James Leach's blog

Get Your Copy – The Launch of InterGlobix Magazine!

When we first heard of a new magazine called InterGlobix that would cover “the intersection of data centers, connectivity, luxury, and lifestyle” we were intrigued to say the least. What would the articles be about? What would the magazine look like?

InterGlobix far exceeded our expectations. It’s gorgeous and full of great articles on the industry.

Publishers Jasmine Bedi and Vinay Nagpal utilized their industry experience, publishing savvy, and tireless, round-the-clock dedication to generate the premier issue of InterGlobix magazine, which debuted with 140 pages of interesting information and compelling visuals delivered with a lustrous look and feel.

James Leach, VP of Marketing with InterGlobix Founder, Vinay Nagpal at RagingWire Data Centers

RagingWire was honored to be featured in several places in the magazine, which was launched globally in markets including the U.S., South America, the UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Monaco, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Singapore. Look for RagingWire in:

  1. CEO Diaries” where RagingWire President and CEO Doug Adams writes a first-person account of his travels to integrate RagingWire into the global data center platform of NTT with 140 data centers in 20 countries.
  2. An article titled “A Visual Exploration of RagingWire’s Newest Pacesetter in Ashburn” that highlights our state-of-the-art VA3 Data Center in Ashburn, Virginia, the #1 data center market in the world.
  3. A cover story called “The Godfather of Data Center Alley” about industry icon Buddy Rizer, Executive Director of Economic Development for Loudoun County, Virginia. Check out the photo shoot of Buddy dressed as “the godfather” at various spots throughout our Ashburn Data Center Campus, currently home to the VA3 Data Center and future home to VA4, VA5…and beyond.]

Click here to subscribe to InterGlobix so you can have your own copy of the magazine and read it online.

Data Center Knowledge: Hyperscale Cloud Case Study (webinar and white paper)

The cloud changes everything – the computers we buy (or don’t buy), the way we write applications, how we collect and store data, and the design and location of our data centers.

Selecting the right West Coast data center solutionRagingWire is home to many top cloud providers. We are working with them to turn their requirements for space, power, cooling, telecommunications, and security into data center designs. You can see these designs deployed across our data center portfolio, including our CA3 Data Center in Sacramento, our TX1 Data Center in Dallas, and our VA3 Data Center in Ashburn, Virginia.

To help us better understand the impact of cloud computing on data centers, we hired Bill Kleyman, Featured Cloud and Data Center Analyst at Data Center Knowledge, one of the largest industry websites, to study how cloud providers and Fortune 1000 enterprises are optimizing their data centers worldwide and the unique data center requirements found in Northern California, one of the top data center markets in the world.

Based on this research, Bill wrote the white paper “Hyperscale Cloud Case Study: Selecting the Right West Coast Data Center Solution” and produced a webinar on the subject, both featuring Groupon, a global leader in local and online commerce.

Click here to download the white paper and watch the webinar.

Here are some of the key findings from the white paper and webinar:

  • Cloud applications require data centers in key internet hub locations in order to manage network latency
  • Having a data center near Silicon Valley and the Bay Area is preferred, but it is best to be outside the earthquake zone in order to reduce risk and lower costs
  • Data center scalability and flexibility are critical to support ongoing cloud capacity
  • Rigid IT architectures are being replaced with hybrids
  • As applications scale, the flexibility of the cloud can be outweighed by escalating costs
  • Multi-megawatt, large footprint deployments are driving the need for wholesale data center colocation
  • Carrier neutrality and direct cloud connectivity are required, improving reliability and performance and reducing costs
  • Using a wholesale colocation provider provides significantly faster time to delivery than deploying a traditional powered shell

VIDEO: 451 Research on the Dallas Data Center Market

With over 100 analysts worldwide, 451 Research is one of the top industry analyst firms covering the competitive dynamics of innovation in technology and digital infrastructure, from edge to core.

We were honored that Kelly Morgan, Research Vice President, and Stefanie Williams, Associate Analyst, both from 451 attended the grand opening of our Dallas TX1 Data Center on April 18, 2017.

