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    Wednesday
    Mar032010

    Microsoft’s Flexible Data Center System, Kevin Timmons presents at DCD NY

    I couldn’t make it to DataCenterDynamics NY, but I have plenty of friends there, so I can get a virtual report.

    Kevin Timmons gave the keynote and Rich Miller wrote up a nice entry.

    Microsoft’s Timmons: ‘Challenge Everything’

    March 3rd, 2010 : Rich Miller

    The building blocks for Microsoft’s data center of the future can be assembled in four days, by one person. The two data center containers, known as IT PACs (short for pre-assembled components) proof of concept, are built entirely from aluminum. The first two proof of concept units use residential garden hoses for their water hookups.

    “Challenge everything you know about a traditional data center,” said Kevin Timmons, who heads Microsoft’s Global Foundation Services, in describing the company’s approach to building new data centers. “From the walls to the roof to where it needs to be built, challenge everything.”

    So much of what is wrong with data centers and prevent them from being Green is people do what they have done in the past.  This includes the engineer companies and the customers who specify the data centers. You don’t hear customers saying “bring me a data  center design no one has done before.”

    The efficiency of the data center is a given to have a low PUE (sub 1.2), but with Cloud Computing and Mobile as top needs for data center growth, speed of how quickly you can add capacity is a higher requirement by executive decision makers.

    Here is a video showing some of the concepts Microsoft has been willing to share.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    and the blog post from Microsoft’s Daniel Costello.

    Then we had to take these single lines and schematics and break them into logical modules for the components to reside in. This may seem easy but represents a shift in thinking from a building where, for instance, we would have a UPS room and associated equipment and switchgear manufactured by multiple vendors and put it physically in sometimes separate modules. The challenge became how to shift from a traditional construction mindset to the new, modularized manufacturing mindset. Maintainability is a large part of reliability in a facility, and became a key differentiator between the four classes. Our A Class infrastructure, which is not concurrently maintainable and is on basically street power and unconditioned air, will require scheduled downtime for maintenance. The cost, efficiency, and time-to-market targets for A Class are very aggressive and a fraction of what the industry has come to see as normal today. We realized that standardization and reuse of components from one class to the next was a key to improving cost and efficiency. Our premise was that the same kit of parts (or modules) should be usable from class to class. These modules (in this new mindset) can be added to other modules to transition within the data center from one class to the next.

    I would call this a Flexible Data Center System.  This has been done in manufacturing in flexible manufacturing systems for decades and is just now coming to data center design.

    A flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is a manufacturing system in which there is some amount of flexibility that allows the system to react in the case of changes, whether predicted or unpredicted. This flexibility is generally considered to fall into two categories, which both contain numerous subcategories.

    The advantage of this system is

    Advantages

    Faster, Lower- cost/unit, Greater labor productivity, Greater machine efficiency, Improved quality, Increased system reliability, Reduced parts inventories, Adaptability to CAD/CAM operations.

    With one disadvantage.

    Disadvantages

    cost to implement.

    But in data centers the cost to implement can be lower than traditional data centers with enough people adopting the approach.  And, whereas the flexibility in manufacturing typically applies to the product produced, the flexibility concepts are being applied to the data center infrastructure.

    And, what else is changing is the hardware that goes in these data centers.  Microsoft’s Dileep Bhandarkar discussed here.

    IT departments are strapped for resources these days, and server rightsizing is something every team can do to stretch their budgets. The point of my presentations and the white paper our team is publishing today is two-fold:

    1. To quantify some of the opportunities and potential pitfalls as you look for savings, and

    2. To present best practices from our experiences at Microsoft, where the group I lead manages server purchases for the large production data centers behind Microsoft’s wide array of online, live and cloud services.

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Mar022010

    News as nodes in a social network

    Slate has a website with news as event nodes in a social network, showing the relationships of information.

    News Dots: The Day's Events as a Social Network

    An interactive map of how every story in the news is related, updated daily.

