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    Thursday
    Feb042010

    Are Cloud Computing Data Centers Green? IBM announces its greenest Cloud Computing DC in North Carolina

    I’ve been writing about cloud computing more as cloud computings are more efficient using less resources.  Here is IBM’s latest press release that demonstrates cloud computing is green.

    The data center uses advanced software virtualization technologies that enable access to information and services from any device with extremely high levels of availability and quality of experience.  The facility aggressively conserves energy resources; saving cost and speeding services deployment through a smart management approach that links equipment, building systems and data center operations.

    “I thank IBM for its continued commitment to North Carolina. This facility promises to be one of IBM's greenest data centers in the world, proving once again that green is gold for North Carolina,” Gov. Bev Perdue said. “Growing North Carolina’s green economy plays a critical role in my mission to create jobs and to ensure our state’s economy is poised to be globally competitive in the long term.”

    As I’ve discussed the ideas working with University of Missouri, IBM has taken the same approach working with North Carolina Universities.

    The data center is showcasing a cloud computing solution in partnership with North Carolina Central University (NCCU) and NC State University that enables Hillside New Tech High School students in Durham, NC to access educational materials and software applications for the classroom over the Internet from the high school’s computer lab, as well as from any networked device.  This means that the learning environment can be extended to nearly any place at any time without the restrictions many schools face such as limited support, hardware resources and lack of access. The Hillside outreach project with NCCU, using cloud computing as a vehicle in support of education, is one of several such K-12 projects that IBM supports.  The new data center also currently hosts IBM’s global web site, ibm.com, and the IT operations of strategic outsourcing clients such as the United States Golf Association (USGA).

    The green features are listed here.


    • Smarter data center management:
        Thousands of sensors, connecting IT equipment, data center and building automation systems, provide data that can be analyzed to plan future capacity planning, conserve energy and maintain operations in the event of a power outage.
    • Energy efficiency: The data center uses half the energy cost to operate compared to data centers of similar size by taking advantage of free cooling – using the outside air to cool the data center.  Intelligent systems use sensors to continuously read temperature and relative humidity throughout the data center and dynamically adjust cooling in response to changes in demand.
    • Cloud computing capability:  Support for cloud computing workloads allow clients to use only the resources necessary to support their IT operations at any given moment - eliminating the need for up to 70 percent of the hardware resource that might have been previously needed to perform the same task. The data center also hosts recently announced “Smart Business” cloud computing offerings - each of these solutions can significantly reduce a clients total cost of ownership by up to 40 percent.
    • Built for expansion: Due to an innovative modular design method, IBM will be able to add significant future capacity in nearly half the time it would take traditional data centers to expand.  This design/build method – called IBM Enterprise Modular Data Center  (IBM EMDC) – also enables IBM to rapidly scale capacity to meet demand by adding future space, power, and cooling to the data center with no disruption to existing operations.  This means up to 40 percent of capital costs and up to 50 percent of operational costs may be deferred until client demand necessitates expansion.  The new data center can also quickly and seamlessly expand its power and cooling capacity.
    • New building standards: IBM started building the data center in August 2008 and it began to support client operations within 15 months compared to the industry benchmark of 18-24 months.

    In constructing the new data center, IBM renovated an existing building on its Research Triangle Park campus by reusing 95 percent of the original building's shell, recycling 90 percent of the materials from the original building and ensuring that 20 percent of newly purchased material came from recycled products.  The result lowered costs and reduced the carbon footprint associated with building by nearly 50 percent allowing IBM to apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Feb042010

    Air Force and IBM partner to prove Cloud Computing works for Defense and Intelligence services

    One of the top concerns about Cloud Computing is security of the data in the cloud.  IBM has a press announcement on the partnership here.

    U.S. Air Force Selects IBM to Design and Demonstrate Mission-Oriented Cloud Architecture for Cyber Security

    Cloud model will introduce advanced cyber security and analytics technologies capable of protecting sensitive national data

    ARMONK, N.Y. - 04 Feb 2010: The U.S. Air Force has awarded IBM (NYSE:IBM) a contract to design and demonstrate a secure cloud computing infrastructure capable of supporting defense and intelligence networks. The ten-month project will introduce advanced cyber security and analytics technologies developed by IBM Research into the cloud architecture.