Kelly’s team tracks hosting, managed services, and multi-tenant data center providers worldwide. They study providers, do market sizing, analyze supply and demand, and provide insights into the dynamics of the industry. In addition, 451 maintains two critical strategic tools: the Datacenter Knowledgebase, an authoritative data base with more than 100 data points on 4,500 global data centers, and the M&A Knowledgebase of 50,000 tech transactions.

In short, 451 Research knows data centers!

After the grand opening celebration, we invited Kelly to spend a day with us to tour our TX1 Data Center and talk with our President and CEO, Doug Adams. This video shares highlights of the tour and conversation as well as Kelly’s insights into the booming Dallas data center market.

According to Kelly, Dallas is the third largest data center market in the U.S. with 100 leasable data centers measuring 3,000,000 square feet and 300 megawatts – and growing fast! 

RagingWire’s Dallas Data Center Campus sits on 42 acres of land and will ultimately have five interconnected buildings totaling 1,000,000 square feet with 80 megawatts of power. Phase 1 of the campus, knows as the TX1 Data Center, has 230,000 square feet of space and 16 megawatts of power. 

TX1 was designed for scalability, flexibility, and efficiency, ideal for cloud providers and Fortune 1000 enterprises. Vaults from 1 MW to 5 MW vaults are available as well as private suites and cages, with options for dedicated infrastructure and build-to-suit solutions. TX1 features a highly efficient, waterless cooling system that leverages available outside cool air and does not stress local water supplies. The campus has fiber connectivity to the carrier hotels providing access to 70 telecommunications providers and direct connectivity to the major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Would You Drive 90 Miles to Save $1 Million Per Year on Your Data Center?

One of the top data center markets in the world is Northern California, including Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.

According to the most recent report from Data Center Frontier and datacenterHawk, the Silicon Valley area is home to nearly 2.6 million square feet of commissioned data center space, representing 343 megawatts of commissioned power. That makes Silicon Valley the second-largest market for data center space in the U.S., trailing only Northern Virginia.

The problem is that the costs for power, people, and real estate in Northern California are some of the highest in the United States. Plus, data center supply in Northern California can be constrained, and there is the overhanging risk of earthquakes.

What if you could have the benefits of having your data center in Northern California with a lower price point, reduced earthquake risk, and available supply?

According to our recent analysis you could save nearly $8 million over a 7-year term by having your data center in Sacramento instead of San Francisco. The savings are between about $1 million and $7 million when compared to Phoenix, Reno, and Las Vegas.

So the question is, “Would you be willing to drive the 90 miles from Silicon Valley to Sacramento to save $1 million a year on your data center?”

Data Centers in Northern California

Base Rent – land and construction costs in Silicon Valley are high.

We all know that the cost of land and construction in Silicon Valley are high. Data from the National Association of Realtors published in August 2016, showed that the median price for a home in the region around San Jose, California was over $1 million — a first for any metro area in the country.

The same factors that make your Silicon Valley home expensive are true for your Silicon Valley data center. Supply of land is scarce. Plus, the expertise to build and operate a data center in Silicon Valley is often hard to find, making these human resources expensive as well.

Power – the largest single line item in your data center Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

For a large-footprint, hyperscale cloud or enterprise data center deployment, it’s not out of line to spend $2 on power for every $1 you spend on base rent.

The mistake in many data center TCO models is that the cost of power is viewed as a sunk cost not a variable cost – a value to be plugged in, not managed. The good news is that data center operators tend to negotiate better power rates than you could get yourself due to quantity discounts. In addition, your overall power consumption in a new state of the art colocation facility will probably be lower than in your own data center through the use of more efficient cooling technologies and automation systems.

The even better news is that wholesale data center power pricing through the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is the lowest in the state of California. For example, data center power pricing in San Francisco is about 12 cents per kilowatt hour. In Sacramento it’s 6.9 cents – almost ½ the price. For a typical 1 megawatt deployment, the savings in power is about $648,000 per year for a total of nearly $5 million over seven years!

Planes, trains, and automobiles – which do you prefer?

How far do you want to be away from your data center, and how do you want to get there?  Sacramento is about 90 miles from the Bay Area. Reno is 220 miles, Las Vegas is 570 miles, and Phoenix is 750 miles. Would you rather drive or fly? Driving is probably the most flexible and cost effective option. A flight might take less effort than driving, but you need to make time for getting to the airport, parking, checking in, security, boarding, etc. Plus you will need a hotel and transportation when you land, and a return flight. Airports can also be more susceptible to weather delays. In an earthquake emergency, the airports are often closed.

