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    AS/400 Technology for Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme, another reason to retire the old energy efficient hardware

    If an energy efficient consultant had audited Bernard Madoff’s operations he would have found an AS/400 running.  Here is an interesting tidbit on the Madoff Ponzi scam.

    An AS/400 was critical to Madoff's Ponzi scheme

    Computers don't steal, investment bankers do

    By Nick Farrell

    Friday, 14 August 2009, 12:41

    AN ANCIENT IBM AS/400 was crucial to US investment swindler Bernard Madoff's cunning Ponzi scam whereby he made off with huge wodges of other people's cash.

    According to a new book, "Too Good to Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff", author Erin Arvedlund claims that Madoff could not have managed his elaborate fraud without his old clunker of a mid-range computer system.

    The IBM AS/400 was used by him and select other employees to print out fake account statements. What they would do was punch in fake trades on the IBM AS/400 and enter share prices that would square with his consistent but imaginary returns on the billions that customers entrusted to his firm.

    Central to the scam was that "no one touched" the computer but Madoff. But that would have been a safe bet as no one would want to get their paws on an ancient AS/400 unless they were a real enthusiast.

    As one of the founders of the NASDAQ stock exchange, Madoff was one of the pioneers of Wall Street trading technology. If he could make his IBM AS/400 lie to his clientele then we can see why he was so keen on computers.

    If you find old energy efficient hardware running in your data center and you are suspicious why they won’t upgrade and retire the old hardware, there is a chance someone who just like Madoff wants to keep the hardware for their own personal gains and their career.

    I wonder if IBM could have virtualized the AS/400 instance onto new hardware, but then more people would have access to the system.  Madoff would have stopped that energy efficiency change.

    Click to read more ...


    Apple Recruits eBay Data Center Executive Olivier Sanche, Can Apple Change Data Centers the way they changed cell phone and media players?

    I have been lucky to meet eBay’s Sr. Director, Data Center Services & Strategy, Olivier Sanche at a variety of data center events and discuss many different green data center ideas. Last week, Olivier joined me as a panel member at Data Center Dynamics Seattle to discuss Carbon Reporting: Risk or Opportunity.  Olivier took a position different than many that carbon reduction is a must, and should not be compromised. 

    Below is a summary of the panel members.  We had a nice balance having an engineering firm (Callison), Switch and Data (hosting), eBay (data centers and applications).  We were also lucky to have Charles Kalko from eBay join us as he brought in the view of the software and services running in the data center and their role in Carbon.  Charles discussed Green Metrics for the data center and eBay’s support for the use of The Green Grid’s DCeP metric.

    PANEL: Carbon: Risk or Opportunity?
    Implementing a Strategy to Manage Your Data Center's Carbon Risk Exposure
    David Ohara, Founder and Architect - Green M3
    Leonard A. Ruff AIA, Director - Callison Architecture
    Herb Villa, Customer Solutions Engineer - Switch & Data

    Charles Kalko, Operation Excellence Program Lead, eBay
    Olivier Sanche, Senior Director, Data Centers Services & Strategy – eBay

    Global carbon regulation is arguably the largest risk and opportunity most corporations will face in the beginning of the 21st century. Voluntary and mandatory reporting protocols are emerging. Questions we will ask:

    Some of the discussion went to the practical side of financial costs, consolidation, energy efficiency, and what the industry accepts as standard practice. And, we could count on Olivier to be ready with a passionate view on doing the right thing for the environment, adding issues about water consumption, eWaste, and other environmental concerns beyond simply the power consumed. Watching Olivier reminded me of the focus we had on features that were absolute must haves while I was at Apple. 

    An example of the passion for pushing for the right thing is when I was at Apple, working on the Macintosh II RGB monitor team. They had a quality requirement for the RGB gun convergence across the whole display area.  The guys at Sony said that is not possible, the standard we all use is like a bulls eye target where convergence is best in the middle, and as you get to the edges misconvergence is acceptable.  IBM has been doing this for years for the PC, and it was the accepted standard (Keep in mind this was in 1986, well before Windows).

    Our design lead, Brian Berkeley was adamant about the convergence specification applying across the whole screen.  He finally showed the Sony guys what a Mac display looked like.  "look what we have in the corners of the screen, the Apple icon, the pull down menus, the trash can. there are things are around the edges."  The Sony guys gave in, and the Mac II RGB monitor was the must have monitor for the Mac II, and Apple had an inventory shortage of RGB monitors as forecasting misread the market demanding 90% of the monitors be RGB.  Apple went against the industry standard pushing for what consumers would want to buy.

    I tell this story, because Olivier gave me a call to let me know he accepted Apple’s Director of Global Data Center Operations position. I don’t think Olivier could resist the opportunity to build and operate data centers where the user experience is the highest priority.  I bet Olivier’s passion to green the data center and being environmentally sensitive to the impacts of his data center practices was part of the reason why he stood out versus others who interviewed for the job.

