Posted by: John Savageau in Untagged on
Oct 31, 2009
Now that we have determined the best geographic location for our data center, it is time to evaluate local facility options. The business concept of industry clustering is valid in the data center industry. In most locations supporting carrier hotels and Internet Exchange Points you will normally see a large number of data centers within a very close proximity, offering a variety of options, and a maze of confusing pitches from aggressive sales people.
The idea of industry clustering says that whenever a certain industry, such as an automobile manufacturer selects a location to build a factory or assembly plant, others in the industry will eventually locate nearby. This is due to a number of factors including the availability of skilled workers within that industry, favorable city support for zoning, access to utilities, and proximity to supporting infrastructure such as ocean ports, rail, population centers, and communications.
The data center industry has evolved in a similar model. When you look at locations supporting large carrier hotels, such as Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, London, and New York, you will also see there are many options for data centers in the local area. For example in Los Angeles, the One Wilshire Building is a large carrier hotel with collocation space within the building, however there are at many options within a very close proximity to One Wilshire, such as Carrier Center (600 W. 7th), 818 W.7th St., the Garland Building, 530 W. 6th, the Quinby Building, and several others.
Posted by: John Savageau in data center on
Oct 29, 2009
Data center selection is an exercise in compromise. Everybody would like to have the best of all worlds, with a highly connected facility offering 24x7 smart hands support, impenetrable security, protection from all natural and man-made disasters, in addition to service level agreements offering 5-Nines power availability at $.03/kW. Not likely we will be able to hit all those desired features in any single facility.
Data center operators price their facilities and colocation based on several factors:
- Cost of real estate in their market
- Cost of power and utilities in their market
- Competition in their market
- Level of service offered (including power, interconnections, etc)
- Quality of facility (security, power density, infrastructure, etc)
Networks, Content Providers, Enterprises, and Eyeballs
Posted by: John Savageau in data center on
Oct 28, 2009
The data center industry continues to evolve with mergers, acquisitions, and a healthy crop of emerging companies. New data center products and services are hitting the street, an aggressive debate on the model of selling space vs. power, and alternatives to physical data center space in the cloud are giving us a confusing maze of alternatives to meet our outsourcing needs.
The data center market is not unique. For example, in Southern California we have a wide variety of supermarkets and grocery stores including VONs, Ralphs, Albertsons, Jons, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and lots of others. All grocery stores basically sell the same kinds of products, with very few exceptions.
What makes you go to VONs, rather than Whole Foods? Is it location? Prices? Image? A social issue?
The FCC finally moved the network neutrality debate forward Thursday, voting to begin developing open Internet regulations. The topic has become quite interesting over the past week, as strong-willed proponents and opponents of net neutrality turn up campaigns to influence law makers prior to voting on any net neutrality principles that may become law.
The debate is actually quite simple - should the government regulate, or not regulate the Internet? That discussion revolves around the six principles of network neutrality proposed by the FCC:
Under the draft proposed rules, subject to reasonable network management, a provider of broadband Internet access service:
The Station Fire ripped through communities along the northern rim of Los Angeles in August and September, consuming an area more than 160,000 acres. Evacuations came with little or no warning, homes and buildings lost, and the entire ordeal put a tremendous strain on utilities and resources. Including water.
When the city of Glendale needed to quickly alert residents to lower their water and power use to enable fire fighters to gain access to critical resources, they turned to a local company, Everbridge, to reach citizens with real-time notifications alerting them to the emergency.
On Thursday night Marc Ladin, VP of Global Marketing at Everbridge, walked CTC members though an introduction to emergency and incident communications management.
Posted by: John Savageau in ssd, green data center on
Oct 20, 2009
For those of us old-timers who muscled 9-track tapes on 10 ft tall Burroughs B-3500 mainframe computer tape drives, with a total storage capacity of about 5 kilobytes, the idea of sticking a 64 gigabyte SD memory chip into my laptop computer is pretty cosmic.
Terms like PCAM (punch card adding machines) are no longer part of the taxonomy of information technology, nor would any young person in the industry comprehend the idea of a disk platter or disk pack.
