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    Sunday
    Mar142010

    Google Android’s team adds web expert Tim Bray as "developer advocate" for open web mobile experience

    The battle being Google and Apple is reaching a media high point. Tim Bray, XML co-creator has joined Google as developer advocate and the media is highlighting the competitive move.

    Tim Bray lands on Android team

    Posted by Dana Blankenhorn @ 6:12 am

    XML co-creator Tim Bray has joined the exodus from Oracle and landed at Google, as a “developer advocate” for the Android.

    Bray, who like tech titans Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, was born in 1955 (as was this humble blogger), is now expected to be a much more familiar face to reporters, contrasting what he calls Android’s open development vision with the Apple iPhone’s “sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers.”

    Tim Bray is a well known blogger and he writes on his move to Google.

    How? · Google and I have been a plausible match for a long time. Web-centric, check. Search,check. Open-source, check. The list goes on. We’ve talked repeatedly over the years, but the conversations all ended at the point when I said “...and I don’t want to move to the Bay Area”.

    Being an experienced tech guy, born in 1955 he gets the importance of energy efficient computing.

    I’m not going to stop worrying about concurrent programming, because our failure to equip developers to do it right is going to bite our asses just as hard in the mobile space as anywhere else. Maybe harder, since mobiles are power-starved by definition and current data seem to show that slower many-core CPUs give you more computing per milliwatt.

    Combine the energy efficiency focus in Android Mobile with Urs Hoelzle data center team, and there are huge synergies for energy efficient systems.

    He who can use less energy for the same performance and capability has the advantage.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Mar112010

    Pike Research forecasts 2010 to 2015 microgrid growth from 100 to 2,000

    One of the biggest changes coming to the power grid are microgrids.  Pike Research has a report on microgrids.

    More than 2,000 Microgrids to be Deployed by 2015

    January 26, 2010

    Microgrids, which are “islanded” power generation and distribution zones that can operate autonomously from the larger electrical grid, are an increasing area of focus for institutions, governments, corporations, and utilities.  According to a recent report fromPike Research, a variety of trends are converging to create significant growth potential for microgrids, and the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that more than 2,000 sites will be operational worldwide by 2015, up from fewer than 100 in 2010.

    “The distinguishing feature of a microgrid is the ability to separate and isolate itself from the utility’s distribution system during brownouts and blackouts,” says managing director Clint Wheelock.  “This degree of localized control is compelling for many microgrid proponents during this time of increasing concern over grid reliability.”

    Out of the 2,000, one microgrid will be at the Ewing Industrial Park in Columbia, MO, the site where the Open Source Data Center Initiative ideas will be tested.

    There is a lot of information in the report which you can buy here.

    Key questions addressed:
    • What is a “microgrid” and what are its key components and features?
    • Why are inverters the key advance enabling microgrids to develop today despite opposition from many electric utilities?
    • What are the key market drivers at the policy level – and why does the United States have the best near-term market opportunity?
    • Why are microgrids inevitable if investments in a smart grid are accompanied by a paradigm shift from central station to distributed generation supply sources?
    • Who are the big players – and new technology vendors – in the microgrid space, and what is their key role in developing this new energy market?
    Who needs this report?
    • Microgrid Developers
    • Smart Grid Hardware and Software Providers
    • Venture Capitalists
    • Communities, institutions, and corporations interested in building their own microgrid
    • Distribution Utilities worried about worker safety and market share issues
    • Policy Makers examining new business models for renewable generation

    Even though we could buy a copy of the report.  Our first preference is to develop things from scratch with an open source approach, then publish the results.  I would assume if we bought a copy of the report, we can't republish anything from it.  And, any ideas we come up with potentially could be limited given we bought a research publication.

    Which means we most likely will not be buying any other research as it would limit our ability to publish.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Mar112010

    Google Warehouse Scale Computing pattern harvested, solving the current or future performance problems

    The Open Source Data Center Initiative is using a Pattern based approach.

    In software engineering, a design pattern is a general reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem in software design. A design pattern is not a finished design that can be transformed directly into code. It is a description or template for how to solve a problem that can be used in many different situations.

    I was reading Google's Warehouse Scale Computing document which can be daunting with its 120 pages of dense topics.  One of the points made which is an example of a design pattern is under the following conditions.

    Key pieces of Google’s services have release cycles on the order of a couple of weeks compared to months or years for desktop software products. Google’s front-end Web server binaries, for example, are released on a weekly cycle, with nearly a thousand independent code changes checked in by hundreds of developers— the core of Google’s search services has been reimplemented nearly from scratch every 2 to 3
    years.

    This may not sound like your environment, but it is common in agile dynamic SW development at Google, start-ups and other leading edge IT shops.

    Agile methods generally promote a disciplined project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation, a leadership philosophy that encourages teamwork, self-organization and accountability, a set of engineering best practices intended to allow for rapid delivery of high-quality software, and a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals.

    The old way of purchasing IT hardware to support an application's SLA is a lower priority.  The new way is to add hardware capabilities to support the rapid innovation in SW development.