    By Chris Wilson

    Like Kevin Bacon's co-stars, topics in the news are all connected by degrees of separation. To examine how every story fits together, News Dots visualizes the most recent topics in the news as a giant social network. Subjects—represented by the circles below—are connected to one another if they appear together in at least two stories, and the size of the dot is proportional to the total number of times the subject is mentioned.

    image

    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Mar022010

    Defending your ideas makes it harder to change your mind, give up your mental space

    A friend forwarded the Vanity Fair article about Michael Burry who will be featured in a book “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” by Michael Lewis.  It is the interesting story about a value investor who found his own niche.

    Interestingly I found his investment philosophy the similar to my own views.

    He was genuinely interested in computers, not for their own sake but for their service to a lifelong obsession: the inner workings of the stock market. Ever since grade school, when his father had shown him the stock tables at the back of the newspaper and told him that the stock market was a crooked place and never to be trusted, let alone invested in, the subject had fascinated him. Even as a kid he had wanted to impose logic on this world of numbers. He began to read about the market as a hobby. Pretty quickly he saw that there was no logic at all in the charts and graphs and waves and the endless chatter of many self-advertised market pros. Then along came the dot-com bubble and suddenly the entire stock market made no sense at all. “The late 90s almost forced me to identify myself as a value investor, because I thought what everybody else was doing was insane,” he said. Formalized as an approach to financial markets during the Great Depression by Benjamin Graham, “value investing” required a tireless search for companies so unfashionable or misunderstood that they could be bought for less than their liquidation value. In its simplest form, value investing was a formula, but it had morphed into other things—one of them was whatever Warren Buffett, Benjamin Graham’s student and the most famous value investor, happened to be doing with his money.

    Burry did not think investing could be reduced to a formula or learned from any one role model. The more he studied Buffett, the less he thought Buffett could be copied. Indeed, the lesson of Buffett was: To succeed in a spectacular fashion you had to be spectacularly unusual. “If you are going to be a great investor, you have to fit the style to who you are,” Burry said. “At one point I recognized that Warren Buffett, though he had every advantage in learning from Ben Graham, did not copy Ben Graham, but rather set out on his own path, and ran money his way, by his own rules.… I also immediately internalized the idea that no school could teach someone how to be a great investor. If it were true, it’d be the most popular school in the world, with an impossibly high tuition. So it must not be true.”

    As part of Burry’s success he figured out the sub-prime market collapse, and he ran into the problem of defending his approach.  And makes an excellent point about the problem of defending one’s ideas.

    Inadvertently, he’d opened up a debate with his own investors, which he counted among his least favorite activities. “I hated discussing ideas with investors,” he said, “because I then become a Defender of the Idea, and that influences your thought process.” Once you became an idea’s defender, you had a harder time changing your mind about it.

    Which brings up a lesson I’ve been waiting to write a blog entry about.  One of the biggest lessons I learned in Aikido that sticks in my mind is when trying to do a particular technique in training I would get stuck and fight too hard which creates more tension destroying the energy flow.  The sensei (teacher) came over and said “Move, give up the space you are in.”  It clicked the attacker is attacking the space I occupy, if you give up the space to the attacker, blend and move with the energy, you can successfully complete the technique.

    This lesson has stuck with me for years and years to be willing to give up your space to an attack.  Defending a mental space does influence your thought process.

    BTW, know who else is a Black Belt Aikidoist?  Jonathan Koomey.  He trained up at Berkeley Aikikai.  My training was at Aikido San Jose.  Maybe one of these days when Jonathan and I are at the same conference we can have some fun with some Aikido techniques.

    An Energy and Resources Group graduate student and Dr. Koomey created the first peer-reviewed analysis of power use in high-density computing facilities (13, 14).  Dr. Koomey maintains active collaborations with industry leaders about the electricity used by data centers and has published recent studies on the total power used by these facilities (19, 20) and the total costs of these facilities (21).

    I know at least one person will get this idea of “giving up the mental space to win.” :-)

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Mar012010

    GreenM3 partners with University of Missouri, 400 MW Data Center Site with Mike Manos on advisor’s list

    This is the beginning of a change in what I write about on this blog.  I’ll keep commenting on various things in the data center industry that help you go green.  But, it was becoming clear that there was more I could do.