Networks and the speed of light.

We’re living in the most connected era in history. But even with all the fiber in the ground, network performance is still bounded by the speed of light. Network latency can be a critical variable in the end-user application experience. No one wants to be looking at the hourglass. Roundtrip network latency to and from Sacramento and the Bay Area is 3 milliseconds (ms). In Las Vegas, the roundtrip network latency to and from the Bay Area is 15.3 ms. And in Phoenix the roundtrip network latency to and from the Bay Area is 18.1 ms. These network numbers make a big difference in application performance.

Environmental risk – earthquakes and severe weather.

The discussion around environmental risk and data centers in Silicon Valley or the Bay Area usually focuses on earthquakes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bay Area has the highest density of active faults per square mile of any urban center in the country. There is a 72% chance of a magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquake occurring over the next 30 years on one of these Bay Area faults (6.7 is the same size as the 1994 Northridge earthquake which caused 57 deaths and property damage estimated at $13-40 billion). The percentage shoots up to 89% for a magnitude 6 or greater quake. 

The good news is that once you get outside the Bay Area, the risk of earthquakes drops dramatically. Sacramento, for example, is on a separate tectonic plate from the Bay Area and is rated as a “very low risk”. However, not all data center locations outside the Bay Area have a low risk of earthquakes. For example, even though Reno is 218 miles away from the Bay Area, it has a similar risk of earthquake as the Bay Area.

Regarding severe weather, the desert locations need to deal with extreme temperatures and drought conditions. During the years 1981-2015, Las Vegas averaged 75 days per year of 100+ degree temperatures. During the same time period, Phoenix averaged 110 days per year of 100+ degree temperatures. Sacramento averages 11 days per year of over 100 degree temperatures, with half of those days in July.

Sacramento may experience heavy “El Nino” rains and excessive snow melt from the Sierra Nevada Mountains which can cause the rivers to overflow. Fortunately, Sacramento has spent billions of dollars over the last 20 years on a sophisticated system of levees and spillways, and has another $2.4 billion of flood-control projects in development. Record snowfalls of 471 inches from January-March, 2017 in Lake Tahoe were a good test for the flood control measures and all of the Sacramento data centers were safe.

Run the numbers yourself

Northern California continues to stand out as a “must have” location as part of a global data center deployment. Sacramento has established itself as a primary spot for data centers in Northern California, offering available supply, lower costs, excellent telecommunications, and room to grow. Click here to use a total cost of ownership (TCO) calculator where you can run the numbers yourself. The business case is compelling.

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What Makes a Data Center ‘Texas Ready’?

The Dallas / Fort Worth region is one of the top data center markets in the U.S. and growing fast. According to the recent Data Center Frontier Special Report on the Dallas Data Center Market, the Dallas/Fort Worth region has 275 megawatts (MW) of commissioned data center power and 200 MW in the pipeline.

RagingWire is part of the data center boom in North Dallas. We are planning to open our Dallas TX1 Data Center on April 18, 2017 as the first phase of a 1,000,000 square foot (sq. ft.) campus with 80 megawatts (MW) of power on 42 acres of land. The TX1 facility has 16 MW of power and 230,000 sq. ft. of total space, 118,000 sq. ft. of raised floor, 10,000 square feet of customer office space, and 28,000 sq. ft. of customer amenity space including a conference center, meeting rooms, and a gym. If you are interested in attending our grand opening, please request your invitation.

Like most successful colocation companies, RagingWire has a proven design that is the foundation for our data center portfolio. However, to build a great data center, the design template must be tailored to the unique aspects of the site and location. This was certainly the case for RagingWire in Dallas. Here is the list of critical items we believe make a data center “Texas Ready.”

Everything is bigger in Texas – including data centers.

RagingWire TX1 Data Center in Dallas, Texas
In downtown Dallas, you’ll find the carrier hotels where space is optimized for telecommunications access. North Dallas, which includes Richardson, Plano, Carrollton, and Garland, is where you’ll find the massive wholesale data centers which are in such high demand by Fortune 1000 enterprises and cloud companies. The new RagingWire TX1 data center is built to mega scale and also with the flexibility to configure the space and power to meet the needs of individual clients. Vaults are available in 1 MW, 2 MW, and 5 MW increments and can be subdivided.

