Saturday, January 31, 2009

Intel's Avalanche Photodetector

I don't know if I would have guess this one, but Intel, as apparent to this site / press release I found is set to be a force in the optical switching market. Last December they announced their advancements in Silicon Photonics with the Avalanche Photodetector (APD).

"Intel Labs researchers have made another advance in the field of Silicon Photonics by achieving world-record performance using a silicon-based Avalanche Photodetector (APD) that could lower costs and improve performance as compared to commercially available optical devices. "
I ran across this story here, but then read more at the official Intel page for Silicon Photonics. Another nice blog post on a 200 Gbps silicon photonic integrated chip can be found here.

HP POD Container Video

I ran across this HP video for a second time, and so I thought that surely meant I should put it on the blog. It is Wade Vinson, HP's Power and Cooling Strategist and HP POD Architect.

It's a nice look at the POD (Performance-Optimized Data center) from an engineering stand point.

Also -- Don't forget the video Data Center Knowledge took late last year at the Gartner conference.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

IBM Smart Grid

Just a quick link to a really nice article over at Cleantech. It's about the $819 Billion Stimulus plan that was passed and how there is a lot of money included for smart grid technology. Cleantech interviewed Drew Clark, Director of Strategy for IBM's Venture Capital Group.

One of the companies mentioned, SynapSense makes some pretty cool products for the data center. They were honored by the DOE last fall for their innovative approach to saving energy in the data center. They have a LiveImaging product that provides thermal, pressure and humidity mapping using 3D, real-time data at multiple levels of your data center. SyanpSense will be at the Green Grid Technical Forum in San Jose Feb. 3 - 4.

Check out the Cleantech article here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday Links

Lots of little things that I thought I would quickly blog about..... data center news has been pretty heavy lately and I'm just catching up.

  • My data center stock index was up today almost a whole dollar from the previous day. I started it back in October, so I thought I would finally make a graph just to show the ride it has taken since then. It closed today at $19.48.

  • This is a month old now, but I still found it pretty interesting -- "Why IT Colocation Centers will see a boom in 2009 despite the Macroeconomy".
  • Anyone looking for a project plan for building a data center -- here is a good read, plus a benchmark against one of the best: Digital Realty Trust.
  • I was pretty bummed about the news that Microsoft is postponing the West Des Moines data center. However.... it is just 'postponing' it, not scrapping it. I guess we'll just have to be patient.
  • Finally -- I thought I would share a bit of humor -- as a fan of The Matrix trilogy, I thought this video was pretty funny: The Matrix Runs on Windows

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Colocation Crisis?

CIO Magazine blogger Michael Bullock proclaims "Data Center Colocation Crisis: Act Now or Pay Later". While I liked his article, I'm not sure I totally agree. Now....I don't have access to all of the analyst opinions and statistics that might sway me to think differently, but....

The one thing that I do certainly agree with is that if a company is looking for colo space, NOW is the time to get it. He mentions rapidly rising prices in England and New York and that the 3 things driving the coming storm are shrinking supply, increased demand, and infrastructure limitations. He continues with some nice pointers if a company wants to build their own facility and hits a little bit on my favorite topic: Data Center site selection.

Check out the article here

Omaha Wind Power

Just a quick link to a story about the Omaha Public Power District announcing a new initiative aimed at increasing renewable energy. The goal is to have 10% of its electricity produced by renewable energy sources by the year 2020 - mostly wind power. The green initiatives by OPPD and Nebraska will help to lure in companies, such as Yahoo, who is building a data center in La Vista, NE.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cisco Cisco Cisco!

Cisco Cisco Cisco!!! ....said in the tone of a Brady Bunch "Marsha Marsha Marsha!"

Cisco certainly has had the spot light for some time now and certainly shows no sign of slowing down. Many have stated that economic recessions will foster tremendous innovation, and I think John Chambers got a head start on that in 2008. 2009 is full-steam ahead. They recently announced that they were venturing outside of their core market, by entering the server market (NY Times | SF Gate).