    On March 1, 2010 the University of Missouri signed a Statement of Support for GreenM3, Enginuity, and ARG Investments. The document is here Download University of Missouri Statement of Support.

    image

    The following are excerpts of this 6 page document that describe the partnership and the role of GreenM3.

    In the early discussions with the University of Missouri, there was a clear role for a NPO, Not For Profit Organization, and one of suggestions that stuck is why don’t turn GreenM3 into a NPO. So, thanks to some volunteers, we are in the process of getting 501(c ) (3) status for GreenM3.

    WHEREAS, the Greentech Research Foundation, Inc (GreenM3), Non-Profit Organization (NPO) is established as an independent and objective source that will contribute to the step change advancement of data center and ancillary services operations that strives to provide a platform for stable, secure, efficient and sustainable state-of-the-art operations that can be replicated world-wide, accomplished through public/private investment and;

    The partnerships started based on the idea data center innovation requires public private partnerships.

    WHEREAS, the disruptive and transformative nature of computer driven communications and commerce is little understood and creates an environment of extreme risk and opportunity, the harnessing, of which, can only be accomplished through applied research from a consortium of successful market operators and research specialists; there is a common need shared within the industry for a clearing-house or central hub of research needed to advance data center operation

    To be innovative we needed a different model of operation where ideas could easily develop and can be evaluated.  The Open Source Software model made sense given the data center focus.

    Open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials—typically, their source code.[1] Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology. Before the term open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of phrases to describe the concept; open source gained hold with the rise of a public, worldwide, computer-network system called the Internet, and the attendant need for massive retooling of the computing source code. Opening the source code enabled a self-enhancing diversity of production models, communication paths, and interactive communities. [2] Subsequently, a new, three-word phrase "open source software" was born to describe the environment that the new copyright, licensing, domain, and consumer issues created.

    We accept the fact that there are multiple agendas and embrace the idea to drive different designs vs a centralized approach.

    The open source model includes the concept of concurrent yet different agendas and differing approaches in production, in contrast with more centralized models of development such as those typically used in commercial software companies. [3] A main principle and practice of open sourcesoftware development is peer production by bartering and collaboration, with the end-product (and source-material) available at no cost to the public.

    As a demonstration, ARG Investments is a private company ready to implement ideas at the Ewing Industry Park from the GreenM3 team.  Individuals who want to accelerate changes in data center industry are the ideal members, and one of the first industry advisors for GreenM3’s new role is Mike Manos.  Mike and I have had numerous conversations and we can now work together to implement some disruptive data center ideas.  There are about another 5 – 10 individuals lined up going through the various approvals to be an advisor to the NPO, and I’ll blog about each as they can formalize their commitment.

    image 

    Facilitating Data Center Advancement: With not-for-profit partner, GreenM3, a nonprofit organization, the team is dedicated to developing and sharing best practices for total sustainability, to reduce the carbon impact and water use in power generation, building, data center operations, and education. Collaboration with members of the Industry Advisory Council, led by Michael J. Manos of Nokia, will be facilitated by GreenM3 and Enginuity Worldwide LLC, an innovation-based business.

     

    One of the main purposes of the GreenM3 blog is to share ideas for a greener data center. With University of Missouri Resources and a data center

    Facilitating Data Center Advancement:

    With not-for-profit partner, GreenM3, a nonprofit organization, the team is dedicated to developing and sharing best practices for total sustainability, to reduce the carbon impact and water use in power generation, building, data center operations, and education. Collaboration with members of the Industry Advisory Council, led by Michael J. Manos of Nokia, will be facilitated by GreenM3 and Enginuity Worldwide LLC, an innovation-based business.

    To test the ideas there is the partnership with Ewing Industrial Park and ARG Investments.

    WHEREAS, ARG Investments LLC, a Missouri based company, (ARG) desires to build a technology campus and innovation-led development at Ewing Business Park, Columbia, Missouri as well as foster improvement in the global data center and cloud-computing space through its not-for-profit partner Greentech Research Foundation, Inc (GreenM3), including the following actions and initiatives:

    Implementing the Best and Most Compelling Innovation: Data Centers can be at the nexus of cloud computing, mobile devices, and renewable energy with the right team of people. Based on business model frameworks, and by using an operating business park as the vessel for technology implementation, the technology improvements are more likely to uncover step-change advances and facilitate industry adoption.

