Friday, September 28, 2007

BGP Reform

Just a quick post (because the interesting information is in the article) on efforts underway by the Internet Research Task Force.

Check out this Network World article on research being done to radically change the Internet's core routers and way that BGP works.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

WAN Optimization

Something I have always been simultaneously very interested in and confused by is the wide area network. WAN technologies, optimization and accelerators are creeping up in headlines all over the place. With data centers growing in number and consolidation projects pushing data from geographically disperse locations, the WAN is becoming increasingly important to build and operate. This post is really just to aggregate the information I have run across, help myself understand it better, and with any luck, help someone else interested in the topic as well.


  • Matisse Networks has some pretty cool products for what they are calling the "first optical burst switch, purpose-built for scaling metro and campus networks from 10 to 640 Gbps." Their equipment and technology allows you to scale the metro area network beyond 10Gbps while reducing the capital expenditures needed to accomplish it. Optical burst switching combines Ethernet and the enormous bandwidth of DWDM . Matisse is touting it as the next step in the evolution of optical network products ( Fixed wavelength --> Reconfigurable DWDM --> Optical Burst). A whitepaper explaining the technology and products can be found here

"There are four Metro Ethernet scenarios that we see developing.

1. Simple L2 aggregation combined with transport. Limited support for legacy interfaces and no support for TDM. Limited traffic management and service awareness.
2. The God box. Support for TDM grooming, L2 switching and perhaps even MPLS routing.
3. Sophisticated L2 switching and L3 routing. Deep packet classification and traffic management. No support for TDM.
4. The stupid network. Buy dirt cheap commodity transport equipment and manage everything at the wavelength level. Backhaul everything to enormous Cisco and Juniper routers and sort it out there."
  • Click here to check out the Gartner 2006 WAN Optimization Controller Magic Quadrant report.
  • Here are some Cisco implementation stories of their Wide Area Application Services solution

WAN Optimization/Acceleration

  • Mark Weiner over at the Cisco Data Center Networks blog talks briefly about WAN optimization. He mentions a company that saved 3.2TB (Terabits) of WAN traffic and related expenses within a one month period!
  • An interesting lessons learned story comes from Byte and Switch article about Kansas City based 360 Architecture. Theirs is a story of WAN optimizers and consolidation of SAN resources. The article explains their problem, vendor evaluation and eventual 4X improvement in WAN speeds.


Finally - the fiber networks themselves are getting attention as well. The attraction of owning your own private fiber network was underscored by Paetec Holding acquiring Mcleod USA for $492 million in stock. Check out the details and article here

Friday, September 21, 2007

Data Center Consolidation

As if we needed further proof that data center consolidations are top of the to-do list for IT departments....

CIO Today has a nice article where they surveyed 29 state CIO's and 80% had developed, proposed or had a consolidation plan in progress. As with the last's interesting to gain some insight to how other organizations have their IT structured. Perhaps a little scary in the case of some of the stories in this article. :)

Check out the article here

World's Largest SANs

Byte and Switch has an initial article on what they are calling the World's largest SAN environments. They give some interesting, if not brief, descriptions of the SANs for JP Morgan Chase, U.S. DoD, NASA, San Diego Supercomputer Center and Lawrence Livermore National Labroatory.

These organizations have pushed over the petabyte level and the goal of the study by Byte and Swtich is to see how companies scale their storage infrastructure and what vendors they are working with. It was interesting to me to see how many are using SGI (I still really like SGI)

Assuming they will divulge more about this list in the future, I'll be anxious to read more of the details. Besides....forget about Petabytes -- let's talk Exabytes!

Check out the Byte and Switch article here

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Green Data Centers

I have avoided posting too many things on green data centers or programs that are being announced for new 'green' initiatives. If you read my blog there is an exceptionally good chance that you run across a few dozen stories a day on the topic. My personal favorite is the IBM ad where they are taking green paint to the walls of the data center. I don't have anything against the initiatives or press on the subject -- it's just a little overwhelming at times.

