Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Microsoft Data Center Monitoring System

CIO reports that Microsoft is using 2,000 temperature/humidity sensors - using ZigBee wireless in several of its facilities. Microsoft demonstrated their prototype system to the Uptime Institute. Check out the CIO article here.

This news (of course) made me think.... how cool would it be to combine this wireless mesh of sensors, with Autodesk's Revit (Building Information Modeling software), and OpenSimulator - like IBM is using to present a virtual data center. I am a visual learner and big fan of the virtual world stuff like OpenSimulator offers. I've played around in SecondLife - but have not been 'overly' impressed just yet. The vision that IBM has started with OpenSimulator/Virtual Worlds is pretty cool - and the potential to integrate other products (monitoring/management) into that is pretty exciting (for a geek like me).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

IDS - Ship based Data Centers - Update

I'm not sure if the idea is growing on me or what, but the notion of a data center on a ship doesn't sound as silly as it did the very first time I heard it. Back in January of this year IDS (International Data Security) introduced us to the idea of putting containers on ships that were due to be scrapped.

There is an update now on how the company is coming with the idea, and they also do a nice job of explaining how it is accomplished and some of what the value proposition is. I asked questions about the business model, security and fiber, and they have addressed those in the comments section.

Check out the update and answers here.

TEAM Technologies and Iowa Health System Partnership

The previously announced information about the TEAM Technologies data center in Waukee, Iowa has an update. The Des Moines Business Record reports that TEAM and Iowa Health System have announced a partnership for the Waukee data center. Iowa Health will use half of the data center space developed in the initial phase.

Bill Leaver, president and chief operating officer of IHS, says that as data management needs continue to grow, TEAM appears to be a "natural partner" that will best meet those needs, while allowing IHS to save capital for other investments, such as the purchase of clinical equipment that will directly benefit patients. "When we're dealing with millions of records every year that contain confidential and critical information, it requires the utmost care and expertise," Leaver said. "Iowa Health System and TEAM Technologies thoroughly and completely understand the responsibility associated with maintaining and managing this data. We don't take that lightly and never will."
Check out the Business Record article here

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cloud Computing Outages

A fair amount of press has been covering the recent Amazon S3 outages. I personally would re-iterate the words of Reuven Cohen - in that Amazon is pioneering some of this technology and really should not be so heavily criticized. The cloud market is still in its infancy and problems will be worked out now that make the cloud even stronger in the future. I have also become somewhat of a fan of Amazon CTO Werner Vogels. I think he has done some pretty amazing stuff at Amazon and the best is perhaps yet to come.

Jeff Feinman at Systems Management News has an excellent article on the recent Cloud outages, specifically at Amazon and Apple. Check it out here.

There was also a very good article on GigaOm about why the Enterprise is not ready to trust the cloud.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New 50MW Data Center for CRG West

CRG West announced today the development of an energy-efficient data center campus in Santa Clara , California. Expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2009 the 350,000 square-foot, 50 megawatt campus will be powered by Silicon Valley Power.

"At this campus CRG West will provide data-center and peering solutions to its customers along the continuum from single-cabinet colocation space through custom-built cages of any size up to blocks of wholesale data center space up to 20 MW. Additionally, CRG West can construct one of the planned buildings to meet the exact specifications of a single user for any corporation that wishes to design its data center but lease it rather than fund the up-front capital required to construct it."
The Bay area was ideal for CRG West because of the high demand, lower-cost power and densely populated peering opportunities. CRG West provides wholesale data center and retail colocation space, connectivity and and an Internet Peering Exchange.

TEAM Technologies to Build Data Center in Waukee

Cedar Falls, IA based TEAM Technologies is looking to build a $14 million data center in Waukee. This was published tonight on both WHO-TV and MSNBC. Waukee is a suburb of Des Moines on the far eastern edge of the city.

It looks like the data center will be built next to a MidAmerican power substation and the Waukee Mayor is excited to bring the server farm to his town.

Check out the WHO-TV article and video here

and the MSNBC article here.