I honestly don't know what to think of the announcement just yet. I don't think IBM, HP and Dell will be as upset as some are making it out to be, but it will be interesting to watch. Chambers mentioned at C-Scape that their 2009 acquisitions will be scrutinized a little more and there may not be as many executed as in years past. With $26 Billion to spend, there are plenty of options:

1. EMC - I just don't think so. It's been analyzed and blogged to death, but I just don't see it.
2. Sun Microsystems? -- Maybe; but if I had to guess, I don't think that would happen.
3. Netapp? possibly. MarketCap is $4.49B and if Cisco makes 4 or 5 acquisitions this year that could be a good fit. Very solid company, large customer base (many Internet companies as well), and Cisco has pushed storage networking technologies for some time.
4. Rackable? With a MarketCap of $116.57 Million it is pocket change for Cisco, but could work. In the Unified Computing blog post Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrier talks about eliminating "manual integration" and I wonder containers are in the picture somewhere. Purchasing Rackable would give Cisco the commodity hardware for their servers and the ICECube to package their servers, storage and network gear into.

Padmasree mentions "open standards" a few times. I wonder if we'll see some announcement with Cisco and Eucalyptus - the open source cloud computing solution. I would hypothesize about a cloud computing company acquisition, but there are too many think of at this late hour. To me, the smart move would be to buy a company that specializes in cloud computing / virtualization security.

Padmasree Warrior may have a new job soon though -- as she is one of two candidates for the first U.S. CTO position.

Monday, January 19, 2009

GreenTech 2009

I didn't make any predictions for 2009, but a some what obvious one is that renewable energy sources and Green technology for the data center should certainly have a good year. I have a number of items I have been saving up for GreenTech and the data center that I found to be pretty interesting:
  • This quick announcement should impact data centers in 2009: ASHRAE and an alphabet soup of other groups are forming a consortium to advise the DOE on high-performance building issues.
  • There was an interesting article about pressure in gas pipe lines to power London. A UK startup works with National Grid to generate 20 MW using 'geo-pressure' by 2010.
  • Last Wednesday it was announced that the DOE invested $6 Million to address the technical challenges of wind development and market acceptance barriers.
  • This weekend Intel unveiled its first solar electric installation in New Mexico. They hope the "array will demonstrate the potential to power such things as data centers." There was also a mention of containerized data centers:
    "He also said experiments will be done under the solar array with containerized data centers, in which computers are racked inside a tractor-trailer rig-size container. For example, a filmmaker might want to have a computer graphics system on site during a shoot, Miner said."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Containers, The Economy and Telecom

OK-- bad title maybe, but I wanted to avoid the "Tuesday Links" vagueness.

Containers -- for anyone that has followed this blog for a while knows, I am fascinated by containers. Initially I just couldn't figure it out, but through Sun, Rackable and Michael Manos I am fully on board now. Although..... now I am racking my brain for the non Microsoft / Fortune 200 idea that makes the container solution applicable to the rest of us. More on that later.

The video that Data Center Knowledge posted last week was really excellent. I watched the full hour and appreciated the knowledge and insight provided. My highlights/comments:
  • It was interesting to see some new things come into the site selection and data center equation: jurisdiction for placing containers and the classification of the space. Daniel Costello from Microsoft noted that they were able to classify theirs as "unoccupied spaces".
  • Focus can shift quickly to container solutions for the rest of the infrastructure as well -- what about the emergency need to ship a container somewhere and have an equally quickly deployed power solution available? (i.e.: Active Power)
  • The one thing that would have been hilarious (to me) for an audience member to ask is what the panel thought about putting containers on cargo ships. :)

The Economy -- All eyes are on the economy now days and President-elect Obama's plans in the making. I personally think the data center industry is going to pull through the recession just fine and GreenTech within data centers should really blossom in 2009. I ran across a video from Financial Times that I thought was interesting; it compares the worst bear markets in history and how they were punctuated by rallies that made a lot of money for those lucky enough to time them correctly. Global Crossing also had an interesting blog post recently about Stimulating Ideas - commentary about telecom investment ideas from Paul Kouroupas. There was also a nice story early last week in the New York Times about Venture Capitalists and how innovation will continue to drive the technology industry out of the recession. The last paragraph is especially interesting:

“Cisco was founded two weeks before a stock market crash. Oracle was founded during the Reagan recession,” Mr. Holland said. “In bad times, that’s when the best opportunities come up."

