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    Monday
    Oct062014

    One Good thing about a Break up, Fighting Change is Not Accepted

    HP hit the news with its breakup following eBay/Paypal, and there are even rumors of Cisco.

    With HP and eBay breakups already underway, could Cisco be next?

    4 HOURS AGO
    SUMMARY:

    In its present state, Cisco is too big and slow to compete in a downsizing world of IT vendors, according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue.

    ...

    Given that Hewlett-Packard is already bifurcating itself into an enterprise company and a PC-and-printer vendor, eBay is breaking out PayPal as a separate entity, and Elliott Management is pushing EMC to spin out VMware, it’s clear that big companies are under tremendous pressure to “maximize shareholder value” by breaking themselves apart.

    The main focus on what most people write is how much better it is financially to split the companies up.  So is that the only reason to split, because financially it is a better deal?

    One thing a split does is there are going to be massive changes in the organizations.  Who is responsible for what.  How big do teams need to be.  If economies of scale worked perfectly, then it should be less efficient to be split.  Too many times the way things are done is people protecting their territory.  When your territory is split in pieces you can’t say no don’t split my group up.  You will split and be a participant or we will add you to the list of people who should be part of the layoffs.  Oh, yeh, I am totally supportive of the split.  Count me, and keep my job.

    Friday
    Oct032014

    Facebook 14% Renewable, Google 35% - % renewable power in 2013

    Facebook released its carbon disclosure here back in June 2014.

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     Google released its carbon disclosure here back in the last month or two.

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    Facebook has 14% clean and renewable power.  Google has 35% with 24% coming from PPA, power purchase agreements.

    Friday
    Oct032014

    99.99% available services, Are Tiers relevant? The Cloud may be more disruptive than misinformed

    Uptime Institute has a post in Response to an AFCOM post on Tier Standards.


    An abbreviated version of this column was written for Data Center Knowledge in response to an interview with AFCOM Denver Chapter President Hector Diaz, on September 11, 2014.

    ...

    The Tier standards offered by the Uptime Institute can often be confusing at present.

    Tiers are summarized as these 4 levels.

    • Tier IV - Fault tolerant site infrastructure
    • Tier III - Concurrently maintainable site infrastructure
    • Tier II - Redundant capacity components site infrastructure (redundant)
    • Tier I - Basic site infrastructure (non-redundant)

    So when you want a highly available service you would assume you need a Tier 3 or 4 data center.  But for services like Netflix, eBay, and Google, there are 3-5 data centers running services where a data center can go down and services are still available.  I don’t ever hear these guys talking about they have built Tier 3 or 4 data centers.  Heck, Netflix proudly says they don’t need data centers, using Amazon and Google Cloud Services.

    Given 99% or more of start up are using the cloud to build services and following guidance like AWS architecture for high availability services, are Tier ratings of data center relevant?

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    Instead of talking about tiers, highly available cloud services talk about availability zones.

    Regions and Availability Zones

    Amazon EC2 is hosted in multiple locations world-wide. These locations are composed of regions and Availability Zones. Each region is a separate geographic area. Each region has multiple, isolated locations known as Availability Zones. Amazon EC2 provides you the ability to place resources, such as instances, and data in multiple locations. Resources aren't replicated across regions unless you do so specifically.

    Amazon operates state-of-the-art, highly-available data centers. Although rare, failures can occur that affect the availability of instances that are in the same location. If you host all your instances in a single location that is affected by such a failure, none of your instances would be available.

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    While AFCOM and Uptime Institute debate Tier Standards, the technology community is moving to Availability Zones practices. 

    Netflix just survived the unavoidable rebooting of 10% of its cassandra servers in AWS due to Xen maintenance.  And Netflix has survived a variety of data center outages in AWS as well.

    A State of Xen - Chaos Monkey & Cassandra

     
    On Sept 25th, 2014 AWS notified users about an EC2 Maintenance where “a timely security and operational update” needed to be performed that required rebooting a large number of instances. (around 10%)  On Oct 1st, 2014 AWS sent an updated about the status of the reboot and XSA-108.


    While we’d love to claim that we weren’t concerned at all given our resilience strategy, the reality was that we were on high alert given the potential of impact to our services.  We discussed different options, weighed the risks and monitored our services closely.  We observed that our systems handled the reboots extremely well with the resilience measures we had in place.  These types of unforeseen events reinforce regular, controlled chaos and continued to invest in chaos engineering is necessary. In fact, Chaos Monkey was mentioned as a best practice in the latest EC2 Maintenance update.
     
    Friday
    Oct032014

    Morning View sets the tone for the day

    The other day one of my data center friends came over with his dad who was visiting from San Antonio, Texas.  My cousins were raised in San Antonio and one still lives there.  I’ve gone to a few Longhorn football games with my cousin who was an all american swimmer at UT so I’ve got a chance to experience Texas as local do.

    My friends Dad had made his first trip to Seattle and the weather was great this past week.  It rained one day with a bit of drizzle and this morning is a bit of clouds.  

    Below is this mornings view from home.  Yes, my friends dad realized he needs to visit his son more often.

    Today is a day I can spend chatting with friends on ideas to transform the industry and the cloud.  I think part of what is nice is staring out the window I can dream without worrying about bozos.  oops, HR will get mad at me for calling someone a bozo.  oh, wait there is no HR.  and, there are no bozos in the house/home office.

    I’ve put my roots in Redmond, WA.  Been here for 22 years.  After 14 years at Microsoft it was time to leave.  Now I spend more of my time in the Cloud which luckily has Seattle as a hub.  Amazon, Microsoft, Google, HP, and so many more are realizing the Seattle area is a place to be work on the cloud.

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    Thursday
    Oct022014

    Hydropower from the cooling tower, Honda did it, should a data center?

    We’ve all stared at cooling towers.  How many of you thought hey let’s see if we can recover some of the energy from the falling water?  Think it’s not worth it?  Honda didn’t.

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    They were able to get 5.3 kW from the turbine.

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