Sunday, March 30, 2008

Data Center World - Twitter

As I get ready for Data Center World this week, I thought I would try something new. The conference always gives me good thoughts to blog on and why not try an experiment to capture those thoughts.

I am a big fan of the TWiT Newtork of podcasts and Leo Laporte. They frequently mention Twitter and how they follow people via the tool. My usual reaction is - jeeesh, people, get a life! Other than teens trying to keep up with their friends, rather than, oh I don't know -- GOING OUTSIDE and talk to them in person..... this site/tool seems like a big waste of time. However, I 'suppose' their is some value in it and it really is just like a personal chat room or sending an instant message to anyone that wants to listen. To that extent - I'm going to try and post updates about the conference via my Twitter account.

I may just be talking to myself - but that is nothing new. :)
To follow me (this week anyway) at the conference -- click here

Thursday, March 27, 2008

U of Illinois Petascale Project

Buried at the bottom of a story about the University of Illinois is an update on their $72.5 Million Petscale Computing Facility. When it comes online in 2011 it will become the world's most powerful supercomputer for open scientific research. The 95,000 square foot facility was designed by EYP Mission Critical Facilities (now HP).

Check out the article here

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

DataCenter World 2008 Vegas

I learned recently that I am able to go to the Vegas Data Center World Conference! It is coming up next week and I am pumped. Michael Manos is a particular keynote I am anxious to see.

The conference is Tuesday through Thursday of next week. If anyone is planning on being there and is interested in meeting up just let me know.

3Com Merger Approved

Just last Thursday we learned of the 3Com acquisition attempt being halted by the Government. Well, apparently that bluff was called and the 3Com shareholders approved the acquisition.

The vote appeared to be designed to ensure 3Com could get a US$66 million breakup fee as compensation for pursuing a merger with Bain Capital Partners and Huawei Technologies that was proposed last year.
Check out the Network World article here

Monday, March 24, 2008

Rackspace Green Initiatives

There is carrier neutral colocation - why not have carbon neutral server farms? TMC Green Technology World interviews Rackspace as a follow-up to their customer survey about making their data centers green.

Rackspace is focusing on company conservation, customer offerings and employee education. They are also co-marketing efforts from their partner NativeEnergy. NativeEnergy is a pretty interesting company and has a good list of big name companies as members. They have a number of renewable energy sources that aren't always the ones making the news. My favorite is "remooable energy". :)

Check out the TMC article here

USSHC Announces EColo Program

USSHC announced "EColo" today - their new program to allow customers to offset the energy needed to run their systems with renewable energy. For every customer that enrolls in the Ecolo program, USSHC will in turn buy the equivalent amount of renewable energy from Alliant Energy. This exchange is a part of Alliant's Second Nature Program.

"Alliant Energy's Second Nature program allows us to be a catalyst for change in the data center colocation industry," said Isaac Helgens, Project Director for USSHC. "No other program allows us to make an impact so quickly without making major changes to processes in place. We are able to able to reduce our ecological footprint and in doing so give our customers a more efficient alternative.
Check out the EColo (pronounced ECHO-low) program here
and the press release here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Data Center Cooling

Business Week has a nice article on the business of powering and cooling the data center. Be sure to check out the slide show for additional information. For instance - they talk about Google using wind and solar technologies ; and specifically mention that they may tap into Wind energy in the Council Bluffs data center.

Check out the article here

New Data Center for Sisters of Mercy Hospital

Thanks to HIPPA and other regulations, and incredible amount of data health care organizations have to manage and process, I think you will continue to see a lot of data center news about this industry. Hospitals tend to build data centers close to the cities they serve. As Rich Miller pointed out the other day, there is a lot of activity in the second tier cities for data center expansion and new facilities.

The St. Louis Business Journal reports that the Sisters of Mercy Health System is building a $60 Million data center in Washington, Missouri. The 40,000 sq. foot center is slated to go live in 2010.

Check out the article here

Friday, March 21, 2008

World's Most Powerful Particle Accelerator

What else can I say.....

