Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Data Center Design

As I read the Pingdom article about "8 ways to make data centers less boring"....I recalled a TED talk I watched recently. The talk was from Don Norman, and I later learned that it was a speech from 2003! Anyway, it was a Really good talk and made me think about the overall design of a data center and how it makes you feel when seeing it.

I work in the colo industry, so we have to sell the data center as a product and after listening to Don Norman I can see how design, architecture and a number of other details effect how the data center is experienced by customers and employees alike.

Even the companies making data center containers today pay attention to the outside colors, layout of racks and shiny metal curves inside. Functionality, efficiency and cost will always trump .... because utlimately the data center has a sole purpose.....but why not put the little bit of effort into the principles that Don talks about and make it even better.

Check out Don's TED Talk here

P.S.: The 2008 talk from Mike Rowe (host of Dirty Jobs) is still by FAR the best one I have seen.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Links - March 30, 2009

LOTS of news today, and not much time, so here you go.....

NYT: Rackable vows to outlast price war with Dell. Interesting story about Rackable and their history and strategy against Dell. I like Rackable....I don't think they are the right solution for 'everyone', but there is a lot of potential.

Rackable, along with Intel, Netapp and Akamai have probably bought a few steak dinners for Facebook executives lately. Data Center Knowledge reported today about them seeking up to $100 million to expand data centers. To compliment that post and the Businessweek article, I found these interesting:
  • Niall Kennedy has a very nice write-up with an amazing amount of detail about Facebook operations, user stats and data centers.
  • Fool.com also has a nice commentary about the TriplePoint Capital conversations and overall troubled state of banks with tech companies.
At the Intel Xeon 5500 launch today, Intel also announced a Data Center Efficiency challenge. It should be interesting to see what people submit for videos. Check out the Facebook page with contest rules and details here.

I can just feel the momentum going for container data centers.... and apparently CRG West gets it also. Data Center Knowledge reports on a partnership with CRG West and HP to deploy the HP POD container. Very cool stuff. Check out the press release here.

"Data Center Fabric" is fast becoming a big term for 2009. Juniper Networks outlined their vision and strategy today for the next generation data center fabric. David Yen's blog at Juniper also has some details on project 'Stratus' .... here.

"PFB Seeks 40 million pounds in Data Center Financing" . If my currency conversion is correct, that's about $57 million. Pinder Fry and Benjamin is a London-based real estate firm with an interesting data center investment portfolio. The Data Center Dynamics article states that "The company said this third round of funding would be used to invest in the sites to which it has already committed and new data center investments." The March 9 Offer Summary can be found here.

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake hit the bay area this morning -- about 16 miles east of San Jose. The interesting thing was that a new fault was discovered. No major damage was reported. Lots of tweets surrounded the event this morning as well. No news or impact on data centers that I have read about yet.

Check out the Phase 2 notes from Michael J. Morris on his data center project - with networking based on the Cisco Nexus-series line. It sounds like a very fun project

Finally -- this is an Iowa blog, so I have to say GO Gov. Culver Go! :) Governer Culver announced he had a positive, productive meeting with Microsoft today. The status of the West Des Moines data center hasn't changed, but at least it isn't cancelled. I am still SUPER curious to see if the Iowa facility will be the test bed for their 4th generation design.

5 days, 19 hours and 12 minutes until opening night of Baseball!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

GE 750kVA SG Series Digital Energy UPS

Yesterday GE Digital Energy (a division of General Electric) announced that its 750kVA SG Series Digital Energy UPS has been certified as an Ecoimagination product.

“As the IT industry’s demand for data storage grows significantly each year, so does the amount of energy needed to run servers and data centers,” said Larry Sollecito, President and CEO, GE Digital Energy. “GE’s investment in more energy efficient UPS technology helps data centers achieve a high level of energy efficiency without sacrificing high power capacity or reliability. A number of large data centers have already placed orders for the highly efficient 750kVA UPS.”
I'm going to have to look at this UPS a little closer. The press release touts some impressive cost savings figures.

Check out the press release here

and the product page here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Links

Just some quick links to things I found on the net today -- no time to comment; just things I found to be interesting.....

Check out the drawing in this IEEE Spectrum article. It looks like another approach to the Microsoft 4th Generation data center (outdoor container park)! The article is good also --- although it is kind of a summary of what has gone on the last 6-12 months....nothing new.

Power Grid Found Susceptible. I'm a big fan of SmartGrids, but like anything else they need to be EXTREMELY careful with this. Security firm IOActive is offering the security lesson....maybe a few rants from Christopher Hoff would help as well.

Just to show I'm not a complete Cisco fan-boy.... Force10 announced some big iron today. They unveiled a new line of switches and routers "designed to improve the performance, management and cost effectiveness of virtualized data center and cloud computing environments." Pretty cool stuff from an initial quick glance.

As many of you know, I blog from Iowa and simply can NOT escape the stupid stereotype about farmers. I've worked on a few IT projects in the past that were for, or benefited farmers, and so I thought this was interesting..... it's a map showing broadband in america -- percentage of farmers with high speed internet.

