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    The Art of the Green Data Center – Wind, Water, and Energy

    Julius Neudorfer wrote an article on Feng Shui and the Art of the Data Center.

    Feng Shui and the Art of the Data Center

    Data Center | Blog Post | Julius Neudorfer, Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Tags: Cooling Systems, Green Technology

    I am in the midst of designing a new data center for a client and have been trying to balance the requirements of costs, space limitations, maximum number of cabinets and the flexibility to meet the rising and ever-changing power density of the IT equipment loads. Of course, high energy efficiency is a given. In addition, the client is especially concerned about esthetics and how it will look when a visitor enters the room.

    My wife was reading a book on Feng Shui and suggested that I begin to incorporate it into my thinking. Not having enough time to become a Feng Shui master by the project’s deadline, I did some quick reading and found this definition:

    Feng Shui is an ancient art of placement to bring balance and harmony to a physical space. The loose translation of Feng Shui is 'wind and water.' Feng represents the wind that carries the chi (energy) throughout a space. Shui is the water that meanders underneath the earth transporting chi.

    Julius makes the connection to data centers here.

    And while I don’t think that they had a data center in mind when Feng Shui was first introduced hundreds of years ago, I found a strong parallel to the data center’s infrastructure in the definition. The three elements that are mentioned, wind (airflow), water (chilled water) and energy (power), all apply to the operation of a data center and of course, we also want to bring “balance and harmony to a physical space”.

    This brings up an interesting view of the use of Wind vs Water – Air cooling vs. Water Cooling, a debate that reminds me of people arguing political views.

    What most miss is in the spirit of Feng Shui your goal is to be in balance and harmony with the physical space.  Some sites are better for wind, some for water while watching your energy use.

    If I hear someone debate air vs. water for specific site, the conversation’s are usually resolved quickly with a mutual understanding.

    Why is this debate so heated?  Many times it is fueled by equipment vendors who have proxies (people) for their technology.

    Click to read more ...


    100, one hundred job openings in Amazon Web Services!

    You can read many things into what it means that AWS has 100 open positions in its developer resources.

    Job Openings in AWS Developer Resources

    I'd like to highlight a few of the nearly one hundred open positions on the AWS team. If you are a software engineer, manager, technical writer, program manager, or product manager and you like to work on cutting-edge projects with world-scale impact, you owe it to yourself to look at these positions.

    Is Amazon having a hard time finding the right people?

    Is AWS growing so fast they can’t staff quick enough?

    Does this have an effect on service levels?

    The AWS posted some of their postings to get your attention.

    If you want to make it even easier for our development community to build amazing applications, I'd urge you to check out these positions:

    • Senior Program Manager – You are passionate about great customer user experiences and understand how to organize and drive distributed development projects running under tight deadlines.  You will own the process, schedule, and success of several AWS teams building rich internet applications which enable customers to use our cloud computing services through point-and-click interfaces (position 92278).
    • Senior Software Developer – You will fundamentally change the way people build, deploy, and manage cloud applications in a small team running fast to offer AWS customers a brand new service.  You will apply your experience building reliable, scalable, data driven distributed applications, knowledge of web protocols, and in-depth knowledge of several application servers, Linux tools and Java EE architectures. (position 109479).
    • PHP SDK Developer – You are an experienced PHP developer with a passion for PHP APIs and a desire to help thousands of PHP developers use the AWS cloud to build PHP-based web and Facebook applications quickly (position 110634).
    • Software Developer – You are a self-starting, self-directing Java developer who is creative and passionate about developing web-based applications which will be used by thousands of developers (position 110635).
    • Senior Development Manager – You are a dynamic, innovative, and hands-on software development manager who will lead the production of AJAX web apps that enable customers to use our cloud computing services through point-and-click, web-based interfaces.  You will be responsible for leading a central platform team of talented and nimble engineers that work with several teams across AWS to produce great developer tools and websites for our customers (position 110632).
    • Senior Technical Writer – You are passionate about making it easy for developers to get started with AWS services and to gain a deeper understanding through technical documentation.  You believe strongly in providing world-class, error-free documentation and will get your hands dirty with code samples and command line tools to validate your understanding (positions 111118, 108280).
    • Software Development Engineer / Test - You are a customer advocate and passionate about ensuring the AWS management console provides an error-free user experience which delights customers by automating testing and deployment processes (positions 111171, 110638)

    But the posting that got my attention was this Sr. Business Development Manager – AWS Federal Government.

