Friday, February 29, 2008

Iowa Governor Signs Microsoft Incentives

Ok Microsoft -- Come on in!! After easily passing the Iowa legislature, Iowa Governor Chet Culver has signed the business incentives package designed to persuade Microsoft to locate their data center in Iowa.

Many local newspapers and TV stations have speculated which Iowa city Microsoft is looking at. I have heard Marshalltown, Cedar Falls and Sioux City as top candidates. For a number of reasons I would recommend Cedar Falls as the top choice!

Here is the link to the Associated Press article.

Old School Optics

Lightwave magazine has an interesting article that covers an Ovum analyst's thoughts on a generational shift in views on fiber optics and networking technologies.
"The analyst says active optical cables, more holistic approaches to 10/40/100G data rates, and a new focus on size and power exemplify the new outlook. Even consumer markets appear within grasp."
Check out the article here

Thursday, February 28, 2008

LinkedIn: Bill Gates Asks A Question

I don't remember where I read it - but I heard about an event on LinkedIn where Bill Gates was going to ask a question for the LinkedIn community to respond to. Out of curiosity I checked it out tonight. A mere 16 hours after he wrote the question there were 1,509 answers!

His question is: "How can we do more to encourage young people pursue careers in science and technology?" I thought it could be a pretty interesting question to pen an answer to, and I figured this would probably be as close of a conversation with Bill Gates as I'll ever get. :)

Check out the question and answers (including mine -- #1,510 on page 51) here

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Arizona Solar Power Plant

A while back we learned of web hosting company Aiso being the first 100% solar powered hosting company. They have pretty low power needs - but imagine what you could do with 280 megawatts for your data center!

A huge solar plant, named Solana is a joint venture/contract between Abengoa Solar and Arizona Public Service Company and has a build cost of $1 Billion. The 1900 acre will be 70 miles south west of Phoenix and has an projected capacity of 280 megawatts. What's a story like this without mention of tax breaks...? :) The project will be completed by 2011 - but only if Congress renews the clean energy tax credit set to expire at the end of 2008. This bill allows ~$18 Billion in tax breaks for renewable energies.

The article doesn't mention data centers - but I just wanted to post about it ; I have a larger post brewing about renewable energy technologies available to data centers and thought I would mention this enormous solar plant. Plus -- Iowa Governor Chet Culver recently set out plans for renewable energy goals in Iowa. More on that later...

Here is the link about the Solana solar plant.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Novell Acquires PlateSpin

I knew it! Ok, well, I knew part of it. I had always figured that Platespin was ripe for acquisition. Very cool products in a hot was bound to happen sooner or later.

Today Novell announced that is was acquiring Platespin for $205 million in cash. Platespin specializes in software that allows workloads to be spread across physcial and virtual servers. The acquisition strengthens Novell's virtualization stack and gives it an affordable disaster recovery solution.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Terremark NAP of the Capital Region

The Terremark $270 Million NAP of the Capital Region is one impressive facility! Virginia site has a write-up of the new Terremark facility being built in Culpeper, Virginia.

Set to open in June 2008, this data center has some impressive features:
  • Two power systems. The first: an array of 55 diesel generators. The second, 440 large flywheels.
  • 160 watts per square foot (funny--I keep hearing that this is a bad metric to use).
  • It is expected to consume 100 megawatts of electricity.
  • 2500 tons of a/c
  • Bus-sized chillers fed by 18 inch wide pipes.
  • They have poured enough concrete to build a 21.5 mile road.
  • Campus will consist of up to five 50,000 sq.ft. independent data centers.
  • My favorite: DoD-trained anti-terrorism personnel on staff.
The video of construction progress:

The Terremark information page, complete with webcam and video (including an overly dramatic soundtrack) can be found here.

The article can be found here

A related story about how most of Terremark's workforce could be local ; can be found here

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Berkely RAD Lab

The Wall Street Journal has a pretty interesting artcile on Google data center software and architecture. The Berkely RAD (Reliable, Adaptable, Distributed Systems) lab is charged with taking the mystery out of the Google datacenter and really understand the software and infrastructure needed to run a scalable, reliable data center.