An underpowered data center is just a building.

Texas Ready data centers need a substantial amount of utility power to support the millions of websites and applications running on the servers in the facility. The good news is that today’s data centers are highly efficient users of power. The bad news is that not all sites in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex have sufficient utility power for data centers. RagingWire is fortunate to be working directly with Garland Power & Light (GP&L) to build a massive 108 MVA substation right next to the TX1 Data Center. The substation has diverse feeds from GP&L and Oncor. GP&L is providing two new 138KV lines connected to multiple transfer systems that can choose between two independent transmission lines connected to dedicated RagingWire transformers. Eventually this new substation will connect to the new 345KV transmission system which will be the backbone for electrical power throughout Texas.

Texas can-do attitude and the U.S. power grid.

Texas is famous for its independent nature and can-do attitude. So it should be no surprise that Texas is the only state in the U.S. with its own power grid, known as ERCOT which stands for the organization that runs the Texas grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT is a great benefit for national colocation providers that want to provide diverse access to the three power grids in the U.S. For example, RagingWire in Ashburn connects to the Eastern Grid. Our Sacramento campus connects to the Western Grid. And TX1 connects to ERCOT.

Be ready for extreme weather.

Since we’ve been in Texas, we’ve experienced draught, tornados, flash floods, and golf-ball sized hail. To be Texas Ready, a data center needs to be built to withstand extreme weather conditions and the cooling systems should minimize water usage. The Enhanced Fujita scale (also known as the EF scale) uses wind speed to gauge the potential damage from a tornado. EF ratings go from EF-0 (65-85 mph winds) to EF-5 (over 200 mph winds). Everything from roof to foundation in our TX1 Data Center was designed to withstand an EF3 tornado of 136 mph. For efficient and effective cooling even in draught conditions, we have installed one of the largest water-free mechanical systems in the U.S. Plus our data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software is tuned to take advantage of the 5000+ hours of free cooling/year expected in Dallas.

Interconnection is key.

Dallas is a destination market for data centers, meaning enterprises and cloud companies want to include Dallas as part of their global data center footprint. These companies need to distribute applications around the world for maximum performance and reliability. For this strategy to work, interconnection is key. Our TX1 data center is carrier neutral with a number of onsite carriers as well as dark fiber connections to the carrier hotels at the Infomart and 2323 Bryan, providing access to over 70 carriers and global interconnectivity.  For global secured networks, you can use the Arcstar Universal One virtual private network (VPN) from our parent company NTT Communications which offers high-quality, global network coverage in over 190 countries. In addition, TX1 is connected with RagingWire’s campuses in Sacramento, California and Ashburn, Virginia so workloads can be balanced and backed up across the country. Lastly, we offer direct, secure connections to the world’s largest cloud providers and a number of software providers.

RagingWire Data Center in the Lone Star State - TexasThe Lone Star State is a great place to have a data center, particularly as part of a national or global data center footprint. The core elements are in place to build a world-class data center – land, power, and fiber connectivity. The economy is strong, growing, and diverse. A data center community is emerging that attracts both suppliers and buyers of data centers. And the pride and optimism of Texas can’t be beat. We are thrilled that the RagingWire TX1 Data Center will be a new star in the great state of Texas.

Will Virtual Reality Make On-Site Data Center Tours Obsolete?

One of the time-honored traditions of data center buying is the on-site tour. For most data center buyers, building your short list of providers can occur remotely through conference calls and reading product literature. But the final selection requires a site visit and tour.

With data centers – seeing is believing.

RagingWire CA3 data center virtual reality tourWe see these tours all the time in Ashburn, Virginia, the largest market for data centers in the world. Ashburn is a destination market for data centers. Every day groups travel to Ashburn to tour the facilities that are the finalists for their data center deployment. Typically, these groups visit 3-5 data center providers over 2-3 days.

It is becoming more common to see “world tours” of data centers as companies deploy computing systems globally in an effort to improve systems performance and availability. Many of these tour groups are in the process of visiting Europe, Asia, and the U.S. We met with one tour group recently that was visiting 5 countries in 8 days!