Microsoft's Iowa Data Center

The suspense is killing me! I ran across this post from Des Moines' WHO TV station - Dave Price claims that Microsoft has been eyeing West Des Moines or Urbandale for the site selection.

I was in Des Moines / Urbandale this weekend. I really can't think that West Des Moines is going to be the site they select -- my guess is either Urbandale or Waukee.

If I don't go crazy first - I'll post here the second I hear anything!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cloud Computing Aritcles and Blogroll

Besides containers, my other recent fascination has been with cloud computing. Put another way (thanks to Gianpaolo Carrero) I am really in to nephology (the study of clouds). I'll have another Systems Management News article on the topic in the near future, but for now I thought I would list some of the articles that I have run across recently and my blogroll on the topic of clouds.


  • Zimory - This one REALLY intrigues me.....will have to read up on it more, but definitely check it out.
  • Amazon White Paper on Cloud Architectures and best practices of Amazon S3, EC2, SimpleDB and SQS

Blog Roll:

  • Dell - In the Clouds - Condensing ideas on the future of cloud computing

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Containers, Clouds and Rumors

There has certainly been a lot of news in the industry this week and although I haven't completely caught up yet (I'm attempting to take vacation this week), here is a quick run-down of what I have seen so far.....

  • First and foremost, my apologies for getting some figures wrong in my Systems Management News article. I said that Microsoft has 220 containers and 30,000 servers ; well, let's just say I need to stop writing articles so late at night. :) Going back to my own post of the AFCOM keynote that Michael Manos gave, at 1000 to 2000 systems per container it is more like 300,000 servers total.
  • There were a couple of good articles on Cloud Computing I ran across. The first one, from Douglas Gourlay at Cisco is a nice wrap-up of the hype-filled term and how it is really just a technology shift that is happening across many layers and industries. I agree that the term cloud doesn't really mean much today -- I think we'll look back in a few years and realize that things were really just getting moving in terms of true Cloud Computing. He mentions workload portability, which I have been intrigued with for a while and was why I followed Platespin, who was acquired by Novell back in February. Doug's mention of the fictional Skynet made me realize that Cisco is so good that aiming for clouds isn't enough - they are into outter space newtorking!
  • Another Cisco story this week is the press release about enhancements to IP over DWDM. I am still (somewhere in my spare time) trying to pursue my CCDA certification and DWDM technology is well..... pretty cool stuff. You should read the press release for yourself, but the main news is that they have doubled the reach of the CRS-1 40Gbps IPoDWDM to an industry leading 2,000 kilometers without regeneration.
  • The second cloud computing article was very interesting -- for some rumors! Reuven Cohen from Enomoly gossips about project "Red Dog" from Microsoft. I remember reading about this before (because of the Clifford the Big Red Dog reference). It's basically saying that this project is meant to be an "EC2 for Windows" cloud offering. The second rumor is that of a Chinese cloud project "under a hydro dam", which when complete may exceed a million servers. For whatever reason, my hunch is that Sun is involved in this.
That's all for now -- I've upgrade my Ipod Touch to version 2.0, so I am having fun with the AppStore. I'm still bummed that the National League lost the all-star game, but excited that next year it will be in St. Louis!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Systems Management News - Containers

My latest column at Systems Management News is out. I couldn't hold back any longer....I had to talk about containers. I could probably go 3 more columns worth on the topic, but I attempt to cover the major manufacturers who have come out with container products: Sun, Rackable, Verari, and IBM.

Check out the column here

Mariott Shifts Disaster Recovery to Iron Mountain

Mariott International has migrated their disaster recovery plan from a 3rd party contract to their own insourced Recovery and Development Center (RDC). The Mariott RDC will reside in Iron Mountain's 145 acre "underground city", about an hour north of Pittsburgh. The data center is 220 feet underground, is naturally cooled, and highly secure (i.e.: "various government entities" are there).