    As a business development leader for Amazon Web Services (AWS) focusing on the US Federal Government Sector, you will have the exciting opportunity to help shape and deliver on a strategy to build mind share and adoption of Amazon's platform of infrastructure web services (Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, Amazon CloudFront, Amazon SimpleDB, and Amazon SQS). Your broad responsibilities will include helping to further expand AWS to key federal government agencies and partners by establishing both business and technical relationships, and managing the day-to-day interactions with these organizations. The ideal candidate will posses both a business background (with a focus on the federal market) that enables them to drive an engagement and interact at the CXO/VP level, as well as a technical background that enables them to easily interact with software developers and architects. He/she should also have a demonstrated ability to think strategically about business, product, and technical challenges for both AWS customers as well as AWS.

    It will be interesting to see the battle for cloud computing solutions in the federal gov’t sector.  This is where IBM, HP, Cisco, Oracle, and Microsoft will be fighting hard head to head.

    Click to read more ...


    Amazon Web Services network issues, transparency of data spreads from cloudkick

    Amazon has a phenomenal amount of data on AWS and much of that data is shared with the partner community,.  One partner is cloudkick.


    visualize important metrics like http latency and ping - from multiple data centers.


    set up monitoring in a just a few clicks
    get alerts when services go critical
    monitor ping, http, https & ssh

    Cloudkick wrote this post on Amazon’s network performance issues.

    Visual evidence of Amazon EC2 network issues

    Update: After seeing this story picked up, we ran our numbers again to demonstrate a broader picture of the issue at hand. We ran a sample of ping latency across several hundred EC2 instances managed by Cloudkick located in the US-East availability zone. Below you will see that the issues started around Christmas, and have been on-going since.

    Sample ping latency across several hundred EC2 instances

    An average ping latency of 50ms (as seen in the period between 11-30 and 12-14) is relatively low and normal. The spikes in latencies up to 1000ms are definitely abnormal, and should never be encountered on healthy private network.

    Amazon has a great track record in performance and reliability, so this is why we are so surprised by this data. As Amazon spokesperson Kay Kinton said, “When customers report a problem they are having, we take it very seriously. Sometimes this means working with customers to tweak their configurations or it could mean making modifications in our services to assure maximum performance.”

    Original post:

    A couple of weeks ago we noticed that our ping latency graphs on Cloudkick looked very odd.

    EC2 to EC2 ping average

    This post was picked by DataCenterKnowledge

    Amazon: We Don’t Have Cloud Capacity Issues

    January 14th, 2010 : Rich Miller

    A chart from CloudKick looking at latency for resources running on Amazon EC2.

    A chart from CloudKick looking at latency for resources running on Amazon EC2.

    One of the key selling points for cloud computing is scalability: the ability to handle traffic spikes smoothly without the expense and hassle of adding more dedicated servers. But this week some users of Amazon EC2 are reporting that their apps on the cloud computing service are having problems scaling efficiently, and suggesting that this uneven performance could be due to capacity problems in Amazon’s data center

    And Register as news, and refers to DataCenterKnowledge and cloudkick.

    "Amazon has a great track record in performance and reliability, so this is why we are so surprised by this data," reads Cloudkick's blog post on the matter.

    Cloudkick's numbers are limited to Amazon's "US-East" availability zone. EC2 serves up processing power from two separate geographic locations - the US and Europe - and each geographic region is split into multiple zones designed never to vanish at the same time.

    enStratus, an outfit similar to Cloudkick, confirms the latency increase, but it says the spike is significantly smaller. Response time from the company's network into "all regions" of the Amazon cloud increased by 10 per cent on January 9, enStratus CTO George Reese tellsThe Reg, and it has remained roughly that high ever since. Reese's sample size is around 300 server instances.