Check out a picture tour of the world's most powerful particle accelerator.

Cloud Storage: Nirvanix and 3Tera Partner

I'm still not sold on the term "cloud" anything....maybe I just need to warm up to it, but that's for another post.

Today Cloud Storage provider Nirvanix announced a partnership with Utility Computing company 3Tera. The partnership includes offering global distributed storage, content distribution and remote backup capabilities to web developers. 3Tera's Applogic catalog will have the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network(SDN) added.
“This solution blends together the best of both worlds, Utility Computing and Cloud Storage,” said Jonathan Buckley, Chief Marketing Officer for Nirvanix. “The two companies are coming together to address a very real problem for their customer: How to complement the simplicity and automation of a robust Utility Computing platform, with a cost-disruptive, yet most-reliable layer of data protection based on Cloud Storage.”
This sounds like a pretty good step for both companies. Check out the press release here

Thursday, March 20, 2008

3Com Acquisition

3Com is an interesting company. Back in the day they were everywhere....lots of products, lots of market penetration. Then, there are times where I forget they even exist and just don't hear much about them or their products. With a founder like Robert Metcalfe : the founder and co-inventor of a little thing called.... Ethernet, how could the company go wrong?

3Com has been in the limelight recently in the M&A saga section. Boston's Bain Capital Partners and China's Huawei Technologies were bidding to acquire 3Com and ComputerWorld reported today that this bid was abandoned. The reason is the interesting part. In January 2005 3Com acquired security company TippingPoint The ComputerWorld article explains that the U.S. Department of Defense uses 3Com IDS products. The acquisition has been halted apparently due to security concerns and the fact that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. intended to take action to prohibit the sale. This TippingPoint software must be really good -- I had always figured the DoD wrote their own software for IDS/IPS.

Check out the ComputerWorld article here

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Interview with Qwest CEO

Om Malik has a short, but nice interview with Edward Mueller, CEO & Chairman of Qwest. Due to some poor customer experience stories I have not been a big fan of Qwest. However, I imagine you can come up with similar stories for most any carrier.

Qwest is certainly going in different directions over the past few years. It's interesting that they would be such a heavy contender for the broadband market. Qwest is the dominant local loop provider in my area. They mention their fiber to the home initiatives -- hey Qwest - I'll pilot it for you!! :)

Check out Om's interview here

Asynchronous Data Replication Patent

I had not heard of virtualization and provisioning software company Exludus prior to their March 18th press release, but their software sounds very cool. They announced that they have received a patent for "Asynchronous and Autonomous Data Replication" technology.

Exludus' tag line sums up what they do nicely: "the leading developer of multi-core system capacity management, virtualization and provisioning solutions". Check out the GRID Today article here

Back in February they announced a reseller relationship with one of my favorite companies - SGI. The agreement will embed eXludus Grid Optimizer in the SGI BioCluster solution.
“Through testing conducted on a 64 processor configuration, it was observed that Grid Optimizer™ provided up to 90 percent performance gains on key life sciences applications."
Check out the February press release here

Monday, March 17, 2008

EMC Raises Offer to Acquire Iomega

It looks like EMC has raised the offer to $205.5M to acquire Iomega. Iomega's board has authorized them to enter into discussions with EMC.

Check out the press release here

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Renewable Energy

I ran across two articles this evening, that....well, let's just say they are post-worthy.

The first one is not necessarily data center related - except in the renewable energy realm.....and the "I got a kick out of it" realm. A frequent topic in the books I select to read is economics. I throughly enjoyed The World Is Flat, and Freakonomics. A recent post on the Business Facilities blog talks about how the ethanol industry is wreaking havoc on the chicken industry. Apparently the fact that so much corn is going towards ethanol production has driven the price of chicken-feed up. The World's largest poultry processor, Pilgrim's Pride has announced facility closings and 1,100 jobs cut as a result. This one will surely end up in economic studies in some book in the future. Check out the post here.

