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Is it hot in here?

During a recent RagingWire data center tour, a potential client asked, “Is it hot in here?” Much to everyone’s surprise, the tour director smiled as he answered, “Yes, yes it is.” The reason behind the tour director’s happiness goes much deeper than you might think.

Water Cooled Chillers - RagingWire Data CentersWalking into a RagingWire Data Center, you may notice something unlike most other data centers - it’s warm...in certain spots. By utilizing extensive air flow analysis, employing a top-notch operations team, and adopting the 2011 ASHRAE TC9.9 guidelines for higher end temperatures, RagingWire is leading the way in creating a more energy efficient data center environment. It’s still a comfortable place to work. It’s just more energy efficient than 5-10 years ago.

Though no global data center temperature standard exists, in 2011 ASHRAE published an update to its whitepaper titled, “Thermal Guidelines for Data Center Processing Environments.” This guideline raised the recommended high-end temperature range from 77°F to 80.6°F, and raised the allowed high-end to reach 89.6F. Still, many data center operators have failed to embrace the broader, more environmentally friendly guidelines. Why?

Server and other electronic equipment suppliers have embraced the TC9.9 guidelines for years and most warranty their equipment to meet the new specifications. The problem exists with outdated data centers or vintage computing equipment that require lower temperatures, and fear of changing current operating parameters. According to a 2013 Uptime Institute Survey of more than 1,000 data centers globally, nearly half of all data centers reported operating at 71-75°F. The next largest segment, from 65-70°F accounted for 37% of all data centers surveyed!

Why does RagingWire operate at these higher temperatures? It all comes down to one small, three-letter acronym, PUE. PUE, or Power Usage Effectiveness, is a measure of the data center IT load vs. the total power consumption including mechanical and electrical load.

In some cases, with cooling accounting for up to 50% of the data center load, reducing the amount of consumption will lead to positive change in critical facility PUE. By some estimates, every 1°F increase in server inlet temperature can lead to a 4-5% savings in energy costs.

But let’s put some money where our math is: If you operate a facility with a PUE of 1.4, and your total IT load is 1MW, increasing your server inlet temperature just 1°F can lower your annual energy consumption by over 600,000kWh per year!

By achieving a lower design PUE, RagingWire Data Centers captures significant savings, and is able to pass these savings on to its customers. This allows retail and wholesale data center clients the ability to operate in a world-class facility with a small-world footprint. Lowering operating costs and resource consumption, without a reduction in service is usually the kind of undertaking that makes a Board of Directors stand up and applaud. And it can be as simple as ticking up that thermostat.

Welcome to the Premiere of RagingWire 2.0!

On January 30, 2014, NTT Communications invested $350 million in RagingWire Data Centers, marking the beginning of the next generation of RagingWire. 

With this investment, we created a new company with a familiar name – RagingWire Data Centers, Inc. – which is 80% owned by NTT and 20% owned by the founders and management team of RagingWire.

We used this 2-minute video to help launch the new RagingWire to our employees.

The new RagingWire retains everything that made the company great – our patented technology, 100% availability, world-class customer service, award winning data centers, and exceptional employees.

In addition, the new RagingWire gains the full support of NTT Communications, joins the NTT family of companies, and is affiliated with NTT Com’s Nexcenter data centers in 150 locations around the world.

Including RagingWire’s data center space in NTT Com’s portfolio more than doubles NTT Com’s data center space in the U.S. and enables both companies to respond to the high demand for data center colocation services worldwide. NTT Com will also deploy RagingWire’s know-how and patented technologies for the design and operation of highly dependable, scalable and sophisticated data centers.

It is a time to celebrate. So we rolled out the red carpet and cracked opened the champagne at launch events at RagingWire’s offices in Sacramento, California and Ashburn, Virginia. This video captures the highlights of those events.

At RagingWire, we are fortunate to work for an excellent company, in a high-growth market, with industry leading data center colocation products and innovative customers. We have the understanding that comes from being in business since 2000 and the optimism that comes from helping to build a company and an industry.

It is the beginning of the next generation of RagingWire, a company with a successful past and an exciting future. We are thrilled to be on this journey.