Check out the WSJ article here

XSF Selects USSHC for Colocation

Another high availability site/organization has selected USSHC (US Secure Hosting Center) for colocation services. A month ago we learned of Wikia locating their infrastructure at USSHC and now the XMPP Standards Foundation (XSF) has selected USSHC. Core Jabber/XMPP services as well as the IM service will run from their infrastructure there.

"Given the secure, always-on nature of Jabber/XMPP technologies, the choice of USSHC is only natural," said Peter Saint-Andre, Executive Director of the XSF. "USSHC's commitment to secure hosting, highly reliable systems, and fast, friendly service is unsurpassed in the industry."

USSHC is a military built, hardened, underground facility located in Monticello, Iowa.

Check out the press release here

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cooler Planet - Solar Map

Cooler Planet has a really cool interactive map of California Solar Power. It interactively narrates total installs, total Megawatts, average system size and total Kiloton pounds of carbon emissions saved. It covers 1999 through 2007. The stats demonstrate a 17x increase in solar installations over the last 6 years. It is a very nicely done map and (for me anyway) speaks volumes over a spreadsheet or other presentation methods.

Check it out here.

BizJournals - America's Most Stressful Places created a 10 part formula to rank the stress levels in 50 metro areas. I thought it was an interesting study and perhaps equivalent to other "quality of life" studies done, that I mentioned in my data center site selection white paper.

The IT industry has enough stress as is, without living in a city with all of these stressful factors that BizJournals looked at. It would be interesting to study the major industries in the most and least stressful cities to see what the are comprised of.

I am a visual person, and a Google fanatic, so I started a Google map of these cities. I have the most stressful cities mapped, and will go back to enter the least stressful.

View Larger Map

Check out the BizJournals study information here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Google Data Center Blueprint

I think Harper's Magazine could have picked a different title for the article -- "Keyword: Evil" ; but maybe that's just me. The March 2008 issue has a short story on the Google data center in The Dalles, Oregon. The interesting part is they have a blueprint of the Google complex with information on utility connections and every detail for fiber, sewer, water, power and others. The most interesting annotation I saw was the one that read "confidential / proprietary". :)

Check out the Harpers article and blueprint here

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sun Preps for Infiniband

I (admittedly) don't know much about Infiniband. I know what it is, but I just don't hear that much about it and have not used it in my experience. Well, it looks like Sun is taking a gamble on it.

Sun touts many advantages of Infiniband vs. Ethernet in the race for the unified network. Infiniband is poised to beat Ethernet to the 40Gbit/sec mark and products are expected to have latency as low as 60-70 nanoseconds.

I'm going to have to agree with quotes made in the EETimes article and say that Ethernet advances may be slow going due to IEEE red tape, but Infiniband just doesn't have the market share that Ethernet does and data center managers are looking to reduce the types of fabrics, not increase.

Check out the article here

Iowa Tax Break Offering To Lure Microsoft Data Center

As we did with the Google deal, Iowa has sweetened the deal for Microsoft to build a data center here. The Iowa House voted 99-1 (HF 2233) in favor of giving tax breaks to Microsoft in order to lure them to the state. You can read the rest of the details in the Des Moines Register article, but I wanted to say a big thank you to Republican Christopher Rants for the for this:
House Minority Leader Christopher Rants, a Sioux City Republican, voted for the bill but also requested that lawmakers look at what can be done to help smaller companies, many that already exist in Iowa.
It's nice to see someone looking out for ALL business in the state and not just the mega million deals and companies like Google and Microsoft.

Check out the Des Moines Register article here
and a Forbes article here

Data Center Directions Virtual Conference

I just happened to check my e-mail at the right time today. I received a reminder of the CIO/CSO/Computerworld virtual conference that would be going on throughout the day today. I was pretty skeptical, but it was lunch time so I figured I would give it a shot. The virtual tradeshow software they are using has come a LONG way -- this was very cool.