    A beneficial side effect of this aggressive software deployment environment is that hardware architects are not necessarily burdened with having to provide good performance for immutable pieces of code. Instead, architects can consider the possibility of significant software rewrites to take advantage of new hardware capabilities or devices.

    BTW, immutable in SW means which applies to many legacy systems.

    In object-oriented and functional programming, an immutable object is an object whose state cannot be modified after it is created. This is in contrast to a mutable object, which can be modified after it is created.

    Problem: How to improve the performance per watt  in IT efficiencies with data center infrastructure and hardware?

    Options:

    1. Improve data center efficiency, aka PUE.
    2. Buy more efficiency IT HW.
    3. Improve HW utilization with virtualization and server consolidation.
    4. Add new hardware capabilities that support the future of software.

    Solution: even though 1 - 3 are typical, the efficiencies from #4 could be sizeable larger.  Some part of the data center and IT hardware should be designed for the future applications vs. making the future applications run on what the past applications require.

    Examples of technologies are NVidia's GPU, solid state memory, startups with new hardware designs like www.tilera.com, and complete re-architecture of the data center system.

    People are working on the complete re-architecture of the data center system as the performance per watt gains are huge.

    How many data centers are designed for the current hardware vs the future? 50%, 75%, 90%, 95%, 98%

    Should data centers be designed for a 5 year lifespan vs. 20 - 30 to support more rapid innovation?  Then, be upgradable?

    Click to read more ...

    Wednesday
    Mar102010

    Navy Seals adopt open and transparency to improve yield of candidates

    Many people question the approach of being open and transparent for our Open Data Center Initiative. One group that has been known for its secrecy, but has changed to open and transparency is the Navy Seal program.

    Here is video by MSNBC.

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Here is the newly launch Navy Seal web site with twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and forums to improve the social networking connection.

    image

    And, a written interview with the Navy Seal command.

    "The new site was created to improve the information that is available online about Naval Special Warfare careers so that young men who might be interested in joining have as much information as possible to help them make informed choices and prepare," Navy SEAL Cpt. Adam Curtis, director of Naval Special Warfare Recruiting, told OhMyGov. "We want young men in our target audience to interact with us. Social networking sites provide a platform for that interaction. We can post information on Facebook, and our audience can let us know, in real time, what they think of it."

    Another benefit to social networking is the ability to ask questions and hear thoughts from not only recruiters, but people going through the same decision making process. This interaction keeps people "engaged" as Cpt. Curtis said, helping those interested to decide better if a career as a Navy SEAL is for them.

    Also included on the site is a PDF attachment of the SEALs Physical Training Guide, including nutrition information, and strength guides for swimming, running, and injury prevention. Plus, you can take the SEALs PST calculator to see if you could really hack it through basic training.

    All of these Web features are designed to help young men understand more about the SEALs program, and how to prepare for the training better than ever before without knowing a SEAL personally.

    I am sure there are many ex-Seals who question the next approach, but the Navy Seal command recognized it needed to grow faster. The old way was too slow.

    Click to read more ...

    Wednesday
    Mar102010

    400 megawatt smorgasbord meal, 2,500 from nuclear, coal, and hydro plus renewable sources – all you can eat starting at $0.035 kw/hr

    The Ewing Industrial Park in Columbia, MO has a unique power capability few can match.  When I first visited the site, they said they had 80 megawatts of power. After seeing all the high voltage power transmission lines, one 345 kv, multiple 161 and 69 kv, they must be able to get more power.  I told them go back to all the sources and find out how much they could get with transmission infrastructure. Why isn’t 80 megawatt enough for a data center?  Because, if we want to get people to understand the available power infrastructure, we need a bigger number.  A week later, they said we can get 400 megawatts.

    How can you get 400 megawatts?  Here is a summary of the power sources available.

    In Summary, Ewing Business Park is within 50 miles of about 2500 MGW of redundant power generation capacity including Thomas Hill Coal(1153MGW), Ameren Fulton Nuclear at reform Missouri( 1159MGW), Ameren Hydro at Bagnell Dam(215 MGW), City of Columbia coal/biomass(39MGW), City of Columbia /Ameren natural gas(140MGW), and Associated natural gas(60MGW).  The Ewing Site has numerous redundant feeds and suppliers to this power supply.

    Thomas Hill Coal power.

    Thomas Hill Energy Center key to providing low-cost energy

    Thomas Hill Power Plant

    Plant statistics

    Unit 1 - 1966 General Electric turbine
    Net capacity of 180 MW
    Coal burn rate of 2,325 tons/day

    Unit 2 - 1969 Westinghouse turbine
    Net capacity of 303 MW
    Coal burn rate of 3,476 tons/day

    Unit 3 - 1982 Westinghouse turbine
    Net capacity of 670 MW
    Coal burn rate of 8,660 tons/day

    The Thomas Hill Energy Center is comprised of three electrical generating units, built from 1966 to 1982 and totaling 1,153 megawatts, and a coal mine that is actively being reclaimed after closing in 1993.

    AECI employs about 260 people at the Thomas Hill Energy Center, which has received national recognition for its efficiency and successful conversion to low-sulfur coal that significantly reduced sulfur dioxide emissions.