March 19 announcement from Rackable: "The CloudRack C2 servers can run at 104 degrees inside the data center, and they offload power supply to the rack to reduce energy wasted in converting AC electricity from the wall to DC electricity used by the box to 1 percent"

I'm usually on the same page as Om Malik.... but have to disagree with him on this one. He thinks Cisco should buy Sun, not IBM.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Peak 10 Unveils Tampa Bay Data Center

On Friday Charlotte based data center operator Peak 10 announced the opening of its second world-class data center, located in Tampa, Florida. The 15,400 square foot facility will bring their total footprint to more than 30,000 square feet.
"Like all Peak 10 facilities, the new Tampa data center is engineered with multiple levels of security, uninterruptible power, HVAC systems, fire suppression and around-the-clock monitoring and management. It is SAS70 Type II compliant and interconnected with Peak 10’s private network, which provides customers the advantage of highly available Internet access and the ability to leverage data centers in eight other markets in implementing disaster recovery solutions."

Check out the press release here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Verari Article: "Greening the Internet"

Just a quick link to an article I liked about Verari Systems, maker of the FOREST data center container. It was on the Xconomy | San Diego site and is an interview with two execs from Verari. The article discusses gree technologis, efficiencies, financial aspects of containers and overall energy-saving approaches.

Check it out here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

AST-Global Data Center Container

Data Center Knowledge had an interesting article today on the AST-Global data center container, displayed at CeBIT. Does anyone know what the tie is between AST and IBM (i.e.: the IBM PMDC container is made by AST, or the AST container is made by IBM)?

I did a search for AST-Global, not being very familiar with them and found an interesting Power Point presentation by Pablo Fernandez of AST. Slide 53 is interesting... "The future is MOBILE" and then he lists how containers are better than traditional data centers: "Short term projects, disaster recovery, remote locations, hostile environments, space limitations and expensive real-estate".

Slide 55 goes on to talk about the "PMDC Data Center Park". This is an entire data center park, built with multi-PMDCs -- no building, just concrete slab. This of course made me think of the Microsoft 4th Generation data center concept from Michael Manos back in December last year.

Scalability and mobility, along with protection and potential efficiency gains are really making the case for data center containers. I never thought I would list 'mobility' as an attractive feature of a data center, but it is growing on me. After a phone call I had today discussing containers, I think I will sit down and really pour through the container offerings from IBM, HP, Sun, Dell, Rackable, Verari and others. It may not be the solution for every need or company, but I think (at this stage) there is definately more to it than what I am seeing.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Data Center Stocks

Remember the part about the economy getting worse before it gets better? Well.... the data center stock index I started back in October continues to set new lows. Today's value was $16.41. I also started tracking 4 colocation companies in a separate index; Equinix, Terremark, Savvis and Switch and Data. Here are my Google Spreadsheet charts for those indexes:

DataCenter Stock Index

Colocation Stock Index

Forbes reported today that Google and Cisco are being eyed as possible Dow candidates. Cisco is getting almost as good as Apple at creating a buz on the net. Eweek reports that Cisco is planning to unveil a new data center strategy on March 16. Much of the speculation was about their new servers, potentially equipped with VMWare software.

"The company would not disclose details of the March 16 announcements on Monday, but a spokeswoman acknowledged that the event would be related to the
speculation. Chief Executive John Chambers and other Cisco executives will
unveil new technology and partnerships, Cisco said."

Speaking of creating a buzz.....I think this video at the Onion is perhaps the funniest one they have done in some time (and they do some funny stuff!).

Finally -- listen to the master investor for a good big picture on the economy and where we are going ; Warren Buffet talks on CNBC.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Updated Blogroll

Since most of my blog activity lately is 'reading' them instead of posting to my own, I thought I would update my blogroll. Check it out on the right column a little ways down ----->

I also wanted to say Happy Friday with a video (below) I found on Steve Clayton's blog.

Absolutely hilarious!!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Misc. Tech News - March 1, 2009

34 days and 20 hours left until the opening night of Major League Baseball!

Outside of the fun little newspaper generator mentioned above, I ran across a number of interesting stories this weekend....

  • The Data Center Pulse Summit presentations and videos have been graciously posted on their site. There are a number of interesting things mentioned here. NetworkWorld also has a nice write-up of the Top 10 Industry Requests generated at the summit.

  • Intel and Microsoft are flexing their muscle when it comes to innovation in the current recession. Microsoft recently had their annual TechFest event to showcase what Microsoft Research had been up to. Slide 13 shows the low powered processors we all heard about recently. Intel Research Laboratories have also been up to quite a bit lately. Wireless Power technology, numerous uses for RFID and robotics were displayed -- check out the full story here.

Intel and Samsung are going at it in the Solid-state Disk market. Check out this ComputerWorld article : Samsung's 256GB SSD Offers Capacity, Speed

Several weeks back the TED 2009 Conference was held -- if you haven't checked out the videos from that yet, I Highly recommend it. Also interesting at this conference was the launch of Singularity University - "Preparing Humanity for Accelerating Technological Change". With backers like Google, NASA and Ray Kurzweil, how can this NOT be cool!!

At the VMWorld Europe conference VMWare showed off its MVP (Mobile Virtualization Platform). Basically -- it would give you the ability to run multiple operating systems on your portable device. Sounds like some pretty cool stuff here.

Finally -- it is always fun to see creative help wanted ads : check this one out.