Telecom -- Level3 is off to a good start in 2009. Rob Powell at the Telecom Ramblings blog speculates why they have been doing so well. Fourth quarter and full year 2008 results are set to be released on February 11th. If my math is correct 4 VPs and the CEO of Level3 sold 23,265 shares January 5th.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January Cloud Report

I promised myself I wasn't going to make any more blog posts about cloud computing. Hopefully my New Years resolutions will last longer.

I really don't want to get into the topic too deeply, but it is the cause for me not making any blog posts most of this past week! I have been too busy reading other blogs and thoughts & videos on clouds!

Here is what I do believe on the topic:
  1. Cloud Computing is still around 60+ percent marketing hype.
  2. I believe about 60+ percent of the article Chuck Goolsbee wrote on clouds.
  3. I think 2008 over-hyped the cloud, but 2009 and the economy have a chance to filter out the fluff and leave the companies and technologies that truly have a chance to make a difference.
  4. I believe the post from Irving Wladawsky-Berger is (still) a very good definition/discussion of cloud computing.
  5. I think the security aspect of virtualization and cloud computing needs some serious attention (i.e.: well.... i.e. most everything Christofer Hoff points out)
I never wanted to do the typical 'definition' of cloud computing, because it seemed so much beyond a simplistic definition. However.... I ran across a video that I have to admit does a pretty decent job. The convergence of 3 things: virtualization, utility computing, and Software as a Service.

Anyway .... I really don't want to offer anymore commentary; because what I have been so busy reading the past few days is pretty interesting to follow. Here is the path I took:
  1. GoGrid Blog -- CloudCenters
  2. Michael Sheehan's response to the Chuck Goolsbee article on
  3. Silicon Alley Insider: once again proving that 'Cloud' and 'Internet' are synonymous.
  4. The Wikipedia page for Cloud Computing: proving that it is an amazingly broad concept.
  5. Thinking out Cloud: commentary from Geva Perry on appropriate use and analysis of CapEx and OpEx in infrastructure comparisons. I really liked this one.
  6. James Urqhart -- further commentary on Amazon AWS, GoGrid and IaaS.
"IF" I post any more on Cloud Computing I am going to limit it to the data center aspect only.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 Data Center Statistics

A lot of people reference statistics this time of year. Many will cite Tier1, Forrester, or Gartner...... me; I'll cite the only thing I have access to: Google. Google Zeitgeist is always interesting to look at and is usually a pretty good indication of what happened throughout the year. Here are some other random statistics that pretty much speak for themselves. Meaningful? Maybe. Maybe not.

First - the "data center" vs. "data centre" in Google Trends (shows a trend of how often the term is searched in Google).
Next - Google and Microsoft data center projects were both big 2008 stories; here is how they compared in Google Trends:
Proof that Google has ALL of our personal search data, they have at least let us look into the aggregated data with Google Insight for Search. For instance, here is the chart and data for the category of "networking equipment" -- showing that 'cisco', 'router', and 'wireless' were the top 3 search terms in that category.

An Insight search for the term "data center" shows that Pakistan, India and Singapore are searching for that term the most. Equally interesting is the data for just the U.S. that shows top regional interest for "data center" coming from South Dakota!

Finally - here is a look at Equinix, Savvis and Terremark in 2008 U.S. Web search Volume.

One To Watch: Digital Realty Trust

Raymond James' financial advisors has released their 2009 "Analysts' Best Picks". These 15 stocks are expected to produce superior overall results during the upcoming year. Digital Realty Trust made the list for 2009 and I personally agree that they should have a pretty good year. I think it might be a slow start however with the current economy and then really shine later in 2009.

Check out the press release here, and an article with the stocks listed here.

A look at 2008 for Digital Realty Trust (DLR) is below.