    Cloudkick and enStratus released their data in the wake of a blog post from Alan Williamson, co-head of the UK-based cloud consultancy AW2.0, who asked whether Amazon was experiencing capacity issues after one of his customers experienced a serious slowdown beginning at the end of last year. "We began noticing [the problem] around the end of November," Williamson tells The Reg. "We had been running with Amazon for approximately 20 months with absolutely no problems whatsoever. We could throw almost anything at them and it wouldn't even hiccup."

    Echoing what Cloudkick and enStratrus have seen, Williamson says he eventually traced the problem back to network latency. On the application in question, the average time needed to turn around a web request jumped from about 2 to 3 milliseconds to about between 50 and 100 milliseconds.

    Responding to an inquiry about the post from Data Center Knowledge, Amazon said that their infrastructure does not have capacity issues. And this afternoon, the company sent a similar statement to The Reg.

    "We do not have over-capacity issues. When customers report a problem they are having, we take it very seriously," a company spokeswoman said. "Sometimes this means working with customers to tweak their configurations or it could mean making modifications in our services to assure maximum performance."

    Click to read more ...


    Top 5 Data Center Construction Companies

    It can be hard to figure out who are the top data center construction companies and in this economy it is even more difficult than ever.  With the rule of Fight Club for data centers it is hard for a non-insider to figure out who does what as almost everyone says they are a leader.

    Wal-Mart, Data Centers and The Fight Club Rule

    June 3rd, 2006 : Rich Miller

    “The first rule of Fight Club is – you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is – you DO NOT talk about Fight Club.”

    Based on conversations with people who should know who builds what in the USA, and not a scientific survey here is what I can gather are the top 5 data center construction companies in order.

    Also, the nice thing is every one of these construction companies has a green data center skill set.

    #1 Holder Construction.

    Data & Technology

    Holder Construction Company is the industry leader in Data Center construction. Holder has maintained the #1 ranking on ENR’s Top 10 Data Center Contractors list for the past three years. Holder’s reputation for delivering the highest level of service on mission critical data center facilities is second to none.

    • Experience on over 100 data center projects in last 10 years
    • Over 7 million square feet of space
    • Over 3.5 million square feet of raised floor
    • Over 50 new construction projects
    • Majority of facilities have a fault tolerant, concurrently maintainable design
    • Experience in data center construction in 21 states and 2 foreign countries
    • Leader of LEED data center construction

    #2 StructureTone

    When it comes to mission critical construction, we deliver 24/7/365.

    Featured Project

    Retail Client


    As a joint-venture partner, we managed construction of a new, 98,000sf facility data center that  More…

    Having built over 21,000,000sf of mission critical facilities at all levels of density and redundancy, we are acutely aware of the quality and resilency demands that are unique to mission critical spaces. We are also attune to the specific, and differing, requirements that these demands place on operators, end-users and designers.
    Not simply a mission critical builder, Structure Tone offers our mission critical customers 360◦ solutions that encompass technology, facilities, design and construction. Our dedicated mission critical construction staff is comprised of mechanical, electrical, technology, commissioning and construction professionals who have unmatched, hands-on experience developing, installing, building and commissioning complex, redundant infrastructure. In addition, many of our mission critical specialists have walked in our customers shoes as mission critical operators and/or end-users.

