three main layers: a high performance, distributed system architecture, a hardware DNN (deep neural network) engine synthesized onto FPGAs, and a compiler and runtime for low-friction deployment of trained models.
  • Databricks secures $140 million. Unified Analytics Paltform company Databricks announced it has received $140 million in a Series D funding round, led by Andreessen Horowitz. Founded by the team who created Apache Spark, Databricks has raised $247 million to date, and will use the new funds to accelerate the investment in making artificial intelligence achievable for enterprise organizations with its Unified Analytics Platform. 
  • Red Hat, Microsoft simplify containers for hybrid clouds. Red Hat and Microsoft announced an alliance expansion, with a new initiative aimed at enabling enterprises to more easily adopt containers. The companies say this includes "native support for Windows Server containers on Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated on Microsoft Azure, and SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenShift." 
  • ORNL readies facility for 200 Petaflop Supercomputer. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is getting a data center ready for its Summit supercomputer, which is expected to deliver 200 petaflops - which is about twice as powerful as the world's current leader in computer performance. The data center includes a new 20 megawatt power and cooling plant and an expanded central energy plant for the campus. 

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Primary Data Nets $40M, Launches DataSphere 2.0

Primary Data announced a $40 million funding round and released version 2.0 of its DataSphere software platform.

After receiving an initial $50 million in 2013 the company will use the new funds to continue build out its sales team and business. The $40 million funding was split between $20 million led by Pelion Ventures and a $20 million line of credit.

DataSphere is the company's enterprise metadata engine for bringing machine learning into data management by sitting in between enterprise applications and on-premise storage and cloud storage, providing metadata driven data placement, tiering and protection service.

"Automating data management through an intelligent data fabric that spans different types of storage is critical to enabling enterprises to fully leverage their data while finally solving storage complexity,” said Blake Modersitzki, Managing Director at Pelion Venture Partners. “With DataSphere, Primary Data is leading the industry in bringing intelligence to data management across the enterprise and into the cloud, and we are proud to invest in the transformation Primary Data is delivering for its innovative customers.” 

The version 2.0 release of DataSphere brings many new features for bringing intelligence into data management. With the selection of data objectives the new release now provides deep control capabilities with Objective Expressions. DataSphere says version 2 enables parallel performance and support for multiple clouds, and adds support for SMB 2.1 and 3.1, as well as Active Directory. 

Chief Scientist for Primary Data Steve Wozniak said, “DataSphere 2.0 makes it simple for enterprises to finally automate how data is managed by using the intelligence that has been sitting right there in your metadata all along.”

Primary Data also noted that it continues to expand its partnerships with Amazon AWS, Cloudian, Google, Scality, NetApp and VMware to help joint customers get the right data to the right place at the right time.

Primary Data was recently listed in the Gartner 2017 Hype Cycle for Storage Technologies. 

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Data Center Links: August 1, 2017

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • FORTRUST acquired by Iron Mountain.  For approximately $128 million Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM) has acquired Denver data center business FORTRUST. Iron Mountain president and CEO William L. Meaney said, “We continue to see opportunities to expand our business through strong organic growth, new development and acquisition. Together with our existing data centers and completion of the first phase of our Northern Virginia data center campus next month, this acquisition will strengthen the foundation of a long-term growth engine and help accelerate the growth in our Adjacent Businesses.”
  • Cray partners with Seagate for ClusterStor.  The two companies have agreed to offload the Seagate ClusterStor HPC array product line to Cray for an undisclosed amount. Cray will continue to support and enhance the product line and to support customers going forward. Cray said it looks to add more than 100 Seagate employees and contractors as a part of the deal. "In 2012 Cray became our first OEM and has continued over the years to be our largest and most strategic ClusterStor partner. Today’s announcement is really the perfect evolution of that continuing, special partnership in HPC," said Ken Claffey, vice president and general manager, Storage Systems Group at Seagate.
  • Red Hat acquires Permabit assets.  Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) announced that it has acquired Permabit Technology (the assets and technology anyway). Permabit is a software provider of data reduction technologies such as deduplication, compression and thin provisioning.  Red Hat also recently won two CODiE awards: one for Red Hat 3scale API Management and one for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform.
  • Azuqua nets $10.8 million.  In a series B round led by Insight Venture Partners cloud application connectivity provider Azuqua received $10.8 million to scale sales, marketing and engineering teams. The Seattle based startup says it looks to connect "business functions and SaaS apps across organizations, automating and radically increasing productivity in mission-critical processes by connecting information across departments such as marketing, finance, sales, and operations.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Data Center Links: May 11, 2017

