Posts Tagged ‘colocation’

 

How Cloud Computing has Transformed my Data Center!

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 by

Like many of you, I’m a huge fan of cloud computing. I’ve been lucky enough to see first-hand how the cloud has enabled thousands of companies worldwide get started without having to spend large amounts of CapEx or commit to long term OpEx contracts just to realize an idea or launch a product without any notion of whether it will be a bust or the next big thing.

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I started working at GoGrid’s originating company ServePath in 2005 where our main product lines were dedicated servers and collocation services. ServePath was a pioneer in dedicated managed servers at a time when private networks and load balancing on shared network infrastructure were not yet productized.

John Keagy, GoGrid’s Founder & CEO (now Executive Chairman), was always pushing the boundaries within the four walls of our data center with his motto, “complex infrastructure made easy.” It was with this vision that GoGrid was developed and became a very successful provider of Infrastructure as a Service. However it’s also because of that same vision the GoGrid Ops team has spent countless hours at a whiteboard figuring out how to support “complex infrastructure made easy”.

In the six-plus years of building out our data centers and revamping them to support the constant growth of our cloud computing platform, one thing has stayed constant: power density continues to increase. When we first filled up our flagship San Francisco facility, we had power capacity to spare. As the growth of our dedicated server service became even more compelling over collocation, we started seeing an uptick in our power utilization per rack; power density was increasing from 2-3 kilowatts per rack up to 4-5 kilowatts per rack – that is when we first realized that power could become our limiting factor in our data center if this trend continued. In 2007 when GoGrid was being developed, we were asked to build out the infrastructure to support 7 – 10 kilowatts per rack, a 250% – 500% increase in power density per rack! At 2-3 kilowatts per rack, imagine you’re sitting in a small office with a space heater and you turn it on full blast, it can get a bit warm, however you can stay in the room and continue to work. When we were tasked to build racks at 7- 10 kilowatts, it was like adding 25 space heaters in the same size room; unless you make some changes to your cooling system and redesign your rack layout, you are going to feel the heat real fast. As you can imagine, not only did this create a challenge in regards to supporting that much power, cooling that much power became quite a challenge as well. But we have overcome these challenges and continue to grow.

You may be wondering how much is GoGrid’s power bill with that type of power density, and whether it is even economically scalable. Without breaking out the spreadsheets, I can assure you that one of the many benefits of cloud computing is power saving. You see, in the past, 20 servers could be supported by a dedicated server rack drawing 2 – 3 kilowatts of power, but now we can support over 2,000 virtual (multi-tenant) servers with the same rack drawing 7-10- kilowatts of power! Feel free to call me a bit of a geek, but it’s that type of efficiency that excites me to work at one of the world’s leading infrastructure as service companies.

There have been and will continue to be many challenges that the Ops Team will face as we transform our datacenters to support GoGrid’s cloud infrastructure, stories that I will be happy to share both the challenges and the benefits in future postings. For now, I hope I have given you a bit of insight into GoGrid and the power benefits that come with cloud computing.

The Actual Truth About the Economics of Cloud Computing

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 by

Don’t let the media fool you. Which of these actually make cloud computing financially compelling?

  1. Super cheap power, such as hydro-electric
  2. Shipping container datacenters
  3. Massive datacenters
  4. Blade servers
  5. Datacenters with super-efficient cooling
  6. VMware virtualization licenses
  7. Pay-as-you-go pricing
  8. Automation
  9. Shared platforms
  10. Commodity hardware

The answer is NOT “all of the above”! If you said “pay-as-you-go pricing, automation, shared platforms, and commodity hardware” then you win. In fact, these four concepts are so powerful that I believe that they will shrink the entire IT economy. IT shrinking? How could that be possible? Yes, I think that the $3.3 trillion dollar global IT economy could be cut in half. When I’ve made this declaration before I’ve been likened to the commissioner of the US Patent Office who was rumored to have said:

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. patent office, 1899 (attributed)

In truth he didn’t say this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_H._Duell

But I’m still saying that I think we’re currently seeing the peak of complexity and cost in IT. IT is going to get easier and less expensive from this point forward. There. You have it in writing. (more…) «The Actual Truth About the Economics of Cloud Computing»

Financial and Technology Markets are “Cloudy”

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008 by

Perhaps that subject was not strong enough. The Financial Sector is currently weathering a hurricane, recently suffering the largest drop since 9/11. Merrill Lynch fell into the hands of Bank of America. Lehman Brothers is in bankruptcy and looking for a buyer with Barclays buying some of their assets. The Airline industry is failing. AIG and other financial companies are looking for some sort of an economic bailout. HP is eliminating 24,600 jobs. And this was all over just a few days. If one extends the look a bit further, the perspective is just a grim: gas prices going up, the dollar losing value and housing going down. One simply cannot be surprised by any of this.

Source: e*Trade graph of Dow Jones on 9/16/08

The Tech Sector is getting hammered as well, but this time, it isn’t “our fault.” The Dot Com bust managed to drag down the other sectors last time, but we learned our lesson. Long gone are unproven businesses and their associated models. Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors are taking long looks at business, not just getting in the car for a drive but doing a full check under the hood, looking at the road both ahead and behind and fully vetting the drivers and passengers. To get money as a start-up is truly an accomplishment nowadays. You have to have a proven business model, installed user base, and a clear direction of where your company and your industry will go.

I recently attended TechCrunch 50 which showcases 50 startups and allows them to present their business or service to a panel of experts. I saw about 1/2 of the companies’ presentations and I noticed that the companies where they couldn’t articulate or prove their monetization strategy, these companies got an earful of criticism from the experts. Similarly, at a meetup in San Francisco, the question asked every presenter is “How are you making or going to make money?” It’s a very simple question, but one that must be answered or the company loses credibility.

Perhaps we should apply these same simple questions to the Financial, Housing and Airline Industries? I guess the markets are already doing that.

It will take a long time before all of these markets start to recover, and corporations and businesses are currently challenged to prevent the hemorrhage of money and capital expenditures within their IT infrastructure. I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal called “Cutting Tech’s Energy Bill” by William M. Bulkeley that discusses how large companies are looking at ways to cut electricity usage within the Enterprise. With energy costs directly and indirectly rising, it’s critical for the embattled IT manager or director to make fiscally sound and environmentally responsible decisions to keep their business moving forward will simultaneously ensuring that their technology progresses.

(more…) «Financial and Technology Markets are “Cloudy”»

Trending Various Computing Terms – “Clouds” are getting Congested

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008 by

I spent some time analyzing search trends of different computing keywords to try to put everything in perspective. Google trends is a nice too that gives insight into broad search patterns.

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We all know that the term “Cloud Computing” is relatively new to the Technology buzz. But just how new is it? For starters, I ran a quick comparison of “Cloud Computing,” “Grid Computing” and “Utility Computing”.

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The term Grid Computing has been around for a while (even before Google Trends tracking shows it). But as you can see from the graphic above, it is trending downwards. Utility Computing has pretty much remained below the radar in comparison. But, the newcomer Cloud Computing, which made its full entrance into this trend analysis around 2007 is rapidly gaining momentum. 2008 seems to be a pivotal time where it surpassed Grid Computing (and continues to grow).

Cloud computing is relatively new as a server hosting term. People are starting to loosely associate it with traditional hosted server solutions. So to put this all in perspective as well as add some other “hot” keywords in to the mix, I trended the following:

  • Cloud computing
  • Grid computing
  • Dedicated server
  • Colocation
  • Virtualization

(more…) «Trending Various Computing Terms – “Clouds” are getting Congested»