AWS in China, location Ningxia West Cloud Valley

WSJ had a post on the security threats of data center infrastructure.  In this post there is mention of a US cloud company in a Western China data center.

Vincent Hu of Zhongwei, China, is overseeing the construction of a large data center for a leading U.S. cloud-computing company.

Some friends were speculating who was the us cloud-computing company.  Found this post and it documents AWS.

Start of the Ningxia West Cloud Valley to Develop a “New Silk Road” for the Cloud Computing Industry

Commencement of the Construction of the West Cloud Valley Project in the Ningxia Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park

On April 28, 2014, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the city of Zhongwei in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, the Ningxia Zhongwei Municipal Government, Amazon AWS, and the Ningxia West Cloud Valley Technology Co., Ltd. witnessed together the grand opening ceremony of the first project in the West Cloud Valley Project in the Ningxia Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park and the Signing Ceremony of the Framework Agreement on the Cooperation between Amazon AWS and the West Cloud Valley. The West Cloud Valley will start to construct the data center and relevant facilities serving Amazon AWS under the cooperation framework.
“Amazon AWS is very happy to participate in the construction of a dynamic Chinese cloud computing ecological system, and to closely cooperate with partners including the Ningxia Government and the West Cloud Valley to build a world class data center, provide highly extendable, efficient and low-cost cloud infrastructure and help promote the development and prosperity of Chinese enterprises and economy,” said Mr. Rong Yongkang, AWS Global Vice President and AWS China Executive Director, “We will invest in Ningxia to build a localized team and help more Chinese clients achieve innovative development and by using AWS cloud computing service get rid of undifferentiated IT management work.”

Uptime Institute vs. 7x24 Exchange, which one is best for you?

Years ago myself and many of my friends would get together at Uptime Institute's Symposium. Now I get together with those same friends and many others at 7x24 Exchange instead of Uptime Symposium.  Over years and years of going to data center conferences I figured out what was best for me, but couldn't explain why. I'll go through some perspectives that you may agree or disagree with to help you choose what is best for you.

First, the title of the organizations. Uptime Institute. 7x24 Exchange. Uptime and 7x24 are different words to communicate availability. The difference is in the words Institute vs. Exchange.

 Institute: an educational institution and especially one devoted to technical fields

Exchange: an occurrence in which people give things of similar value to each other : the act of giving or taking one thing in return for another thing

Uptime Institute is like an education data center authority. 7x24 Exchange is a place where people can receive and give information. Institute is where you are being lectured to. Exchange is where you interact with the attendees and discuss ideas. At the Institute the staff are like professors busy presenting and attending meetings. At the Exchange the staff are socializing, discussing ideas and collecting feedback.

If you go back to the start of the two organizations you can get a better idea of how they were set up. This document created by 7x24 Exchange in memorial of Ken Brill's contribution describes the history.

Kenneth Brill co-founded the Uninterruptible Uptime Users Group (UUUG), now known as 7x24 Exchange International along with Dennis Cronin, the late Alan Freedeman, Frank Gialanella, Paul Fox, Jon Jackson and Howie Levison in 1989. Mr. Brill also founded both Upsite Technologies and the Uptime Institute, a leading authority dedicated to improving data center performance and efficiency through research, collaboration, innovation and education.

Ken Brill set up Uptime Institute as his company to be the authority in data center information (Uptime Institute) while another users group which became the 7x24 Exchange.

Uptime Institute Symposium says it is

The foremost conference for data center leaders and professionals presented by the Global Data Center Authority.

7x24 Exchange says

7x24 Exchange International, founded in 1989, is the leading knowledge exchange for those who design, build, operate and maintain mission-critical enterprise information infrastructures and the primary resource for valuable information within the mission critical industry. 7x24 Exchange's goal is to improve end-to-end reliability by promoting dialogue among these groups through conferences, membership, and the 7x24 Magazine.

Where are you?  Are you looking for the Institute that lays claim to be the Global Data Center Authority? Or are you looking for where you can exchange information with your peers.

Over the past 10 years the data center innovation is coming from companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and others who are building Cloud Infrastructures.  Do these companies present at 7x24 Exchange or Uptime Institute Symposium?

Myself I prefer 7x24 Exchange, and I speak my opinion which the 7x24 staff is supportive of.  Speaking up and writing about conferences is probably what got me blacklisted from attending Uptime Symposium.

