Shahid Javed's blog

A Hard Thump Followed by Shaking

This morning an earthquake along the Hayward Fault shook up the San Francisco Bay Area with a 4.0+ magnitude earthquake a little before 7 a.m. Pacific time. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported that the temblor struck less than a mile north of the town of Piedmont, Calif., near Oakland.

A report from the USGS warned earlier this year that the risk of 'the big one' hitting California has increased dramatically. According to the Los Angeles times, the quake was felt most strongly on the East Bay, including Oakland, Berkeley and surrounding areas. There were no immediate reports of widespread damage.

Last year in August, Bay Area was hit by a severe 6.1 magnitude earthquake some six miles southwest of Napa and it was reported to be the largest earthquake to hit the area in 25 years. 

Silicon Valley, Bay Area Earthquake and Data Centers

Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados can devastate a community, including homes and enterprises. According to the USGS, California experiences many earthquakes each month.  Although most can’t be felt, the fact that they occur in the first place is a reason to look for a safer place to house your mission critical computing infrastructure.

As you probably know, San Francisco Bay Area is a leading hub for high-tech innovation and development, accounting for one-third of all of the venture capital investment in the United States. But, what keeps most Bay Area high-tech leaders up at night is the safety and reliability of their IT infrastructure – the threat of losing connectivity and accessibility to their critical IT systems due to natural disasters like an earthquake.

RagingWire offers highly available, reliable, and natural disaster safe data center colocation services in Northern California. Just 90 miles northeast of San Francisco Bay Area, our Sacramento data center campus "The ROCK" is far from the earthquake risk zone of Northern California. That’s why many Silicon Valley and Bay Area Internet, and enterprise companies house their computers in a low-risk location that lies outside the regional earthquake boundaries and is within driving distance of their offices.   

So, the easiest and most economical option is to select a reliable data center that is at a drivable distance and located in a disaster-free zone.

View to this on-demand webinar Data Centers and the Bay Area: Should I Stay or Should I Go? And listen to a panel of industry experts who discuss:

  • The latest market research on Bay Area data centers
  • Mitigating operational risks: earthquakes, power costs, network latency
  • Strategies for selecting and designing a robust data center platform

Demystifying the Data Center RFP

If you are shopping around for a data center now or in the near future, I am sure that you either have a request for proposal (RFP) document available or one is being put together. Several RFP templates and suggestions have been put out over the years and companies put lots of time and efforts in developing and reviewing these proposals.  

Data center RFP documents come in all different sizes, shapes and yes, even weights. In a typical RFP, there are questions around the providers corporate information, data center facility specifications, availability, service level agreements (SLA), electrical and cooling specifications, network and connectivity options, professional and support services, and of course contract and pricing. 

As a smart data center buyer, you should properly define your business goals and lay out exactly what your company is looking for in terms of your computing requirements. Be clear and concise and ask the right questions to make sure your specific and unique needs are covered for today and the future.

To develop your request for proposal (RFP) core questions, start by involving everyone within your organization, partners, and customers that will be impacted by the data center. Also, make sure your questions are fully reviewed and organized before they make it into the final document. You may rephrase your questions as necessary so that they are meaningful, understandable, and yet specific. Don’t be too vague in your questions and include any supporting documents or helpful details to the data center providers.   

The RFP is a vital part of your data center selection process and asking the right questions is absolutely critical. Click here to watch an on-demand webinar on “5 RFP Questions Buyers Must Ask a Data Center Provider”. The key takeaways from this webinar can be applied to any data center RFPs whether you are looking for a few kilowatts or several megawatts of IT load. You will also be able to download an RFP questions guideline with some additional questions that can help with your RFP and data center selection process.

Data Center RFP Questions. Watch the webinar.

The request for proposal process should be the start of a great conversation with your data center provider and asking the right questions will help you reach a smarter decision faster. Good Luck!

To Share, or Not to Share? The infrastructure dilemma of a wholesale data center customer

Enterprise customers who are searching for a data center for a 200kW or higher critical infrastructure, have a wide range of wholesale colocation providers to choose from. Besides deciding on the physical location to house their infrastructure, these customers must have some important questions to ask a colocation provider such as redundancy, power billing options, network connectivity, high density availability, scalability and services such as DCIM or remote hands. One of the biggest challenges that many of these enterprise customers face is deciding between the infrastructure delivery options that are available in the industry.