Tonight I ran across a very nice article though, that summarized all of the recent news, initiatives and other tidbits quite nicely. It also has a number of links out to websites with all of the pertinent information.

In the article, Bruce Myatt from EYP Mission Critical Facilities covers:
  • The July EPA report and plans to congress ( I agree that this report is a must-read for anyone in the data center business)
  • Initiatives summary for Sun, IBM, Dell, HP, Fujitsu, 365 Main, LBNL and others
  • Finally and perhaps most intriguing is the following quote:
Finally, an anonymous Internet giant in the neighborhood is said to be developing a “fan free” air circulation system to cool its servers. Relying upon natural convection and server fans only, their data centers may require no computer room air-conditioner units or plug fans at all to drive the air circulation in their data centers. Now, that is progress!

Also -- as Rich Miller mentioned today, the DOE is joining the Green Grid.

Check out the article from Bruce in CSE Magazine here

Sunday, September 16, 2007

TEAM Companies - Expansion

TEAM Companies has a second announcement, shortly after the story of the new Madison, WI Data Center. TEAM is also planning a $10 million expansion of their Cedar Falls, Iowa data center. The expansion, 15,000 sq.ft, would double the current footprint.
"Our facility in Cedar Falls is filled. That's the great news," Kittrell said. "But we have more Iowa companies that are looking for our services. So we never like to be in the position where we don't have anything to sell."
Check out the Waterloo Courier article here

Friday, September 14, 2007

Iowa Company Builds New Data Center

Just a quick follow-up post on the announcement yesterday from TEAM Companies.

Check out an article in Forbes on the announcement here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

TEAM Breaks Ground on New Data Center

TEAM Companies held a groundbreaking ceremony today for a new Data Center in the Fitchburg Technology Campus near Madison, Wisconsin. This groundbreaking is another major step for the Madison area, adding capabilities to a region that is already an innovation hotbed for Information Technology", stated TEAM Companies’ VP of Development Mark Kittrell.

Stating the desire of companies to locate their data centers in secure and obscure places, TEAM focuses on the secondary markets like Madison, WI, Cedar Falls, IA and other upper midwest locations.
We have a proven method of designing, building and operating world-class data centers,” says Kittrell.

TEAM brings a 'lease' option to companies faced with the decision of whether to build their own facility or not. Leasing data center space allows a business to let someone else worry about the operational and overhead aspects of running a data center.

Madison and its suburb of Fitchburg are close and yet far enough to be a perfect location for this type of facility; it allows clients to store their data “off site” from their offices, but it’s also close enough for them to get to their servers within an hour or two. Fitchburg also has plentiful and relatively inexpensive power.
The Fitchburg location will house a 50,000 square foot office building and 20,000 square foot data center.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Everyone Wants a Data Center

Columbia, Missouri thinks it would be a "good fit" for the data center industry. They have hired Angelou Economics of Austin, Texas to evaluate the area and see what it needs to do to increase the potential of attracting a data center.
"A REDI (Regional Economic Development Inc.) economic development report to the City Council, prepared with the consultant’s input, said the combination of a skilled workforce and the presence of a large research university are important criteria for attracting a high-tech firm. Good quality of life — with low crime, strong public schools and affordable housing — is also important."
Check out the article here

Monday, September 10, 2007

NSF Data Center Grant

A 3 year, $200,000 grant was awarded to Dr. Xiaorui Wang at the University of Tennessee. The grant will be in support of a proposal he submitted titled “CSR--PDOS: A Holistic Framework for Power and Performance Control in Data Centers.”
"...research which applies a multi-input/multi-output control theory, organizing power consumption and the application of a high-density server on a large-scale data center. This proposal of Dr. Wang’s was chosen from a collection of 410 other proposals presented to the NSF Computer Systems Research."

Check out the article here