    And what do we get out of University of Missouri?  Executive support from the University.

    I. SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT AND CORPORATE OFFICE

    University of Missouri will make available the Vice Provost of Economic Development, or his designee, as single point of contact for ARG & GreenM3 through its Office of Economic Development and can provide meeting space for ARG & GreenM3 with on-campus contacts.

    II. UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI TEAM

    University of Missouri can establish a high-level administrative response team to assure responsiveness and delivery of requested services and programs.

    The team can consist of the appropriate administrators or their designees from the list below:

    Chancellor

    Provost

    Vice Provost for Economic Development

    Vice Chancellor for Research

    Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services

    Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies

    Vice Provost and Director of Cooperative Extension

    Dean from various MU Colleges and Schools

    Key Center Directors

    Other Administrative or Technical Staff as needed

    This team can meet periodically with ARG & GreenM3 administrators to further the success of the relationship and provide a continuous communication network.

    Educational resources and centers of innovation are of course included.

    This is the beginning of an exciting changes for GreenM3, and part of what this blog will do is share a new way to partner with a data center developer (ARG Investments) and University (Mizzou) to green the data center.

    Click to read more ...

    Monday
    Mar012010

    Mobile changing the consumption of Information, a 3 year Roadmap for Mobile Newspaper Success

    It is an accepted fact that the consumption of news on Mobile Phones is growing.  Anyone who thinks print is growing hasn’t seen the number of idled pulp and paper mill capacity that ironically can be repurposed by data centers to host internet news.

    ZDNET writes a perspective on the subject of Mobile and News.

    News on mobile phones is growing; Newspapers get second chance

    Posted by Sam Diaz @ 3:30 am

    Categories: General, Mobile

    Tags: Phone, Mobile, Cell Phone, Cellular Phones, Consumer Electronics...

    The Associated Press took an interesting approach to a report released today by the Pew Research Center about news consumption in an online world. That headline highlighted that 26 percent of adult Americans now get their news from their mobile phones, an interesting statistic. It also noted that 43 percent of “younger’ cell phone owners - that under age 50 - are also reading news stories on their phones, compared to 15 percent of cell phone owners who fall in the “over-50″ category.

    I like the ZDNet Between the lines because they refer to other news like CNET.

    There was a lot more to that report and CNET breaks it down nicely. For example, 59 percent of the audience get their news from both online and offline sources and 57 percent said they have between two and five favorite Web sites to visit for their news. It also found that 37 percent are engaging in the news, either by commenting or pushing headlines to their friends and associates via social sites like Facebook and Twitter.

    and, they point to a blog entry by Reynolds Journalism Institute at University of Missouri.

    But I found the statistic about mobile especially interesting because, just a few weeks ago. a fellow of the Reynolds Journalism Institute and an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, published a blog post that sounded the alarm about the news industry’s need for a mobile strategy for content delivery.

    I tell some friends that I am staring to work with Mizzou and they have one of the top journalism schools. One person having a journalism degree, said “never heard of them who is famous from their school.”  Knowing I was talking to someone who didn’t know journalism, I had fun and pointed out Brad Pitt went to Mizzou for Journalism.  That got her attention.

    pittBRAD PITT
    Brad Pitt was born on December 18, 1963 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He attended Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri and majored in journalism at the University of Missouri. He was a member of Sigma Chi and the Homecoming Steering Committee and did some acting in Greek talent events. Just two credits shy of graduating, Pitt took off for Los Angeles to start his acting career.

    But, there are well respected journalist too.

    lehrerJIM LEHRER
    Jim Lehrer was born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1934. He is a graduate of Victoria College in Texas and a 1956 graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

     

     

    And, Mizzou has a blog just on Mobile Journalism, and wrote an entry on Feb 6, 2010 for a 3 year timeframe on how Newspapers need to start now on their mobile strategy.