Between company conference season and a lot of M&A activity recently, it is hard to keep up with the news.  Here are a few things I found interesting:


  • Facebook breaks ground on 1M sq ft Altoona data center.  Because Iowa is the best place for data centers.... Facebook broke ground on its fourth building in Altoona - a 1 million square foot data center. With this building the Facebook data center campus will total 2.5 million square feet.
  • Cisco acquires AI company MindMeld.  Just like many years ago when you had to keep a running list of who Cisco was buying, they are keeping a fast pace in 2017. Making it their third acquisition in two weeks Cisco dives deeper into AI by buying MindMeld, a San Francisco company that has developed a conversational platform based on natural language understanding (NLU). The NLU functionality will be integrated with Cisco's Spark platform. MindMeld, besides being on my own 'cool tech' list, has been recognized as one of the top companies leading the AI revolution.
  • Cray launches Supercomputers built for AI.  Cray has launched new CS-Storm supercomputers that are purpose-built for the most demanding AI workloads.  New CS-Storm 500GT and CS-Storm 500NX systems leverage NVIDIA Tesla GPU accelerators, which foster "up to 187 TOPS (tera operations per second) per node, 2,618 TOPS per rack for machine learning application performance."   I'll take two.  :)
  • NVIDIA GPU conference.  AI, self-driving cars, healthcare, Volta GPU platform, deep learning software tools.....   Too many to mention; check it out here.
  • Microsoft debuts Cosmos DB. At the Microsoft Build 2017 developer conference Microsoft introduced Azure Cosmos DB, a globally distributed database with five consistency choices. As a superset of DocumentDB Cosmos models include Strong, Bounded Staleness, Session, Consistent Prefix, and Eventual. 

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Data Center Links: May 3, 2017

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:

  • Shaw explores selling ViaWest: Sources 'familiar with the matter' say that Canadian cable company Shaw Communications is exploring options for selling ViaWest. Shaw bought ViaWest three years ago for $1.2 billion.
  • Amazon Strategy Teardown.  CB Insights has an amazing, detailed analysis of strategy at Amazon.  Company history, AI-as-a-Service, acquisition highlights, 'aggressive' growth plans, and initiatives by sector.  Wow.
  • iRobot: Vacuuming up Microservices on AWS.  I like cloud architecture stories. This one just spoke to me -- about microservices and modern applications and services.  "Ben Kehoe, Cloud Robotics Research Scientist at iRobot, explains how they built a serverless solution to power microservices that scale to control millions of robots. You’ll learn how they automate and optimize AWS Lambda function and Amazon API Gateway deployments with AWS CloudFormation and Swagger, plus how they inject information during the deployment process to decouple architecture details from the code."
  • Will Molten Silicon make Lithium-Ion 'Uneconomic'?  Australian company 1414 says it has  developed a molten silicon thermal energy storage system (TESS) that can store 500 kilowatt-hours of energy within a 70-centimeter cube. At 36x the capacity of a 14 kilowatt hour Tesla Powerwall 2 the company says it could build a 10 megawatt-hour plant for around AUD $700,000 (USD $528,000), or a tenth of the price of a Tesla battery-based project.
  • MIT Mathemetician spins up 220,000 core Google Compute Cluster.  Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland crafted a 220,000-core workload on Google Compute Engine using preemptable virtual machine instances. Sutherland is already planning an even larger run of 400,000 cores.
  • Path to Exascale. At a user forum U.S. Exascale Computing Project (ECP) director Paul Messina outlined the accelerated timetable with delivery of the first exascale machine now scheduled for 2021. The ECP is a collaborative effort of two U.S. Department of Energy organizations, the Office of Science (DOE-SC) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Data Center Links: April 12, 2017