Most colocation providers follow any one of the two delivery models for providing infrastructure to wholesale customers: Shared or Dedicated. The traditional wholesale colocation design is based on dedicated infrastructure, where the customer is allocated a fixed infrastructure that maybe isolated from other customers. Dedicated infrastructure can be difficult and costly to scale beyond the initial allocation and usually comes with lower availability due to the small number of fault domains.

In a shared infrastructure colocation design, the customer is allocated a portion of the total infrastructure of the facility. Often, these shared elements are oversubscribed, relying on multiple customers not to reach or exceed their usage at the same time. Due to oversubscription of power, shared facilities can be less expensive, but more risky.

So, which infrastructure delivery model is the best fit for a wholesale customer? Is there a third option?

Data Center - Shared vs. Dedicated InfrastructureThis whitepaper presents RagingWire’s distributed redundancy model which is an enhancement of shared and dedicated infrastructure models. The load is distributed at the UPS and generator level across the facility, using a patented 2N+2 electrical design. Using this scalable system, RagingWire does not oversubscribe its infrastructure so customers are not at risk from the load or actions of other customers. This model also provides the highest level of provable availability in the industry, and it allows for a robust SLA for wholesale colocation: 100% Availability with no exclusions for maintenance. The authors also compare and identify benefits and pitfalls of the three power delivery models and offer practical advice to businesses looking for wholesale colocation. Click here to download this white paper.

And The Award Goes To...

It was a cold and rainy evening in New York City but Gotham Hall which is an old art deco style building on Broadway Street was buzzing with dressed up data center industry professionals. The 2014 Datacenter Dynamics North American awards ceremony was taking place at this remarkable and dramatic venue.

The annual Datacenter Dynamics Awards recognize and celebrate individual and team project excellence at a technical and business level across the data center world. With a heavy focus on innovative practices, these awards are handed out in 11 categories from the more than 200 submissions. RagingWire submitted entries in two categories this year, “Innovation in IT Optimization” and “Datacenter Special Assignment Team of the Year.” Both entries were selected as finalists by a distinguished panel of judges for the prestigious Datacenter Dynamics Awards which are also known as the ‘Oscars’ of the datacenter industry.

The swanky gala started out in a large rotunda with a networking reception followed by the dinner and award ceremony. We waited nervously at our table as the award ceremony began and the winners were being announced. The award for ‘Innovation in IT optimization’ category was announced first and we did not win that category. Next award was for the ‘Datacenter Special Assignment Team of the Year’ category. The competition was fierce as we were selected along with Digital Realty Trust and Sabey Data Centers who had both already won awards that evening. At that time, we had psyched ourselves up to lose in that category as well, just so that we wouldn’t be disappointed.

The announcement was made for this category and the nominees were named. After a short pause we heard, “And the award goes to... RagingWire Data Centers”. What a great feeling it was. We all stood up, high-fived each other, shouted with joy and walked up to the stage to receive our ‘Oscar’ of the night! RagingWire’s in-house commissioning taskforce had won the 2014 award for ‘Datacenter Special Assignment Team of the Year’ category. 

Datacenter Dynamics North American Awards 2014

RagingWire’s in-house commissioning taskforce

Commissioning (Cx) is a critical step in the design and construction of any new to existing data center facility, system or addition. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), asserts that the focus of commissioning is “verifying and documenting that the facility and all of its systems and assemblies are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated and maintained to meet the needs of the owner.”

Most datacenters outsource their commissioning process. At RagingWire, we have an in-house commissioning process. Here are some of the advantages of in-house commissioning:

  • Better communications and process flow between construction and operations
  • Reduce life cycle and increased ROI
  • Continuous quality control and process improvements
  • Increased customer support through the sales cycle and occupancy.

The RagingWire’s in-house commissioning task force was established as an opportunity to improve the quality and speed of critical commissioning process as we are rapidly expanding in our existing Ashburn, Virginia and Sacramento, California campuses and also our plans for entering into new markets in the United States. The taskforce developed a central process and comprehensive method of procedure (MOP) documentation to facilitate communication across functional areas, learn from past experiences to continually improve processes, implement changes to future efforts using industry best practices, and formalize a gold standard for an in-house commissioning process. The RagingWire in-house commissioning task force has significantly improved the commissioning workflow, contributing to our 100% availability and superior customer experience.

To learn more about the commissioning process, please click here and watch a video which was also put together by our in-house commissioning task force for our sales team training.

2014 is the second year for the Datacenter Dynamics North American Awards. RagingWire is proud to have been named a finalist in both 2013 and 2014!

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