Now that all of the 2011 reviews and 2012 prediction stories are out I am finally getting around to my year-end review. I just didn't quite make it to post by the end of 2011. Regardless, I have a number of items I wanted to cover as a means of reflecting on the year, data center stories, statistics and other musings.
I don't spend a great deal of time in my Google Analytics for this blog, but when I am sifting through it I am constantly surprised at the number of visits coming for a post I did in early 2009 about 2008 Data Center Statistics. As much as I would like to think it was possibly an insightful post, it was most likely due to not having turned on comment moderation (yet). :)
Data Center statistics are interesting however, and as data center technologies have evolved and case studies written throughout the past years it is helpful for looking at a more of a macro view of the industry. Many statistics are of course made possible with the help from a company that is studied for many data center topics; Google. Google's Zeitgeist is always an interesting barometer of what the world searched and how we spent our online lives. Check out the 2011 Zeitgeist video. Google Trends is also sometimes fun to look at for more specific topics, such as those that frequented 2011 headlines:
- Open Compute
- Public cloud vs. private cloud (below)
- or natural disasters (hurricane, tornado and earthquake)
Looking at patents for the data center can always be interesting as well. Google has filed patents over the years under the name Exaflop LLC and they filed around 8 in 2011. They continue to refine their data center infrastructure and methods to engineer and optimize the environment, through such things as patent 8004831, Orthogonally system arrangements for data center facility. The physical data center and components within are almost arranged/engineered like the big data programs that are running on them. Lead on patent 8004831, Andrew Carlson recently had an interesting article in the New York Times on "Aiming to Learn as We Do, a Machine Teaches itself".
Just doing a Google Patent search on "data center" or cloud computing can be enlightening. Another interesting Google patent was 0276686, for a Cloud Computing Assessment Tool. With the tool, input your data center information and it will spit out how it could look at a number of different data center providers and what efficiency, green-ness, and cost scores/ratings are. Not to be left out, Microsoft's 20110278928 is certainly intriguing, as a Wind-powered data center.
In 2011 I was fortunate enough to take several data center tours that were each memorable in their own way. In May I toured an almost complete CoreSite facility and the Vantage Data Centers campus in Santa Clara. This was while attending the Uptime Institute Symposium. I also geeked out and toured the corporate campuses for Apple and Google while out there (stalker-mode, not official tours). While attending Cisco Live 2011 I toured the Vegas SuperNAP facility. It was very impressive and certainly lived up to all that I had read about it.
Since it is (kind of) in my back yard, I made several trips to the West Des Moines Microsoft data center in 2011. They have been pretty quiet about the details on this site, but as an iteration of that "4th Generation" data center vision I am very intrigued about how it is engineered (and how it is operating so far). It looks close to how they depict the 4th generation infrastructure in this blog post.
I also completed a couple of white papers in 2011 at Data Center Knowledge:
Data Center Markets
Finally - the markets for data centers and U.S.-wide site selection are still an interest of mine. In 2007 I wrote a site selection white paper and in 2012 I would like to get a second / updated revision out. There are a number of angles to consider in the process other than natural disasters and obviously a lot has happened in the industry since 2007. Last month GigaOm published a post on the Top 5 places to build a data center, but for some reason left out Iowa in that list.
In 2011 the U.S. broke its record for billion-dollar weather disasters. I ran across an article over the holidays that adds an interesting angle to earthquakes as a natural disaster. In McDonald Ohio a 4.0 earthquake struck recently. "It was the latest in a series of minor quakes in the area in 2011, though the residents say Saturday's appeared to be stronger than others. Many have struck near an injection well used to dispose of brine water that's a byproduct of oil and gas drilling."
2012 predictions? I'm not a big fan of guessing what the new year will bring ; let's just say - big efficiency, big data (getting bigger), deeper cloud integration and modular data centers continue to proliferate. ... and that Mayan calendar thing: five 9's chance that it was wrong.