jan.wiersma's blog

German companies ask for Internet border patrol.

In the last year multiple companies started serving German customers out of Germany based datacenter locations.

There seems to be a specifically strong sentiment around security & privacy with German companies after the Edward Sonwden leaks. The kneejerk reaction is to mandate that servers should sit within German borders, as that would take any security & privacy concern away. Cloud providers are now starting to follow this customer demand.

My move to SDL

It’s the weekend before the holiday season and just like last year I find my self at an US airport making my way home… just in time for Christmas.

Sitting at the airport lobby, listing Christmas songs, I can’t help to reflect on the past year.

A lot has happened and things changed a lot. I have left OCOM (LeaseWeb/EvoSwitch/Dataxenter) after 2 years in September this year. Something that some of my peers in the market didn’t expect, but was long overdue. For too long I couldn’t identify myself with the way the company was run and its strategy. No good or bad here… just a big difference of opinion on vision and execution.

The last 2 months I have been able to talk to lots of different organizations in an effort to see what my next career step should be. I needed some time to recuperate from my little USA adventure with LeaseWeb & EvoSwitch. It was a great project to participate in but all the travel took a big toll on my personal life and me.

I also learned how passion for your work can be killed and what it takes to be sparked again. And how people are motivated by the Why in their jobs.

EE-IAAS – call to join IAAS energy research

The cloud market is hot. The IAAS market sees a lot of growth and new IAAS providers seem to entering the market on a daily basis. Enterprise IT shops are exploring the usage of public cloud solutions and building their own private cloud environments.

IAAS distributions like OpenStack and CloudStack seem to have thriving communities.

Organizations that are successful in deploying IAAS solutions, either for customers or internal use, see rapid growth in demand for these services.

IAAS services still need IT equipment to run on and datacenters to be housed in.  While there has been a strong focus on making the datacenter facility and IT equipment more energy efficient, not much is know about the energy efficiency of software running these IAAS services.

The need for datacenter education in emerging countries.

I recently had the privilege to travel to some of the emerging datacenter countries like Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East, Africa and some of the Asian countries.

While I was impressed with the deployment of mobile bandwidth & devices the conversations with datacenter owners and operators scared me. With more and more people getting internet access in these countries, the need for local datacenters also rises. Taking the time to really talk and listen to the stories of some of the local datacenter owners, it reminded me of the way datacenters were build and operated 10 years ago in most western countries.

Where is the rack density trend going ?

When debating capacity management in the datacenter the amount of watts consumed per rack is always a hot topic.

Years ago we could get away with building datacenters that supported 1 or 2 kW per rack in cooling and energy supply. The last few years demand for racks around 5-7kW seems the standard. Five years ago I witnessed the introduction of blade servers first hand. This generated much debate in the datacenter industry with some claiming we would all have 20+ kW racks in 5 years. This never happened… well at least not on a massive scale…

So what is the trend in energy consumption on a rack basis ?

Google's BMS got hacked. Is your datacenter BMS next ?

A recent USA Congressional survey stated that power companies are targeted by cyber attacks 10.000x per month.hacked-scada

After the 2010 discovery of the Stuxnet virus the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) established both mandatory standards and voluntary measures to protect against such cyber attacks, but most utility providers haven't implemented NERC's voluntary recommendations.

Stuxnet hit the (IT) newspaper front-pages around September 2010, when Symantec announced the discovery. It represented one of the most advanced and sophisticated viruses ever found. One that targeted specific PLC devices in nuclear facilities in Iran:

Stuxnet is a threat that was primarily written to target an industrial control system or set of similar systems. Industrial control systems are used in gas pipelines and power plants. Its final goal is to reprogram industrial control systems (ICS) by modifying code on programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to make them work in a manner the attacker intended and to hide those changes from the operator of the equipment.

DatacenterKnowledge picked up on it in 2011, asking ‘is your datacenter ready for stuxnet?’

After this article the datacenter industry didn’t seem to worry much about the subject. Most of us deemed the chance of being hacked with a highly sophisticated virus ,attacking our specific PLC’s or facility controls, very low.

Recently security company Cylance published the results of a successful hack attempt on a BMS system located at a Google office building. This successful hack attempt shows a far greater threat for our datacenter control systems.

DCIM - Its not about the tool; its about the implementation

 

Failure Success Road Sign

So you just finished your extensive purchase process and now the DCIM DVD is on your desk.

Guess what; the real work just started…

The DCIM solution you bought is just a tool, implementing it will require change in your organization. Some of the change will be small; for example no longer having to manually put data in an Excel file but have it automated in the DCIM tool. Some of the change will be bigger like defining and implementing new processes and procedures in the organization. A good implementation will impact the way everyone works in your datacenter organization. The positive outcome of that impact is largely determined by the way you handle the implementation phase.

These are some of the most important parts you should consider during the implementation period:

Before you jump in to the DCIM hype...

dilbert-information-strategy

 

You’re ready to enter the great world of DCIM software and jump right into the hype ?

Do you actually know what you need from a DCIM solution ? What are your functional requirements ?

So before you jump in, let’s take a step back and look at DataCenter Information Management from a 40,000 feet level: the datacenter facility information architecture.

Where is the open datacenter facility API ?

For some time the Datacenter Pulse top 10 has featured an item called ‘ Converged Infrastructure Intelligence‘. The 2012 presentation mentioned:stack21-forceX

Treat the DC infrastructure as an IT system;

- Converge in the infrastructure instrumentation and control systems

- Connect it into the IT systems for ultimate control

Standardize connections and protocols to connect components

With datacenter infrastructure becoming a more complex system and the need for better efficiency within the whole datacenter stack, the need arises to integrate layers of the stack and make them ‘talk’ to each other.

This is shown in the DCP Stack framework with the need for ‘integrated control systems’; going up from the (facility) real-estate layer to the (IT) platform layer.

So if we have the ‘integrated control systems’, what would we be able to do?

The green PUE monster

green-monster_thumb

My fellow Datacenter Pulse (DCP) colleague Mark Thiele wrote a good article on the use of PUE in the datacenter industry. He basically argues that you should look at the TCO of the datacenter and have a holistic view (like we promote with the DCP stack)

He opens with the ‘my PUE is better than yours remark’ we see going around in the industry. This is mentioned before by the Green Grid; the misuse of PUE. (I have written several articles about this issue on my Dutch datacenter blog)

Well guess what… we kinda created this monster ourselves;

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