Tour groups want to see the electrical, mechanical, and security systems of the data center. They walk the campus and look at the customer amenities and office space. Overall, they want to get a sense of how well the facility is run. Tours are important because a data center selection can result in a contract that lasts 5-10 years or longer.

What I’m wondering is, will virtual reality (known as VR) make these on-site data center tours obsolete?

The Challenge: A Remote Data Center You Need to Visit

In April 2015 we opened our CA3 Data Center in Sacramento, California. This facility draws most of it customers from the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.  These customers are interested in CA3 because they get a mission-critical data center with low-cost power that is in a seismically safe area and within driving distance of their offices.

The thought process for these customers is that should an earthquake hit San Francisco, their computers will be safe in Sacramento. And when a disaster strikes, they are more likely to be able to get in a car and drive to Sacramento as opposed to getting a flight out of an airport in San Francisco, Oakland, or San Jose that is delayed or the airport is closed.

When considering a potential data center site that is not across town, its biggest benefit can also be its biggest challenge. For example, Bay Area entrepreneurs can be reluctant to drive the two hours to get to Sacramento. VR is a solution that brings the data center tour to them.

The Solution: A Virtual Reality Tour in 3D

RagingWire Sacramento CA3 Data Center 3D Virtual RealityIf you haven’t tried on a pair of virtual reality goggles and tested a sample app, you should. You will immediately be impressed with the potential of these devices and applications, and you’ll recognize that we are still in the early stages of development.

On the plus side, you will feel as if you are in another reality. The challenges can be navigating through the new reality, some discomfort from the goggles, and maybe a little motion sickness.

A well developed VR tour creates a 360-degree space in 3D, and allows you to go anywhere you want. Unlike traditional virtual tours that use animation and computer renderings, or 360-degree videos made with static individual scenes, today’s VR tour offers the depth and space of the actual data center and gives users complete control over their exploration of the environment. To move through the space you just look at where you want to go and the system automatically takes you there.

A good VR tour will also offer a menu in the app that lets you go directly to a location.

Let Your Eyes Be Your Guide.

When you put on the goggles for the CA3 data center VR tour, you find yourself standing in front of the building. Look straight ahead and the front door opens so you can “walk” into the security lobby.  Enter through the mantrap and you are standing in a dramatic, two-story atrium. Spend some time on the secured patio where you can see the rock climbing wall. Pass by the workout room and the game room on your way to the terrazzo staircase. Go upstairs to the showcase conference room with a glass wall that lets you look out on one of the data vaults. Travel down the elevated skywalk overlooking rows of server racks and enter the observation room where you can see the electrical and mechanical systems. Finish your tour by standing on the balcony to view the rows of generators, massive cooling towers, and on-site, dedicated power substation. You’ve just done a walk-through of a data center and never taken a step.

What does VR mean for data center buyers?

While VR tours for data centers are still in version 1.0, the potential benefits are compelling.

See what you want, when you want. The new VR tours are self-directed and immersive. That means every view of the space is defined digitally. It’s not just a static image or animation.

Save money, time, and inconvenience. You get a full tour of a data center without planes, trains, or automobiles. You don’t have to deal with bad weather, bad traffic, and potentially bad tour guides.

Better support from the C-suite. You can show the data center to a broader audience of executives to help build support for your final selection.

Safety is better. Now you can visit the electrical room and other locked-down areas of the data center with complete safety.

Is the on-site data center tour obsolete?

Virtual reality is definitely a welcome innovation for data center buyers, but does it make on-site data center tours obsolete? Not yet.

Too often with innovations, we think in terms of “either/or.” Meaning you have a choice between either the new approach or the old. In most cases, innovation is initially more of an “and.” Both approaches work together as they progress down their development curves.

On-site tours of data centers aren’t going away any time soon as a result of virtual reality, especially for the large footprint, wholesale deployments that are currently driving the industry. Virtual reality will enhance the data center buying process by making on-site tours optional for some buyers and by making the data center experience available to a broader audience of decision makers and influencers.