They had a networking hub with people from all over the world talking, an expo floor with give-aways, brochures and the ability to see what other people/avatars were at the particular booth. I ventured over to the auditorium and browsed through the presentations that were scheduled. I attended one called Dream Big: Your next data center. It was interesting and I jotted down a few notes of interest:

  • Barbara Bartell - VP of Information Services, Maximus;
    • She pointed out the 8 critical skills for the data center:
      • Risk Management
      • Environmental Engineering
      • Capacity Planning
      • Systems Administration
      • System Engineering
      • Networking
      • Backup Strategies
      • Awareness of business needs.
    • A poll during her part:
      • Is a new data center or major revamp planned for this year?
        • 56.8% Yes
        • 43.1% No
    • Aaron Wangenheim - President, Base Partners
      • Discussed the power plants that had coal contracts - when those expire and aren't renewed -- what are their plans for renewable energy?
      • He mentioned that he had heard of a large black box project in Chicago.
      • He discussed raised floor pros/cons. He suggests NOT using raised floor when designing the data center. Hey Goolsbee -- preaching to the choir, huh?!
    • Robert Mcfarlane - Interport division president, Shen,Milson & Wilke, Inc.
      • bad metric -- watts/sq.ft. ; this results in grossly over-designing
      • use watts/cabinet footprint instead for a metric.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Terremark - Fox Business Interview

Fox Business has their CSuite Sitdown interview with Manny Median, Terremark Worldwide (TMRK) CEO. He discusses their service offerings, the carrier neutral advantage, the competition and Terremark's stock performance.

Check it out here

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Possible Iowa Data Center for Microsoft!

Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, so much for being calm and collected. :)

According to a Des Moines Register article, Mircosoft is "considering Iowa for a data center"!! The usual sworn secrecy and mystery surrounds this one, just as we were used to when Google moved in.
“I’ve been given quite a bit of confidential information by Microsoft,” Rep. Phil Wise, a Keokuk Democrat, said today. “I can’t tell you the size of the investment, but it is indeed hundreds of millions of dollars. I can’t tell you the number of jobs, but it is in the hundreds of jobs. I can’t tell you the nature of the wages for the jobs, but it would be one of the best sets of jobs ever created in the history of Iowa.”
Also as usual, Iowa lawmakers are pushing a set a tax breaks through as fasts as possible. More may be known after Feb. 21, the next Iowa Department of Economic Development meeting. The article doesn't say where in Iowa the data center site selection is, but it is speculated to be in the immediate Des Moines area.

Check out the Des Moines Register article here

Data Center University

About a year ago I started studying to get certified at Data Center University. It is a good program, even though it was sponsored soley by APC. The online tutorial sessions I have done are not APC commercials and have actually been very informative. Teaming with training partner Global Knowledge , they have done a nice job of delivering presentations on a wide variety of data center related topics.

The has a nice article about a company that used the DCU sessions and trained their staff to come up to speed on data center technologies.
A recent survey conducted by AFCOM's Data Center Institute indicates that by the year 2015, the number of qualified senior-level data center professionals will have diminished by 45 percent. As the talent pool decreases and the demand for these professionals grows, certification offers the assurance that individuals have the knowledge, skills, and ability to successfully implement data center solutions.

As of April 2007, 400 people have achieved the Data Center University Associate Certification.

Check out the article here

Monday, February 11, 2008

Citrix Workflow Studio

I don't get too much into the IT automation work flow software -- it's a crowded market and just something I haven't been able to play with much. Since reading about the Citrix Workflow Studio, it seems to be a pretty cool product. Gus Pinto covers the product on his MVP blog and thinks it is revolutionary.

This may be a stretch -- but I wonder if Citrix could/would buy Platespin?

Also.....Citrix is keeping it's promise on its Xen acquisition as well --- a new commercial version of the Xen Server is set to roll out and Citrix Presentation Server has been renamed to XenApp.

World Wide Packets Acquired by Ciena Corp.

Proving that the Ethernet services market is hot, equipment supplier World Wide Packets was acquired by Ciena Corp. for $305 million.

Ciena announced the intent to acquire WWP back on Jan. 22nd. Carrier Ethernet has been a side interest of mine (one of several....) for a while now -- I have just have not had time to read up on it. Ciena has a pretty cool poster that covers OTU (Optical Transmission Unit) Network technology.