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • Megaport launches Exchange. Elastic interconnectivity and global SDN company Megaport launched its Megaport Exchange, a marketplace "designed to connect our rich Ecosystem of providers to our global network of customers." The relatively young Australian company has built a network of 150 global locations, and the marketplace connects customers to cloud service providers, data center operators and Network and Managed Service Providers.
  • DataStation - intersection on the power grid.  My interest in the modular data center concept and application is refreshed. BaseLayer + Phoenix Salt River Project = DataStation and a new approach to delivering compute power right next to the power grid.
  • Synack nets $21.25M investment. Hacker-powered security platform provider Synack announced it has raised $21.25 million in a series C round of funding led by Microsoft Ventures. HPE and Singtel Innov8 also participated in the round. The funding will allow the company to further develop its platform and scale adoption globally.
  • Pure Storage launches FlashArray//X.  All-flash data platform vendor PureStorage announced its first all-NVMe enterprise-class all-flash array, the Flash Array//X. The new array features DirectFlash Software, DirectFlash modules for communication and //X70 Controllers. The company says the end-to-end "software-to-raw flash optimization reduces latency by up to 50 percent, and increase write bandwidth by up to 2x and performance density by up to 4x."
  • Tegile closes $33M funding. Flash storage provider Tegile announced it has closed on $33 million in additional funding. Led by Western Digital and other current investors, the company will use the funds to further invest in technology development and product innovation, as well as expand worldwide market reach. 
  • Cisco launches next gen storage networking innovations. Cisco  launched a number of new storage networking offerings Tuesday - ranging from Fibre Channel Switching Modules to new HBA support on cisco UCS and NVMe support over fibre channel on UCS C-Series and MDS storage directors.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Data Center Links: March 03, 2017

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • C3 IoT updates platform, adds machine learning, closes new financing. It was a big week for enterprise Internet of Things company C3 IoT. The company announced "Version 7 of its enterprise software platform for big data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, with new tools and enhancements." The new edition will be out Q1 2017 and feature advanced capabilities spanning five elements of the C3 IoT Platform – data science tools, artificial intelligence algorithms, application development tools, edge analytics, and platform administration. On Thursday C3 IoT said that it has raised a Series E financing round at a $1.4 billion pre-money valuation, led by Breyer Capital.
  • Faction granted patent for work on hybrid and multi-cloud networking.  Enterprise-class IaaS cloud provider Faction announced that it has been awarded USPTO Patent #9,571,301 for its hybrid and multi-cloud technology. This technology powers its Faction Cloud Bloc and Faction Internetwork eXhange (FIX) product sets. Faction says its patent details how physical resources that may be hosted within a data center or colocation site can connect to one or more cloud providers a creating seamless, single pool of resources. The Denver based company, formerly known as Peak, also raised $11 million earlier this year to continue growing the company.
  • Nimble introduces Multicloud storage service. Nimble announced Cloud Volumes, an easy to manage multi-cloud storage service that lets an enterprise use public cloud for compute and Nimble Cloud Volumes for storage capacity. Nimble explains that data protection is flexible and cost effective, as customers only pay for changed data, not for additional full copies. 
  • Asetek signs product development agreement.  Liquid cooling company Asketek announced that it has signed with a 'major player in the data center space' for a development agreement that has been in the works for several years. Asetek says the goal of the agreement is to have "products in the market before year-end and resulting revenue to have significant impact on Asetek's future data center business."



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Data Center Links: January 26, 2017

Here are some (mostly) recent things I found interesting:


  • Cisco to acquire AppDynamics.  Cisco announced its intent to acquire Application Intelligence software provider AppDynamics for $3.7 billion. AppDynamics was on the cusp of filing an IPO when Cisco scooped them up for almost twice their value. Cisco saysIAAS  that AppDynamics CEO David Wadhwani will continue lead the new software business unit within the company. 
  • Faction nets $11 million funding round. IaaS cloud provider Faction announced it has closed an $11 million funding round from investors to fuel company growth and meet ever-expanding customer demand. The Denver based formerly known as PeakColo had a successful year of growth in 2016, and launched its Internetwork eXchange (FIX) solution, which enables enterprises to connect private cloud and colocation resources into public clouds privately and securely.
  • Hyper.sh aims to be the new IaaS.  Forbes has an excellent article on Hyper - a New York startup company looking to disrupt IaaS with its HyperContainer, a convergence of containers and VMs. 
  • D-Wave announces 2000Q Quantum Computer. D-Wave Systems announced the commercial availability of its 2000Q quantum computer, and first customer of the new system, Temporal Defense Systems. After launching 10 years ago D-Wave says the new 2000Q is 1,000 times faster than the previous generation system it released in 2015.  The company says it is the only company with a product designed to run quantum computing problems - with its 'quantum processing units (QPUs)'.  D-Wave benchmark tests revealed that its QPUs outperformed classical algorithms by 1,000 to 10,00 times in pure computation time, and that the 2000Q system outperformed the GPU-based implementations by 100 times in equivalent problem solving performance per watt.