WEBINAR: “Colocation and the Enterprise: A Conversation with 451 Research and the CIO of NCR”

According to the Uptime Institute 70% of enterprise workloads are running in corporate data centers. Colocation data centers have 20% of enterprise applications, and cloud providers have 9%.

Webinar - Is Data Center Colocation the Right Approach for the EnterpriseWhat does this data mean? The next wave of demand for colocation and cloud is going to come from the enterprise.

In fact, colocation providers will get a double hit from the enterprise. First, workloads will move directly from enterprise data centers to colocation data centers. Second, enterprise workloads that move to public cloud providers will cause those cloud companies to need more servers, storage, and potentially more colocation data center capacity.

If you are an enterprise with in house data centers, it’s time to start scenario planning for migrating your apps and data to colocation data centers and the cloud. This webinar will help you get started.

WEBINAR: “Colocation and the Enterprise: A Conversation with the 451 Research and the CIO of NCR”

Kelly Morgan, Vice President Services from 451 Research, is one of the leading industry analysts looking after the data center space. In the webinar, Kelly presents data from the 451 Voice of the Enterprise Survey that you can use to build the strategy and business case for workload migration.

Bill VanCuren is the CIO of the NCR Corporation, a 130-year old icon with $6.3 billion in revenue and 30,000 employees that is transforming itself into a nimble, internet-based software and services company. Bill has been consistently recognized as one of the top enterprise CIOs. He has over 30 years of global and corporate IT management experience.

Bill and Kelly discuss NCR’s journey from 50 in-house data centers to a handful of colocation facilities and the cloud. Bill talks about the drivers that led him to consider colocation, the analysis he presented to the Board of Directors, and the critical success factors for his team to execute the migration.

It’s a rare treat to be able to tap into the knowledge, experience, and expertise of these two industry leaders. Many thanks to Kelly and Bill for participating in this exclusive webinar. Click the link to watch the recording: Is Data Center Colocation the Right Approach for the Enterprise?

White Paper and Webinar from Data Center Knowledge: “Strategic, Financial, and Technical Considerations for Wholesale Colocation”

One of the more interesting developments in the data center industry over the last few years has been the emergence of the wholesale data center market.

Think of wholesale data centers in the context of the traditional retail data center market. Wholesale data centers offer dedicated, multi-megawatt deployments spread out over large footprints of multiple thousands of square feet. These deployments are configured as secured vaults, private suites and cages, and entire buildings.

In fact, RagingWire has made a strategic shift into wholesale data center solutions as was reported in Data Center Knowledge in the article, “RagingWire Pursuing Cloud Providers with New Focus on Wholesale.”

White Paper - Strategic Considerations for Wholesale Data Center BuyersWhile RagingWire has been a leader in wholesale data center solutions, we have not seen very much substantive analysis published on the wholesale space. So we decided to underwrite a research project with Data Center Knowledge to study wholesale colocation and publish a white paper and webinar entitled, “Strategic, Financial, and Technical Considerations for Wholesale Colocation.” Both the white paper and webinar are available free of charge.

You can watch/listen to the webinar by clicking here.

You can download the white paper by clicking here.

What will you learn from the white paper and webinar?

From a strategic perspective, there are a number of new applications, such as video, social media, mobile, big data, and content that are leading to new computing paradigms where the design, scale, and location of data centers become increasingly important.

The financial considerations point out how sales tax abatement, scale economics, and targeting top data center markets as part of your data center portfolio can be advantageous with wholesale data centers. For example, one customer of ours said that for every dollar they spend on colocation they spend $10 on computing equipment. Say you are spending $1 million on wholesale colocation leading to $10 million in equipment purchases. At 5% sales tax, that’s a savings of $500,000.  And equipment is often refreshed every 3-5 years!

Finally, the section on technical considerations studies power density, energy efficiency, PUE and ASHRAE standards, DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management), and maintenance. Each of these technical elements can have a significant impact on the performance/cost of your wholesale data center, and ultimately on your business.

RagingWire is proud to support this important research and pleased to share it with the industry.

White Paper: "Cloud + Data Centers: An IT Platform for Internet Applications and Businesses"

We are fortunate to be living in an era of incredible technological innovation. Over the last four decades, we have seen amazing advances in computing, storage, networking, and most recently data.