    There are press articles too.

    CNet News

    Air Force taps IBM for secure cloud

    by Lance Whitney

    IBM has a tall order from the U.S. Air Force--create a cloud network that can protect national defense and military data.

    Big Blue announced Thursday a contract from the Air Force to design and demonstrate a cloud computing environment for the USAF's network of nine command centers, 100 military bases, and 700,000 personnel around the world.

    The challenge for IBM will be to develop a cloud that can not only support such a massive network, but also meet the strict security standards of the Air Force and the U.S. government. The project will call on the company to use advanced cybersecurity technologies that have been developed at IBM Research.

    and Government Computer News.

    What I find interesting is how few authors reference the IBM press release.  The goal of the project is a technical demonstration.

    "Our goal is to demonstrate how cloud computing can be a tool to enable our Air Force to manage, monitor and secure the information flowing through our network," said Lieutenant General William Lord, Chief Information Officer and Chief, Warfighting Integration, for the U.S. Air Force. "We examined the expertise of IBM's commercial performance in cloud computing and asked them to develop an architecture that could lead to improved performance within the Air Force environment to improve all operational, analytical and security capabilities."

    Which is cut and pasted into the CNet news article as well.

    On the other hand, there are some good insights by Larry Dignan on his ZDnet blog.

    What’s in it for IBM? Cloud computing has a lot of interest, but security remains a worry for many IT buyers. If Big Blue can demonstrate cloud-based cyber security technologies that’s good enough for the military it would allay a lot of those worries.

    The advanced cyber security and analytics technologies that will be used in the Air Force project were developed by IBM Research (statement).

    According to IBM the project will show a cloud computing architecture that can support large networks and meet the government’s security guidelines. The Air Force network almost 100 bases and 700,000 active military personnel.

    and Larry continues on the key concepts of what will be shown.  Models!!! yea!

  • The model will include autonomic computing;
  • Dashboards will monitor the health of the network second-by-second;
  • If Air Force personnel doesn’t shift to a “prevention environment” in a cyber attack the cloud will have automated services to lock the network down.
  • Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Feb042010

    Symbian Mobile OS goes open source, is data center design the next open source opportunity?

    Symbian OS went open source today.

    Symbian Is Open

    As of now, the Symbian platform is completely open source.  And it is Symbian^3, the latest version of the platform, which will be soon be feature complete.

    Open sourcing a market-leading product in a dynamic, growing business sector is unprecedented.  Over 330 million Symbian devices have been shipped worldwide, and it is likely that a further 100 million will ship in 2010 with more than 200 million expected to ship annually from 2011 onwards.


    Now the platform is free for anyone to use and to contribute to.  It is not only a sophisticated software platform, It is also the focal point of a community. And a lot of the foundation’s effort going forward will be to ensure the community grows and is supported in bringing great innovations to the platform and future devices.

    PCWorld write on the 5 benefits of open sourcing Symbian.

    Five Benefits of an Open Source Symbian

    By Tony Bradley

    The Symbian mobile operating system is getting a second life as the Symbian Foundation makes the smartphone platform open source. The lifeline will revitalize the platform, and has benefits for Nokia, smartphone developers, Symbian handsets, and smartphone users.

    With open source hitting all aspects of IT including mobile, when will data center designs go open source?  Don’t hold your breath as few of the data center designers are software people, so open source is still a foreign concept for many as designs are protected and transparency of what goes on is heresy to their thinking and business models.

    But, maybe as Cloud Computing goes open source with companies like Eucalyptus, people will not see the value in much of how data centers have been built in the past.

    Eucalyptus open-sources the cloud (Q&A)

    It's reasonably clear that open source is the heart of cloud computing, with open-source components adding up to equal cloud services like Amazon Web Services. What's not yet clear is how much the cloud will wear that open source on its sleeve, as it were.