    AECI also will achieve a system wide nitrogen oxides emission rate reduction of nearly 90 percent with completion in December 2008 of its $424 million environmental controls project at Thomas Hill to meet the Clean Air Interstate Rule.

    Ameren Callaway Nuclear

    Plant Profile

    Location

    The plant is located 10 miles southeast of Fulton, Missouri, in Callaway County; 25 miles northeast of Jefferson City, Missouri; 40 miles southeast of Columbia, Missouri; 100 miles west of St. Louis, Missouri; and 120 miles east of Kansas City, Missouri.

    Plant Design

    Standardized Nuclear Unit Power Plant System (SNUPPS), using a Westinghouse four-loop pressurized reactor and a General Electric turbine-generator.

    Generating Capacity

    1,190 megawatts (net)

    Bagnell Dam

    File:Bagnell dam mo.jpg

    Bagnell Dam impounds the Osage River in the U.S. state of Missouri, creating the Lake of the Ozarks. The 148-foot (45 m) tall concrete gravity dam was built by the Union Electric Company (now AmerenUE) for the purpose of hydroelectricpower generation as its Osage Powerplant. It is 2,543 feet (775 m) long, including a 520-foot (160 m) long spillway and a 511-foot (156 m) long power station. The facility with eight generators has a maximum capacity of 215 megawatts.

    Here is more information about the site providing the Ewing Industrial Park engineering team.

    The background on the availability is actually quite simple. Ewing Business Park is served electric by the city of Columbia Missouri. They are a member of MISO which is the Midwest independent transmission service operator.  The city has purchase/supply transmission agreements with Associated Electric and Ameren.  The city also generates some of their own power.  Currently Ewing Business park  is bisected by a 345 kV line, and served by Numerous 161 kV lines, and numerous 69kV lines.   Ewing business Park is directly adjacent to a large city owned regional substation called the Bolstad Sub station. The city has indicted that the Bolstad could serve immediate 100 MGW right now to the Ewing Park with their own infrastructure and purchase arrangements up to 200 MGW if planned.  There are 4 other regional substations owned by the City and Central Electric ranging from ½ mile to 4 miles. These substations are tapped to ameren feeders in some cases. This Bolstad substation is directly adjacent to a 140 MGW natural gas fired power plant. (1) This power plant is referred to as the Columbia Energy Center or CEC.  This power plant is currently operated as peaking plant that can fire up to 90% capacity quickly.  The ownership of this plant is the city of Columbia and Ameren energy.  The city has taken the recent steps to acquire total remaining ownership of the power plant.  The city has a 39 MGW coal/wood biomass fired plant about 5 miles away.  (2) .  Associated Electric has a large Coal fired power plant just 40 miles away. It is a 1153 MGW coal fired facility.    The Bolstad connection to this power plant is a direct 161 kV transmission line with no other taps.  This line is 50 % owned by the city of Columbia and 50% by Central Electric (the wholesale transmission provider for associated). Todd Culley with Boone Electric and Ralph Schulte with Central Electric stated that Associated can serve “ 200 MGW without a phone call to the city of Columbia Ewing site ”. They said they could easily provide 400 MGW with some notice. (3)

    Let me further explain

    In addition to this transmission line directly from Thomas hill, there is another redundant 161 kV line that comes from the Kingdom city Substation 16 miles away which is directly fed by the Thomas Hill 345 kV line that serves that Kingdom City Substation.  In addition, to these two large independent transmission line feeders, Thomas Hill has another independent 69 kV transmission line that comes from the power plant that serves the city and Ewing from the large Prathersville substation that is 2 miles away from Ewing. (4)  Associated has a natural gas fired power plant Called the Chamois Plant ( 60 MGW) about 40 miles away.  It feeds Columbia by way of one 161 kV line and 2 -69 kV lines.  All but one of these lines land at the Central/ Columbia Boone Sub on the south side of Columbia.  This sub is about 12 miles from Ewing but the interesting thing is that the City has a 161 kV and a 69kV that both run around the east side of town and come to the Bolstad Substation directly from this Main transmission Tap. (5) From the Chamois plant the independent pathway 161 kV hits the Same Boone sub but from an independent pathway from the east. 

    Ameren UE has the 345 kV line that bisects Ewing.  It does not have a substation off of it at Ewing but lands on the west side of Columbia at the Overton Substation about 19 miles away.  There are 161 kV and 69 kV lines that then extend to Bolstad that are considered independent feeders.  Ameren Would not state their capcity to serve publically from this line but currently they did say they could serve 200 MGW easily from the 345 kV line. (6)  Ameren has Bagnell dam hydro electric power plant 50 miles away.  It is rated at 215 MGW.  The main services form this plant are through Associated’s  69kV line and Ameren’s 161 kV line that also goes to the overton sub.(7) Ameren has a Nuclear Power Plant 30 miles away at Fulton mo. .  It is 1159 MGW.    Bolstad serves the Fulton area by a direct  69 kV line. (8).

    Click to read more ...