    #3 Turner Construction

    Project Management to Meet Your Specific Needs

    Turner believes in collaboration and bringing value to every aspect of a project. Turner’s mission critical facility experience and service offerings include:

    • LEED Accredited staff experienced in critical facilities projects, including construction managers, electrical and mechanical specialists and supply chain managers with extensive product, manufacturing and commissioning experience
    • Customized software applications to increase communication for real-time updates and proactive issue resolution in preconstruction, construction, commissioning, and post turnover operations

    #4 DPR Construction

    Web-hosting. Colocation. Telecom. Data processing. Call Center. DPR’s proven technical expertise hyper-tracks the delivery of mission critical facilities. Every day presents new opportunities for exploring alternative techniques to improve design and construction in a 24x7 environment. DPR’s building specialists look at each project with a fresh approach to provide the right team and services for the job. Offering customers a single point of contact and up-front collaboration to shorten schedules and control costs, DPR takes the process to new heights with its program management, construction management and design/build capabilities, ensuring that facilities are ready to ramp up to full running capacity immediately upon completion and continue operating without failure.

    View All Mission Critical Projects

    #5 Skanska Construction

    Skanska is a world leader in data center and resilient infrastructure construction. Capitalizing on our mission critical expertise, Skanska has developed the Mission Critical Center of Excellence (“COE”). Our team of experts offers an end-to-end service from initial design through commissioning and close-out.  Additionally, we also offer energy optimization services for new and existing data centers.

    Mission Critical

    Click to read more ...


    Marketing Cloud Computing, why Amazon and Google have the advantage

    i have been resisting the cloud computing hype as I am sure many of you have, but I’ve started to look at Cloud Computing as an agent to change the behavior of IT to be greener in the data center.

    There are skeptics to the hype.

    Merrill Lynch: Cloud Computing Market Will Reach $160 Billion...Really?

    Written by Alex Williams / November 25, 2009 11:40 AM / 8 Comments

    « Prior PostNext Post »

    cloud-question-mark.jpgThe estimates for cloud computing can make you wonder sometimes about what to believe. Analyst firms and it looks like investment houses, can be notorious for wild estimates about market sizes.

    So we have to wonder about the estimates from Merrill Lynch, which is estimating the cloud computing market to reach $160 billion by 2011.The estimate includes $95 billion in business and productivity applications.

    Whoa! That makes cloud computing one of the fastest growing markets in the world.

    But Merrill Lynch is not alone in its lofty estimates. Earlier this year, Gartner pegged the market at $150 billion by 2013.

    In other words, cloud computing will be huge but to call it a $160 billion market seems like a form of hype that can lead to all kinds of issues. It's almost reminiscent of the dot-com bubble.

    And look what happened there.

    The same report discusses the business and and technical reasons of why Cloud Computing is good.

    But then you need to look at the dynamics in play. IT is built on legacy systems, custom, built to order environments. Cloud computing provides a level of automation.

    From the PriceWaterhouseCoopers summer Technology Forecast:

    "Legacy IT soaks up much of the available IT budget and is a primary barrier to IT responsiveness and overall business agility."

    The report goes on to say that cloud will be necesssary for automating the world of IT:

    "...IT must adopt an architecture that creates loose coupling between the IT infrastructure and application workloads. It also must modernize and automate IT's own internal business processes for provisioning, managing, and orchestrating infrastructure resources."

    With all this speculation it is hard to know what works in cloud computing.

    Which is why I think Amazon and Google have the advantage.  They have the data that shows where there is the adoption of cloud computing.

    Marketing the Cloud Computing covers an interesting point here.

    May 12, 2009

    Marketing Cloud Computing: Uncharted Territories

    One of the aspects of cloud computing that receives too little attention is the massive change it brings to how software and IT infrastructure are marketed, sold, purchased and serviced. Through my work at GigaSpaces, and now advising start-ups and large companies with various cloud offerings, I have come to realize how much marketing cloud computing is still uncharted territory  -- and especially when it comes to the enterprise.

    Many of the value propositions cloud brings to the table have been commonplace in the consumer Internet for more than a decade: self-service, ease-of-use, pay-by-the-drink pricing and so on. The same is true from the vendor's point-of-view: a low-touch, low-value, high-volume and short sales cycle. It's no surprise then that consumer-oriented companies, such as Amazon and Google, are the ones leading the charge in what is essentially a B2B market.

    Click to read more ...