If you want to decrease outages shouldn't you be thinking of errors?

No ones outages.  Yet how many people think about the errors made.  You know those times when you leave a burner on, ATM card in the machine, original in the copier.  OK who goes to the copier any more like they used to.  But, that doesn't mean you are making errors all the time. Running data center infrastructure is so full of potential procedural errors the disciplined have figured out they need to invest in detecting and reducing errors.

Here is a paper written in 1995 on Working Memory, the short term memory you use to do process the new and old information.

In their everyday interaction with the world, people often make mistakes, slips, lapses,
miscalculations and the like. Although making errors is common and the effects of errors can
range from the merely annoying to the catastrophic, procedural errors have received relatively
little attention from cognitive psychologists. Senders and Moray (1991, p. 2) suggest that “[o]ne
reason for this is that error is frequently considered only as a result or measure of some other
variable, and not as a phenomenon in its own right.” Typically, procedural errors are viewed as
the result of some stochastic function. Decrements in performance are manifested as an increase
in global error rate, with little or no attention paid to what causes any particular error.
This stochastic view of error does not seem to correspond to people’s intuitions about
their own behavior. People seem prone to making some kinds of errors more often than others,
and errors seem to occur more often at particular steps in the execution of a given procedure. In
some cases, errors are simply the result of systematic deficiencies or “bugs” in knowledge (e.g.
Brown & VanLehn, 1980). That the lack of correct knowledge of how to perform a step would
lead to errors on that step seems a plausible explanation of some kinds of error. However, this
explanation does not cover cases where people do have the correct knowledge. Many people
report making errors such as leaving the original document behind in a photocopier, failing to
retrieve one’s bank card from an automated teller machine (ATM), and forgetting to replace the
gas cap after filling the tank. In all these cases, people almost certainly have the knowledge
required to carry out the task, because they perform the task correctly most of the time. Yet
errors in these and other similar tasks are often reported.

The Innovation in the Data Center Industry comes from those who can connect the dots

Check out this video.

David Brier who created the above video also wrote this article.

It all comes down to dots.

In his famous commencement speech, Steve Jobs said:

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
Sir Richard Branson has a mantra that runs through the DNA of his companies. The mantra is A-B-C-D. (Always Be Connecting the Dots).

Kiva Systems -> Amazon Robotics, Amazon's Automation Research Group

Amazon acquired Kiva Systems in 2012, then went dark.  No new customers mentioned.  Sales staff was let go.  Now in August 2015 will point to Amazon Robotics

A recruitment video is here.

Here are the current open positions.  Sorry for the formatting, but too much time to clean this up.  You get the idea of the hiring amazon is doing.

Google, Facebook, Apple, and so many of the other high tech companies with huge data centers have robotics efforts.  A huge data center behind robotics makes so much sense.

Mystery of Why 4 Technical Leaders have left Digital Realty over 5 years

Jim Smith and David Schirmacher have left Digital Realty Trust.

Jim Smith, who has been the data center provider’s CTO since its founding more than a decade ago, is leaving the company, a Digital spokesman said.
Another major departure from Digital announced Tuesday was David Schirmacher’s. After more than 3.5 years as senior VP of operations, Schirmacher was appointed to lead design and construction in January of this year.

I would always chat with Jim and David when I saw them at data center events.  Then, I thought about Chris Crosby another person I would enjoy chatting with left in 2011.

“During his tenure, Chris tirelessly focused on growing our business and played a key role in developing our data center products and most recently new market opportunities,” said Michael Foust, Chief Executive Officer, in the company’s press release.

Then I thought of Mike Manos leaving Digital in 2010.

All four of these data center executives are tops in technical and operational skills to build and run data centers.  When you go through the list of people Digital is hiring you don't see someone with these skills.

This is a mystery to me.  As the largest data center provider you would think having the top data center talent is a priority.  So what is the top priority for Digital?  In the announcement of Jim and David leaving is the hiring of Chris Sharp from Equinix where he focused on the Cloud.  But, some of the biggest tenants of Digital run some of the biggest Clouds.  Does Digital want to compete against its Cloud customers?  If youwant to build data centers specific for the Cloud you would keep the data center executives so its not that.

I don't have a clear answer to this mystery.