    Eucalyptus, an open-source platform that implements "infrastructure as a service" (IaaS) style cloud computing, aims to take open source front and center in the cloud-computing craze. The project, founded by academics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, is now a Benchmark-funded company with an ambitious goal: become the universal cloud platform that everyone from Amazon to Microsoft to Red Hat to VMware ties into.

    Or, rather, that customers stitch together their various cloud assets within Eucalyptus.

    Is open source a threat to data center design?  For some maybe, for others it is an opportunity.

    For compliance and regulatory issues, eventually cloud computing providers will need to provide some level of transparency on their data center infrastructure.  Enough to meet the needs of governments and other regulatory agencies.  Will this be a driving issue for opening more details on data center infrastructure?

    There are those who argue for security reasons, we are not transparent to reduce our risks.  But, open source software believers say the systems are more secure by being transparent and allowing peer review.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Feb042010

    What can you do with an ARM Server, Demo of a Lego Rubik’s Solver

    One of my highest Google search traffic hits is to Marvell’s plug computer 3.0.

    Some may be thinking what would I do with an ARM based server in the home?

    To get you thinking watch this video of a Nokia ARM powered mobile connected to a LEGO built Rubik’s cube solver.

    Nokia’s Symbian has just gone open source, so maybe it’s not too far out to think your mobile and home server having the same code base.

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Feb022010

    Who will win Emerging Market Mobile Opportunity? Nokia’s strategy is questioned

    Gigaom has a post on Nokia’s Ovi Store and the emerging market.

    Are Emerging Markets Enough to Fuel Nokia’s Ovi Store?

    By Colin Gibbs Feb. 2, 2010, 12:27pm PST No Comments

    0 0 1 0 32

    Nokia’s Ovi Store, after stumbling out of the gate last year, appears to have found its rhythm, becoming the storefront of choice for mobile developers in emerging markets. But whether it can turn that success into big money is unclear.

    Deemed “a complete disaster” in the wake of its launch last May, the Ovi Store has gained remarkable traction in recent weeks. Nokia last week said the storefront had begun delivering a million downloads a day, and Greystripe — which recently scored another $2 million in funding –  today said it had extended support for its mobile gaming ad network to the Ovi Store. Research In Markets has confirmed the momentum, proclaiming that the Ovi Store has overtaken Apple’s App Store in “crucial high-growth emerging markets” in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America.

    The success in Emerging Markets is questioned.

    That success is getting lost in translation, though, in Western Europe and North America. An executive from the mobile app analytics firm Flurry told me this morning that over the last year building for the iPhone has accounted for roughly 80 percent of developers’ time, while Java — the feature phone platform that Nokia dominates — accounts for only 1 percent. And Flurry has some experience in emerging markets, as it built and distributed email apps for feature phones in developing economies before shifting its focus to higher-end gadgets in more mature markets.

    The Economist makes a good point on what are the mobile services for emerging markets.

    The third trend is the development of new phone-based services, beyond voice calls and basic text messages, which are now becoming feasible because mobile phones are relatively widely available. In rich countries most such services have revolved around trivial things like music downloads and mobile gaming. In poor countries data services such as mobile-phone-based agricultural advice, health care and money transfer could provide enormous economic and developmental benefits. Beyond that, mobile networks and low-cost computing devices are poised to offer the benefits of full internet access to people in the developing world in the coming years.

    Here is another example of how mobile phones in emerging markets are used for entrepreneurs and finance.

    In 2005, the Grameen Foundation set the stage for emerging market cell phone adoption and launched the the “Village Phone” business in rural Bangladesh, publishing a how-to manual and setting up micro-finance loans to villagers in towns that had no access to telecommunications.   Four years later, entrepreneurs have finally caught on and despite the downturn, the last 6 months has shed light on a few innovative initiatives that have been announced in a variety of sectors around the world.

    In February, the Gates Foundation in partnership with a worldwide consortium of mobile industries teamed up to announce the Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) initiative.  With a goal of supplying 20 million people with mobile financial services by 2012, this program will enable those in developing countries to carry out mobile banking from their phones in order to protect and grow their money.

    How many iPhone users use their phone as their primary banking device?

    Click to read more ...