Skipping a bit ahead, we find a time when you could purchase an IBM "XT" computer with an integrated 10 megabyte hard drive. No more reliance on 5.25" or later 3.5" floppy disks. Hard drives evolved to the point "Fryes" will pitch you a USB or home network 1 terabyte drive for about $100.
"If everyone purchasing a room air conditioner in 2009 chooses an ENERGY STAR qualified model, it would save 390 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. That would prevent more than 600 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year-equivalent to taking more than 50,000 cars off the road-and save consumers over $43 million each year in energy bills." (Pickens Plan Fact of the Day, 8 Oct 09)
California has always prided itself as being a leader in alternative energy innovation. Driving through the hills around Livermore, Palm Springs, or between San Diego and Yuma bring skylines full of wind turbines. The California Energy Commission claims that wind turbines generated 6,802 gigawatt-hours of electricity - about 2.3 percent of the state's gross system power. By the end of 2009 California actually expects to hit nearly 5% energy production from renewable sources.
While the wind turbine program has slowed down a bit due to animal rights groups objecting to bird casualties due to propeller strikes, California has not slowed down at all in the state's aggressive goals for green energy production. While it is probably a bit too aggressive, California's Energy Commission has set a goal of hitting 20% by the end of 2010 (Senate Bill 107), and 33% by the end of 2020 (Executive Order S-14-08).
Data Center "X" just announced a 2 MegaWatt expansion to their facility in Northern California. A major increase in data center capacity, and a source of great joy for the company. And the source of potentially 714 additional tons of carbon introduced each month into the environment.
Many groups and organizations are gathering to address the need to bring our data centers under control. Some are focused on providing marketing value for their members, most others appear genuinely concerned with the amount of power being consumed within data centers, the amount of carbon being produced by data centers, and the potential for using alternative or clean energy initiatives within data centers. There are stories around which claim the data center industry is actually using up to 5% of power consumed within the United States, which if true, makes this a really important discussion.
If you do a "Bing" search won the topic of "green data center," you will find around 144 million results. Three times as many as a "paris hilton" search. That makes it a fairly saturated topic, indicating a heck of a lot of interest. The first page of the Bing search gives you a mixture of commercial companies, blogs, and "ezines" covering the topic - as well as an organization or two. Some highlights include:
A 40 year old building with much of the original mechanical and electrical infrastructure. A 40 year old 4000 amp, 480 volt aluminum electrical buss duct, which had been modified and "tapped" often during its life, with much of the work done violating equipment specifications.
With the old materials such as buss insulation gradually deteriorating, the duct expanding and contracting over the years, the fact aluminum was used during the initial installation to either save money or test a new technology vision - it all becomes a risk. A risk of buss failure, or at worst a buss failing to the point it results in a massive electrical explosion.
Sound extreme? Now add a couple of additional factors. The building is a mixed use-telecom carrier hotel, with additional space used for commercial collocation and standard commercial office space. This narrows it down to most of the carrier hotel facilities in the US and Europe. Old buildings, converted to mixed-use carrier hotel and collocation facilities, due mainly to an abundance of vacant space during the mid-1990s, and a need for telecom interconnection space following the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
An employee enters the meet-me-room at a major carrier hotel in Los Angeles, New York, or Miami. He is a young guy recently graduated from high school, hired to do cable removal for circuit disconnects at minimum wage. Although young, he has a wife and child, and has recently been fighting with in-laws over his ability to support a family. Frustration and anger overcome his emotions, and he turns to the ladder rack jammed with cable and starts hammering at the cables for all he is worth.
Network operations centers around the world see circuits dropping, and customers with critical financial, military, Internet, and broadcast news services are shut down. In the space of about one minute our young employee has taken down several thousand individual circuits, creating near chaos in the global telecommunications community.
In their report on Trusted Access to Communications Infrastructure, the NSTAC Vulnerabilities Task Force advises ""it is important to recognize that any one individual with malicious intent accessing any critical telecommunications facility could represent a threat. The threat of insiders performing malicious acts also transcends each type of site discussed in this document."