Ciena delivers flexible network platforms, software and professional services to telecoms, cable operators and enterprises migrating to an IP platform. Ciena stock was up 16% today.

Check out the Dark Fiber Resource information on the acquisition here

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Google/IBM Cloud Computing

Not to over-hype the term cloud computing -- but it really has me intrigued. I think the potential is absolutely huge and with companies like IBM and Google researching it, they are sure to make some significant progress to understanding it and making it better.

I came across an InfoWorld article this weekend that I felt was very good in covering the IBM/Google partnership/initiative for cloud computing. IBM and Google make money in very different ways and I think that cloud computing could (potentially) be the new platform that both IBM (the enterprise side of things) and Google (the Internet, massively scaled applications side of things) run on. In the article, IBM exec Steve Mills is interviewed about the goals of the partnership and research.

Check out the article here

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Green Collar Jobs

I was at a meeting tonight where a lot of discussion focused on workforce development and attempting to bolster tech recruitment in the area. It seems like the changing workforce landscape is a problem that has plagued many generations. Training and re-training people to keep pace with technologies and changing industries is an industry in to itself. From the Agricultural revolution to the industrial revolution to the Internet Revolution (where I learned my history) companies and individuals are tasked to educate themselves, adapt to a changing world, and solve the economic development puzzle.

Ok -- perhaps this is a bit dramatic for the forthcoming link, but the MSNBC article does make you think. The title/subject is the future trend of "green collar jobs". I'm not sure why, but that just makes me think of Mr. Green Jeans from the Captain Kangaroo show. :) Anyway....the article presents some pretty interesting statistics; including that "wind energy industry currently employs about 45,000 people in the U.S. and had $9 billion worth of investment last year, a 45 percent increase from 2006". Randall Swisher is quoted as saying that by 2030 there will be nearly half a million new jobs created in green industries.

Check out the MSNBC article here

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hosting Industry Consolidation

I think 2008 will have a lot of consolidation and mergers in the hosting industry. The dedicated and shared hosting business is tough.......and crowded. As companies try to focus and compete for customers and the coveted SaaS (yes, I said it) market they will see the benefits of joining forces and/or acquiring smaller/similar companies.

Alentus Corp. recently acquired the Ohio data center from AO Technologies. AO will continue to focus on the streaming media and become a colo customer of Alentus. I imagine that this data center for California based Alentus will provide a midwest facility for them without the hassle of building their own. AO was founded in 1996, so I certainly hope they have upgraded the data center since then! :) I'll admit that I had not heard of Alentus -- but they certainly have an impressive customer list!

Check out the article here

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Cloud Computing

John M Willis has a very nice summary of cloud computing -- hype and all. John covers all aspects of it from myths to facts and the various levels of clouds. I will also admit that clouds are currently pretty high on the hype cycle, but like John -- I'm hooked!

Check out his post here

New Blog!

Ever since I have been following the Data Center industry I have had a side interest in Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery. I have decided to dig into the topics much deeper, and as a means for me to learn the industry and concepts I have started a separate blog for it.

If these topics interest you, please check out my new blog -- BCP Links (

Monday, February 04, 2008

Due Diligence

Scott Whitney (on the TechNewsWorld site) has an excellent article on his trials and tribulations for selecting a data center. Having worked in a colo facility for some time I can appreciate his problems and desire to get a root canal instead of evaluating data centers.

While the points he brings up are kind of 'the usual' list for me; it is a very complete list and good for anyone else looking to run down the list of what they should be thinking of when shopping around for colo space.

Check out the article here

“Think containers. They’re for real.”

This headline was a quote from Debra Chrapaty, Corporate VP of Global Foundation Services at the Cisco Nexus 7000 announcement.

As I may have mentioned a few hundred times, I simply don't get the container model. I have seen it, studied it and read most everything about it....but where can it (practically) be used?!?!

Well....I'm starting to turn the corner. Forrester research has a nice article on the topic and potential uses for it; and like Douglas Gourlay over on the Cisco Data Center Networks blog, I think I'll utilize the white board and run some numbers. There may be some possibilities for this model after all..... :)