    The road to 2013: A timeline for newspapers

    Posted on February 6, 2010 by Clyde Bentley

    When I first saw Gartner Research’s list of predictions for IT organizations and the people they serve, I was amused.  Guessing games are always fun. As I read on, I became concerned.  Then a bit afraid.

    But now I’m just fired up for a challenge.

    Gartner is no slouch at forecasting trends in technology and business using sophisticated research tools to make more-than-educated guesses.  This year’s predictions ranged from India taking the lead in cloud aggregation to Internet marketing coming under government regulation.

    the timeframe is as follows.

    Bentley’s Timeline for Mobile Newspaper Success

    February 2010 Gartner predicts mobile will replace PC in Web access by 2013
    March 2010 Research  the cell provider/handset type in newspaper’s market area
    April 2010 Key editors have smartphones
    May 2010 Designate mobile editors
    June 2010 Mobile edition (MWeb) online content
    July 2010 Text-message alert systems activated; reader mobile phone numbers collected
    August-September 2010 Train news and ad staff on mobile potential
    October 2010 Have apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Symbian
    November-December 2010 Offer mobile coupons via text and mobile Web
    January 2011 Ready to receive mobile voice, text and image submissions from the public
    February 2011 Reporters have phones that can capture image, video and sound and deliver it to the home office
    March-April 2011 Integrate mobile content and commerce: Bar code advertising, ticket sales
    May-June 2011 Optimize MWeb/app editions that take advantage of GMS, return text, text-to-voice delivery
    July-August 2011 Provide niche M-news: Smoke-break wraps, during-game scores, pre-commute weather
    September-October 2011 Offer location-based feature stories/videos/ads
    November 2011 Link readers into mobile social networks with “find friends nearby” ability
    December 2011 Offer location-based feature stories/videos/ads
    January 2012 Newspapers take the lead as top mobile news provider
    February-March 2012 Provide just-in-time comics, mobile games
    April-May 2012 Provide mobile guide/help/find services
    June-July 2012 Offer full-length books and longform features for mobile reading
    August-September 2012 Provide augmented reality stories and ads
    October -November 2012 Offer Web-enabled handsets as subscription premiums
    December 2012 Integrate mobile and online newsroom operations
    January 2013  More people access the Web by mobile than by PC

    But, not one month later, Pew Research gives more research information referring to the growth of mobile devices used to read the news.

    3 years may be too long of a timeframe for the newspaper agencies.  The likes of MSNBC, Google News, and the following are all planning the list already.  Here are the top 6 Google search listings for “news”

    1. Breaking News, Weather, Business, Health, Entertainment, Sports ...
      - 3 visits - 11/30/09

      Mar 1, 2010 ... Msnbc.com is a leader in breaking news, video and original journalism. Stay current with daily news updates in health, entertainment, ...
      www.msnbc.msn.com/ - 24 minutes ago - Cached - Similar -

    2. CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment ...

      CNN.com delivers the latest breaking news and information on the latest top stories, weather, business, entertainment, politics, and more.

      World - Money - Sports - Video

      www.cnn.com/ - 45 minutes ago - Cached - Similar -

    3. Breaking News | Latest News | Current News - FOXNews.com

      Breaking News, Latest News and Current News from FOXNews.com. Breaking news and video. Latest Current News: US, World, Entertainment, Health, Business, ...

      The O'Reilly Factor - World - Video - Politics

      www.foxnews.com/ - Cached - Similar -

    4. Google News

      Aggregated headlines and a search engine of many of the world's news sources.
      news.google.com/ - Cached - Similar -

    5. The top news headlines on current events from Yahoo! News - Yahoo ...

      Feb 28, 2010 ... Use Yahoo! News to find breaking news, current events, the latest headlines,news photos, analysis & opinion on top stories, world, ...
      news.yahoo.com/ - Cached - Similar -

    6. Technology News - CNET News

      Mar 1, 2010 ... Tech news and business reports by CNET News. Focused on information technology, core topics include computers, hardware, software, ...
      news.cnet.com/ - 24 minutes ago - Cached - Similar -

    Click to read more ...