With every innovation, our nature is to view the new technology in light of what is currently available and understood. This “either or” mindset can limit the value we derive from both the current and the next generation of technology.

History teaches us that rarely does one technology platform completely replace completely. Instead, technologies build on each other like intertwined gears that combine to generate more power than they could individually.

For example, some IT experts predicted the death of the mainframe in light of personal computers. In fact, today the mainframe is a vibrant computing platform with demand being driven by the new computing systems. Mainframes, personal computers and a host of other devices work together in a computing fabric that delivers massive processing power.

The same has been said of the data center. On October 22, 2009, Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s Mad Money, now famously said, “Get out of the data-center stocks. I see an industry that’s about to be brought low by new technology, so I think you should sell, sell, sell.”

That "new technology" was the cloud, which not only did not kill data centers, but gave data centers a big growth shot in the arm. Consider RagingWire, a pure-play data center colocation company. Some of our biggest and fastest growing customers are in the cloud space. They count on us for 100% availability so their businesses are always running, and world-class customer service so they can focus their resources on their business not on their data center.

Much has been written about the cloud and data centers from a technical and a financial perspective. We decided to research the topic from a new view – the application developer.

Application developers are driving this next wave of technological innovation. They are taking the IT platforms that are available and writing powerful applications that make our lives better… or just more fun. In many cases, these applications have some genesis in the public cloud and then integrate private clouds and data centers.

We call this technology platform "Cloud+" and we partnered with Gigaom Research to write a paper that explores how and when this platform can be leveraged by the application developer.

We are proud of this paper and offer it to you free of charge so that you can include this Cloud+ approach in your application development and deployment strategy.

Where the Cloud Lives Matters

Cloud computing may be the most disruptive technology of this generation. It introduced a new computing paradigm that makes processing, storage, and networks more accessible, scalable, and flexible than ever before.

Most of the technical discussion around cloud computing has been about virtualization, automation, scalability, security, orchestration, and provisioning. What has been largely overlooked in this discussion is the importance of data centers to cloud computing. 

Data centers for cloud infrastructure

According to RagingWire’s CTO, Bill Dougherty, "The best cloud in the world is useless if customers can’t rely on it. With all the focus on cloud virtualization, we have lost sight of the physical reality of the cloud. The cloud lives in a data center, and where the cloud lives matters. To power the clouds of the future, data centers must deliver 100% availability, high-density power and cooling, full security, massive low-latency telecommunications, and efficient operations."

Gigaom Webinar - Cloud and Data Centers

To learn more about the critical relationship between cloud computing and data centers, you can watch this webinar called "Cloud + Data Centers: The IT Platform for Internet Applications and Businesses." The webinar is hosted by Larry Cornett, Ph.D. of Gigaom Research, and features Bill Dougherty and cloud computing experts David Linthicum and Rich Morrow.

RagingWire is proud that many of the top cloud companies house their server farms and storage arrays in our data centers. These cloud companies tell us that they look for five core elements in a data center:

Power – cloud computing requires reliable, affordable, and high-density power feeds from their data centers. The best data centers also have battery backup, diesel generators, and monitoring and automation systems so that if the utility power drops, the power to your servers stays up.

Cooling – cloud systems generate a lot of heat and can run even hotter during usage spikes. Cloud data centers should have high-capacity cooling systems that can target heat points and adjust dynamically. To manage costs and help maintain the environment, these systems need to run efficiently at low or high speeds and take advantage of cool outside air when possible.

Telecommunications – look for a carrier neutral data center that delivers local network points of presence (PoPs) to multiple telecommunications providers and offers interconnectivity to sites in the data center and across data centers.

Security – only authorized individuals should be allowed to approach your cloud system and their activity should be continuously monitored. Multi-factor security systems should be integrated end to end with no gaps, include advanced technologies such as high definition video and iris scanners, and provide detailed access reports when needed. Don’t forget the human element of an onsite security team that you can trust.

Operations – it’s not easy to run a mission critical facility 7x24x365. Cloud data center operators should be experts and be able to show you extensive run books and method of procedure (MOP) documentation that they use to run the data center. Also, maintaining equipment is key to 100% availability. Look for data centers that can maintain equipment during production by using spares and backup. Maintenance windows without live backups can be times of risk for your cloud.


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