The second one is also from the Business Facilities blog and is about wind turbines bound to the ocean floor. It has something to do with tapping the ocean currents, but it sounds like there is a lot left to research and test for this potential use. The reason I thought this one was interesting, was combining recent news we have heard in the industry. We've heard about Google investing in undersea cable; and we have heard about data center containers being used aboard ships, so why not use undersea turbines to supplement power to the ship and the undersea fiber to get connectivity and setup your own floating data center fleet! Better yet -- how long until we read the headline "Google to build data center (Googlantis) on the Atlantic Ocean floor". Maybe there is a use for those cars that convert from cars to mini submarines yet! :)
Check out the turbines post here

The picture below is my attempt at a joke -- based on how much I like James Bond movies. If I had bonus points, I would give them out to anyone able to name the bad guy in the movie that this picture comes from.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cisco's Network on Wheels Container

The Philippine Daily Inquirer has a story about the Cisco Express Network on Wheels (NoW) truck visiting the National Computer Center in Quezon City. The article title had the word 'container' in it and naturally caught my eye.

The Cisco NoW truck had typically been used for Marketing and doing a road-show to showcase Cisco technologies. The use case for the Philippines was for a mobile command center and data center housed in a 40 foot container.
"NoW, currently stationed at the National Computer Center in Diliman Quezon City, is custom-made with Cisco’s latest technologies and solutions, including a generator—making the container into an instant mobile command center that can be deployed immediately to the affected area to do fast wireless coordination among the various the government disaster-response agencies."
Learning lessons from hurricane Katrina, the disaster management abilities of this truck would be greatly beneficial to the Philippines. However, they rank 69th in the world in network readiness, according to Cisco's data.

Check out the article here

Monday, March 10, 2008

Busy day for EMC

EMC had a busy day in press releases today. They announced the acquisition of Australia based ITSM software company Infra. Infra compliments EMC's data center operations family of software and gives them an ITIL solution that automates IT Service Management.

EMC also announced that 2007 was the 8th consecutive year that they were named the market share leader in storage software. This was according to the latest IDC worldwide quarterly storage software tracker.

Now -- if we only knew what to do with all of this data on EMC storage! :) Last week the press release was about the new AIIM survey revealing that organizations continue to struggle with unstructured information.

Finally -- Today Iomega "received an unsolicited and non-binding proposed offer" from EMC. EMC's $178.1 Million bid represents a 22% premium over the stock's closing price on Friday. Check out the Iomega press release here.

Iomega stock closed up 20.3% and EMC closed down 2.2%

Netex Drives Data Center Acceleration Market

High-end data replication over long distances at rates above OC-12, ensuring data reliability and integrity -- cool. DR over IP WAN Optimization company Netex has reaffirmed their commitment to the data center acceleration market. Netex and the need for optimizing connections between data centers was called out in Gartner's most recent Magic Quadrant report for low-end branch office WAN optimization technologies.

With special attention towards large enterprise customers, there are many easy justifications for products like HyperIP from Netex:
"Replicating enterprise data sets between data centers with NetEx ensures that compliance standards for records maintenance are achieved, eliminating exposure to regulatory sanctions and lawsuits. Additionally, by simplifying and accelerating data replication as part of a corporate business continuity and disaster recovery plan, HyperIP helps companies slash expenses for data management chores that account for 21 percent of overall IT costs, according to one study."

Transfer speed in HyperIP has been qualified by a regular who's who list in the enterprise data management applications market: EMC, Hitachi, IBM, Netapp, Oracle and Symantec.

Privately held Netex is a spin-off of StorageTek and is based in Maple Grove Minnesota. Last December they unveiled a version of HyperIP for VMWare ESX server. "With HyperIP for VMware, customers can scale performance up to 600x with no hardware upgrades, the company says."