"John Morency, a research director at Gartner, says the need for quicker response and recovery times is driving many companies to weigh the cost of their existing contracts with external providers against the expense of doing the work internally. Plus, many IT staffs want added flexibility to manage and test their disaster recovery processes, rather than being subjected to the rigid time frames of many third-party agreements."

Mariott found that the cost of the 10 year colo deal was neutral to its existing agreement for disaster recovery. Because the ambient temperature of the mine is 55 to 60 degrees Mariott will be able to reduce energy consumption, as well as lower operating costs.

Now, if they could just make it so you load some container data centers into the mountain, we're set!

Check out the CIO case study here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lee Technologies - International Expansion

Lee Technologies International Service, Ltd. launched today; an Ireland based operation to service Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Additionally they announced a join venture with Ireland based Zenith Technologies, to form LZ Technologies, Ltd.

Surging fiber and infrastructure build-out required to deliver cloud computing is driving demand for mission-critical solutions providers with the capability to design, build and operate data centers and other mission-critical facilities on a global scale, said Lee Kirby, Vice President & GM, Lee Technologies, and the new head of LTSI. After providing mission-critical solutions to leading commercial enterprises and government agencies throughout North America for a quarter-century, LTSI represents a tremendous opportunity to extend our capabilities overseas.

Lee Technologies is an infrastructure solution provider for large enterprise and government organizations.

Check out the press release here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cedar Falls Data Center Helps Out Flood Victims

Just a quick link to a story about data centers and the 2008 Iowa Floods. The article shows how TEAM Technologies helped out the local utility company and Iowa Health System.

Iowa Health, which operates 11 hospitals and 135 clinics across the state, stored some of its critical data in a building in downtown Cedar Rapids, but also duplicate data stored at Team Technologies, said Jim Mormann, vice president and chief information officer at Iowa Health.

"We called Team when we knew our building in Cedar Rapids was going to flood," Mormann said. "We moved 130 servers from the basement of our office in downtown Cedar Rapids to the Team data center in Cedar Falls. It was quite the effort, but our servers were running again within 12 hours thanks to the staff at Team."
Check out the Waterloo / Cedar Falls Courier article here.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Huge DNS Vulnerability

Dan Kaminsky from IO Active revealed a Huge vulnerability in DNS today. He noted that it was a DNS Cache poisoning attack and is effective against all major DNS servers. Since DNS is the glue of the internet, this vulnerability is a BIG one. Most major vendors have supplied patches already.

Check out the rest of the information here:

US Cert Vulnerability Note VU#800113
Systems Management News article
Cnet article
InformationWeek article

Monday, July 07, 2008

Data Center Cabling

Just a quick link to a story about cabling -- I know, pretty basic stuff, but this article has some good reminders of the basics and cabling is a big part of any data center I have ever seen. The article also quotes a contractor working on the mammoth Terremark NAP of the Capitol Region data center in Culpepper, Virginia.

Check out the Government Computer News article here

Sunday, July 06, 2008

$10B in Loan Gurarantees for Renewable Energy

The data center industry should be all over this one. The U.S. Department of Energy announced a solicitation for up to $10 billion in Federal loan guarantees for renewable energy and efficiency projects.
“Loan guarantees from the Department will enable project developers to bridge the financing gap between pilot and demonstration projects to full commercially viable projects that employ new or significantly improved energy technologies,” said Jeffrey Kupfer, the Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy.
Check out the complete article on the site that is becoming a regular stop for me -

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Three P's of Disaster Recovery

Just a quick link out to my latest column in Systems Management News -- this issue covers some basics on Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning. I wrote this column after the EF5 Tornado that came all too close to where I live, but before the Iowa Floods.

Check out the article here.

Microsoft Site Selection: Des Moines, Iowa

As many sites have already reported -- Microsoft has announced that it is the Greater Des Moines area that is under consideration for building their data center. I've always wondered if the surrounding towns of Ankeny or Waukee would be a good place for a data center.

The news was all over today, but check it out at Data Center Knowledge, the Seattle Times, Des Moines Register (complete with usual bickering about taxes) and Tech Hermit.