    Personally, I think Olivier is the absolute right guy for Apple at the right time.  Coincidentally, I recently wrote this post about Greenpeace possibly targeting Apple Data Centers. There is no other person I can think of who could better prepare Apple for Greening the Data Center.  Olivier is one of the few data center managers who uses a Mac, and he craves the moment he can drop the blackberry and switch to the iPhone.

    I am sad in some ways, as eBay has been quite open to discuss its data center practices.  Below are a few pictures of Olivier and his team.IMG_0828IMG_0843

    Going to Apple will most likely quiet Olivier Sanche's voice in the industry.  But, who knows.  Olivier may change that as well. Here is Olivier speaking at Google’s data center summit.

    One of the questions for the panel members was on subject of green and sustainability.

    Ken Brill gave a practical view of show me the money. Green is overhyped and a clear ROI needs to be established for projects.

    Olivier Sanche starts by telling the story of his child telling him how the polar bears are drowning, then he thinks he is potentially building a data center that will have a bigger impact to global warming than any other action he has as an individual.  Olivier tells his team we need to do the right thing, and how we impact the environment is part of the equation.

    Good Luck, Olivier.  I am placing my bets Apple will change the data center industry the way they changed cell phones and media players with the iPhone and iPod.  It is not just the environmental issues, there are huge opportunities to leverage the data center servers with client devices - iPod, iPhone, and Macs.  Photos, Music, and Video and the associated media industry is Apple's strength.  Google focuses on Search.  Microsoft focuses on Windows, Office, and competing against Google.  Apple focuses on consumers.

    Who do you think is going to change the data center industry the most Google, Microsoft, or Apple?

    Or maybe what individuals will change the data center industry?  Keep your eye on Olivier.

    Click to read more ...


    We need a Data Center Rap Video, check out Large Hadron Rap Video

    Here is a rap video on the Large Hadron Collider.

    When I posted this blog entry, there are 19,678 ratings with 5 stars and 5,241,299 views.

    If you google search “large hadron” the video shows up #4.

    Search Results

      Large Hadron Collider - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    1. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, intended to collide opposing particle beams, ... - Cached - Similar -

    2. LHC_Homepage

      Jun 19, 2009 ... LHC - THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER ... LHC Co-ordination schedule and status · Golden Hadron Awards · General Information and Outreach ...
      Photos - Cooldown_status - Experiment - OP home page - Cached - Similar -

    3. CERN - The Large Hadron Collider

      CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research - The Large Hadron Collider ... The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a gigantic scientific instrument near ... - Cached - Similar -

    4. Video results for large hadron

      Large Hadron Rap
      4 min 49 sec

    This may seem silly, but whoever comes up with an interesting data center rap video is going to get lots of traffic.

    Click to read more ...


    Should you Build a Mega Data Center? Washington D.C. vs. Washington St.

    There is more news than I thought on the subject on Microsoft moving Windows Azure from Washington state to Texas.   There are fifteen articles on the subject, and here are a few.

    Cloud Computing: Washington vs. Washington

    BusinessWeek - Om Malik - ‎4 minutes ago‎

    When I spoke with US CIO Vivek Kundra last month, he outlined a pragmatic approach to federal technology that involved adopting a hybrid model ...

    Will Google regret the mega data center?

    Register - ‎Aug 7, 2009‎

    In the wake of Microsoft's decision to remove its Windows Azure infrastructure from the state of Washington - where a change in local tax law has upped the ...

    Microsoft's Drag-And-Drop Windows Azure Cloud

    InformationWeek - John Foley - ‎Aug 7, 2009‎

    Citing an unfavorable change in tax laws, Microsoft is moving its Windows Azure cloud from a data center in Washington state to one in Texas. ...

    Curious what Om Malik would say in BusinessWeek.  He brings up Washington D.C. is excited about the cloud, but Washington state is going to build a mega data center in the state capital of Olympia instead of Eastern Washington.

    Cloud Computing: Washington vs. Washington

    The feds want cloud computing services as part of their tech infrastructure, but Washington State plans to build its own data center

    By Om Malik

    Click here to find out more!

    partner logo

    When I spoke with U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra last month, he outlined a pragmatic approach to federal technology that involved adopting a hybrid model of data centers and cloud computing solutions. Buying infrastructure as a service instead of banking solely on energy-guzzling data centers is a good way to stretch tax dollars, he argued. Kundra's colleague, Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer of the U.S., shares his approach.

    And while cloud computing is all the rage in Washington, D.C., it seems Washington State doesn't much care for cloud computing. Instead of buying cloud computing services from homegrown cloud computing giant (AMZN) (or newly emergent cloud player, Microsoft), the state has opted to build a brand-new, $180 million data center, despite reservations from some state representatives.