Last September I looked at the WAN Optimization market and some highlighted products -- this will continue to be a hot market in 2008.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Data Center Links: The Green Issue

Data Center Links: The Green Issue

There - now I have it out of my system! :) The data center industry is absolutely inundated with stories on renewable energy and ways that companies are saving energy or building energy efficient facilities. If it weren't so important I would say enough already on the hype cycle -- but power is obvious paramount to a data center and saving money and being environmentally friendly at the same time is equally important.

Let's start with the Google search results -- perhaps meaningless, but interesting:

Wind Energy: 6,490,000 results
Solar Energy: 12,400,000 results
Hydroelectric: 3,060,000 results

Below is a collection of items that have come across my virtual desk in the past few weeks; but first I thought I would link to several 'green' blogs that I have added to my regular surfing schedule.
Other miscellaneous links to interesting stories:
  • Solar
    • An email from my dad led me to the company WorldWater & Solar Technologies Corp. Just this last week they announced a ground breaking of a 2 Megawatt solar system at the Denver International Airport. "The solar installation will supply 3.5 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy annually for the airport and is valued at over $13 million." Check out complete details here.
    • Courtesy of the TreeHugger blog, there is a story on the Solar Market Outlook - unveiled in New York City.
    • Here is a story in Business Week about Florida power companies buying back solar energy from their customers. I imagine you will see this story in a lot of other cities throughout 2008.
    • This one was just too funny -- The Seattle Times reports that a man filed charges against his neighbor because their redwoods blocked sunlight to his backyard solar panels. A judge recently ordered the neighbor to cut down 2 of its 8 redwood trees, citing an obscure state law that protects a homeowner's right to sunlight. This is so silly that I'm speechless...
  • Managed hosting provider EasyStreet is building a new 10,000 square foot data center. They put a lot of green design into it, partnering with Intel, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and others. Check out the Portland Business Journal article here.
  • An article on the IT@Intel blog mentions a twist on energy conservation - energy reuse. Anyone that has worked or been in a data center has felt how hot the hot aisle is. This article discusses using that heat waste for good in areas outside of the data center. Intel is putting this to use in Israel - one of its 8 global hub data centers. An estimated $235,000 will be saved annually with heat recycling and this facility will hopefully become Intel's first LEED certified green building. After the 2007/2008 winter I have endured, I could benefit from this technology! Their white paper on the technology can be found here.
  • Both Intel and Google have nice R&D web sites about their renewable energy initiatives.
The End (for now)

WorldWide Telescope

Being a multi-billion dollar Global Tech giant has its advantages. One good thing Microsoft has done is pour a ton of money and resources into Research. A recently announced research project will be released this spring and looks VERY cool!

Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope uses their "visual experience engine" to seamlessly pan and zoom across the night sky. My explanation probably won't do it justice, and it isn't out yet -- but there is a nice video demonstration on a TED Talks video.

Here is a MSNBC article on it and here is the Microsoft site for WorldWide Telescope.

Now...I'm still a Google fanatic, and love Google Earth and the 'sky' function inside of Google Earth--but this new Microsoft app looks to be a strong contender. With the Google/NASA partnership I'm sure we haven't seen the last of the cool apps/features from Google Earth.

Terremark: $135 Million Multi-year Contract

A few weeks back we saw a video update of the $270 Million NAP of the Americas from Terremark. Even though it is a little under half of the price of a Google data center, it is a very impressive facility for a colo.

Yesterday Terremark subsidiary, Terremark Federal Group, announced it was awarded a multi-year, competitively bid $135 Million contract (unnamed customer). Now that is what I call an anchor tenant!
"Our ability to provide the federal sector with top-quality services and excellent customer care was a major factor in the awarding of this contract," said Jamie Dos Santos, President and Chief Executive Officer of Terremark Federal Group, Inc.
I would have loved to see who else was bidding on this contract. Check out the press release here.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Techie Drought

A Miami Herald article explores the issue with recruiting and retaining IT employees in Florida. The article might as well be in most any newspaper across the country -- this is a huge problem that many tech companies are facing.

The article mentions Terremark and the fact that having internship programs has helped them out -- to train, mentor and then hire interns into the company.

Check out the article here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Links for 05 March 2008

Not much time for comments tonight and there were quite a few stories that piled up this week, so here we go:

  • Verari Systems introduced their container data center yesterday. The "Forest" container solution will have a forest scene painted on the outside -- hmmm, maybe they could paint a blue ocean on it and put it on a ship!
  • InformationWeek has a photo slide show of the Google data center being constructed in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It's been a loooong winter here -- the last picture is of some locals ice fishing.
  • Xcel Energy has selected Stratavia's data center automation platform to streamline its IT operations. Standardization, centralizing critical processes, and scalability were listed as primary factors in the evaluation and selection of Stratavia. Stratavia was recently named a 2008 rising star from the Enterprise Management Associates.
  • Xcel Eneregy also announced a groundbreaking wind-to-battery project. The project will take place in Minnesota and received a $1 Million grant from Minnesota's Renewable Development fund.
  • A short while back when Rich Miller wrote about the BayCare Health System data center redesign, it made me think of the 'other' hospital case study I had recently seen. As I've mentioned in the past, I am intrigued by Second Life and applaud all that Cisco, IBM and other companies have done in the virtual world. Check out this blog post and this video of the Palomar Pomerado Health Cisco case study of the "Hospital of the future".
  • Speaking of Second life -- when is Google going to come out with their own virtual world? Well, until then, they have Google Earth and the new Google Cities in 3D program. Pretty cool stuff.....
  • BT Quraterly has a nice Cisco case study of their SONA (Service-Oriented Network Architecture) titled "A Network Architecture for Business Value Acceleration"
  • Issue 7 of the EDS magazine Synnovation is "the green issue". The article I liked the most was "Making a List - Environmental Sustainability 101". We are obviously flooded with Green articles lately, and this one does a nice job of covering a high level view, what we 'should' do, what is 'right' to do, and what is 'smart' to do.
  • I really enjoyed the article (and linked presentation)on the cost of different data center architectures.
  • Finally -- since the Platespin acquisition actually happened, I thought I would take another shot in the dark prediction and say that Cassatt will be purchased by either IBM or Cisco in the near future.

CyteWorks takes data center underground

The Kansas City Star has an article on CyteWorks moving their equipment to an underground data center, provided by Cavern Technologies. I mention it for two reasons -- it's nice to see the quote from the business owners that setting up their own data center was "a distraction" and that it made more sense to outsource it to a data center provider (amen). Secondly, I keep running across these bunkers or underground facilities that are up and coming data centers! The underground concept is definitely unique and worth a look.

Check out the article here.

Iowa Technology and Ken Patchett

I attended an awards show tonight that honored technology companies in Iowa and the progress we have made as a state. Produced by the Technology Association of Iowa, the event was very nice and it was inspirational to see all of the things going on in the state and the innovation that continues to make us a technology power-house.

A highlight of the evening was the keynote from Google's Ken Patchett. Ken has been quoted and photographed for countless news articles about Google data centers. Ken was incredibly supportive of the Iowa companies taking part in the event. He delivered a wonderful keynote, complete with a modified Google logo for Iowa (apologies--the picture was taken with my phone)
It contains the Iowa state flower and bird and (of course) a corn stalk. OK -- the real highlight was actually getting to meet and talk with Ken. As you can imagine he was incredibly popular, so I didn't get time to ask him the question I had ready. I was going to ask him his thoughts on the viability of wind energy generation for use in powering/augmenting a data center. An InformationWeek article last November posed the thought as well.

Congratulations to all of the award winners at the show tonight!

P.S.: I also wanted to congratulate Principal, HNI and Meredith for getting listed on Fortune's 'most admired' list!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Data Center Best Practices

Just a quick link to a good article that InformationWeek has on tips shared by operators and consultants in the industry.
These "badass" data centers--energy efficient, automated, hypersecure--are held up as models of innovation today, but their technologies and methodologies could become standard fare tomorrow.
Check out the article here

Also, check out a side story on Ebay data centers here