    Microsoft (MSFT) is moving the data center that houses its Azure cloud services to San Antonio, from Quincy, Wash.—mostly because of unfavorable tax policies. The data centers are no longer covered by sales tax rebates—a costly proposition for Microsoft, which plans to spend many millions on new hardware for the Azure-focused data center.

    It figures as industry experts question the mega data center, state gov’ts pick up on the mega data center to use tax payers money.

    Click to read more ...


    Data Center Site Selection - Are you building an Information Fortress or a Flexible Information Factory?

    Mike Manos writes a long post on his blog driven by Microsoft’s recent decision to move Windows Azure out of Washington State.

    The Cloud Politic – How Regulation, Taxes, and National Borders are shaping the infrastructure of the cloud

    August 6, 2009 by mmanos

    Most people think of ‘the cloud’ as a technical place defined by technology, the innovation of software leveraged across a scale of immense proportions and ultimately a belief that its decisions are guided by some kind of altruistic technical meritocracy.  At some levels that is true on others one needs to remember that the ‘cloud’ is ultimately a business.  Whether you are talking about the Google cloud, the Microsoft cloud, Amazon Cloud, or Tom and Harry’s Cloud Emporium, each is a business that ultimately wants to make money.   It never ceases to amaze me that in a perfectly solid technical or business conversation around the cloud people will begin to wax romantic and lose sight of common sense.  These are very smart technical or business savvy people but for some reason the concept of the cloud has been romanticized into something almost philosophical, a belief system,  something that actually takes on the wispy characteristics that the term actually conjures up.  

    When you try to bring them down to the reality the cloud is essentially large industrial buildings full of computers, running applications that have achieved regional or even global geo-diversity and redundancy you place yourself in a tricky place that at best labels you a kill-joy and at worst a Blasphemer.

    I have been reminded of late of a topic that I have been meaning to write about. As defined by my introduction above, some may find it profane, others will choose to ignore it as it will cause them to come crashing to the ground.   I am talking about the unseemly and terribly disjointed intersection of Government regulation, Taxes, and the Cloud.   This also loops in “the privacy debate” which is a separate conversation almost all to itself.   I hope to touch on privacy but only as it touches these other aspects.

    Mike ends his post with a blasphemy.

    Ultimately the large cloud providers should care less and less about the data centers they live in.  These will be software layer attributes to program against.  Business level modifiers on code distribution.   Data Centers should be immaterial components for the Cloud providers.  Nothing more than containers or folders in which to drop their operational code.  Today they are burning through tremendous amounts of capital believing that these facilities will ultimately give them strategic advantage.   Ultimately these advantages will be fleeting and short-lived.  They will soon find themselves in a place where these facilities themselves will become a drag on their balance sheets or cause them to invest more in these aging assets.

    Please don’t get me wrong, the cloud providers have been instrumental in pushing this lethargic industry into thinking differently and evolving.   For that you need give them appropriate accolades.  At some point however, this is bound to turn into a losing proposition for them.  

    How’s that for Blasphemy?


    Most will ignore or be unable to react to Mike’s points as they are building their data centers as if they are fortresses.  The mistake in building a fortress is the buildings don’t adapt easily to changes in social, political and technology environment.

    Mike makes this point regarding Canada law.

    So far we have looked at this mostly from a taxation perspective.   But there are other regulatory forces in play.    I will use the example of Canada. The friendly frosty neighbors to the great white north of the United States.  Its safe to say that Canada and US have had historically wonderful relations with one another.   However when one looks through the ‘Cloud’ colored looking glass there are some things that jump out to the fore. 

    In response to the Patriot Act legislation after 9-11, the Canadian government became concerned with the rights given to the US government with regards to the seizure of online information.  They in turn passed a series of Safe-Harbor-like laws that stated that no personally identifiable information of Canadian citizens could be housed outside of the Canadian borders.    Other countries have done, or are in process with similar laws.   This means that at least some aspects of the cloud will need to be anchored regionally or within specific countries.    A boat can drift even if its anchored and so must components of the cloud, its infrastructure and design will need to accommodate for this.  This touches on the privacy issue I talked about before.   I don’t want to get into the more esoteric conversations of Information and where its allowed to live and not live, I try to stay grounded in the fact that whether my romantic friends like it or not, this type of thing is going to happen and the cloud will need to adapt.

    I agree totally with Mike’s points on the site selection, but this can be adapted to if you change the type of data center you are building.  The smart data center builders are adapting their designs to leverage site characteristics and increase flexibility.  Google has patented floating data centers. Microsoft has container data centers.  Mobility changes the game.

    How adaptable is your data center infrastructure?  An adaptable infrastructure is a competitive advantage.

    Click to read more ...