Data Center 2014: Top 10 technologies and how they impact you

Welcome to 2014! By now we’ve gone through most, if not all, of our budgets and we are setting plans for the future. As we look back on the past two years we see a direct acceleration in the IT world. Users are connecting in new ways, there is more content to be delivered – and this whole cloud thing just won’t let up. In fact, the recent Cisco Global Cloud Index report goes on to show that while the amount of traffic crossing the Internet and IP WAN networks is projected to reach 1.4 zettabytes per year in 2017, the amount of data center traffic is already 2.6 zettabytes per year – and by 2017 will triple to reach 7.7 zettabytes per year. This represents a 25 percent CAGR. The higher volume of data center traffic is due to the inclusion of traffic inside the data center (typically, definitions of Internet and WAN stop at the boundary of the data center).

Cisco Global Cloud Index

Cisco goes on to state that global cloud traffic crossed the zettabyte threshold in 2012, and by 2017 over two-thirds of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud. Cloud traffic will represent 69 percent of total data center traffic by 2017.

Significant promoters of cloud traffic growth are the rapid adoption of and migration to cloud architectures, along with the ability of cloud data centers to handle significantly higher traffic loads. Cloud data centers support increased virtualization, standardization, and automation. These factors lead to increased performance, as well as higher capacity and throughput.

Cloud computing aside, there have been other technologies that have promoted this increased usage of the Internet, WAN services and data center platforms. More resource availability, datacenter optimizations, and of course mobility are all impacting the direct boom in data center demand. So, looking ahead at 2014 – what are some of the major technological solutions that will impact the data center? What are the key trends that will change the way a data center delivers content? How can data centers continue to meet the demands of both the users and the business? Finally, how can these top 10 technologies and trends impact your industry vertical and business? Let’s find out!

  1. The Hybrid Cloud.

    What to look for: This technology is getting pretty hot. With so much cloud adoption happening, organizations need a good way to interconnect a wide variety of resources. A hybrid cloud is no longer defined by a simple connection between a private and public data center. Now, data centers can interconnect with resources spanning a variety of environments. This means that pieces can be in a private, public or "as-a-Service" delivery. All of these components can be connected together to bring home a powerful hybrid cloud platform. More services, many more users and a more interconnected world will prove to be the driving force behind a hybrid cloud platform.

    Who it will impact: Any organization looking at the cloud will examine a hybrid cloud infrastructure. This can range from educational institutions to government organizations. Remember, hybrid cloud platforms are now also becoming compliant and regulation-ready.

  2. Apps and APIs.

    What to look for: The application world is completely changing. However, so is the mechanism that allows these applications to interconnect and function in today’s IT world. The amazing thing here is that applications are becoming completely hardware agnostic. They aim to deliver clear usability and data. The future of the application world will revolve around constant connectivity, ease-of-use, and the power of the data center. New types of APIs are also allowing applications to access key resources much faster. This type of granular interconnect creates better and more agile cloud-centric applications. Remember, all of these future cloud applications reside within the data center.

    Who it will impact: Application developers, data center cloud providers, and organizations creating their own apps should take note. In fact, any organization looking to deliver applications via the cloud needs to understand just how powerful new applications and APIs can really be.

  3. The Next-Generation Cloud.

    What to look for: Over the next few years – many of the traditional cloud platforms we’ve come to known will evolve. Already we are seeing new ways to utilize cloud traffic and distribute data. The next-generation cloud will allow for greater levels of interconnectivity, optimized resource utilization, and creating a more powerful environment for the end-user. As more devices connect and more content is delivered – web-based communication will grow to become even more important.

    Who it will impact: This truly impacts all verticals. Since cloud-based traffic is bound to increase, organizations will need to utilize WAN-based resources much more effectively.

  4. Fog Computing.

    What to look for: Just when you started to make sense of the cloud, now you need to see through the fog! It may just be a short-lived buzz term, but the concept of fog computing is for real – we’re taking our cloud environments to the edge – literally. More environments are working to bring critical data closer to the user. This allows for a lot more data processing and rich content delivery. Creating these micro-clouds and fog networks allows for quite a bit of versatility for organizations. Plus, edge infrastructure doesn’t have to be expensive. Creating a fog computing environment can include branch offices, big data processing points, and even content distribution solutions.

    Who it will impact: Creating an edge network has its direct benefits. However, organizations looking to create big data processing points, or stream content, should look at a Fog. Companies like Netflix get the idea. Bringing the data closer to the user helps with delivery and overall performance.

  5. Everything-as-a-Service.

    What to look for: Service delivery models only continue to grow and evolve. We now have the internet of everything and even the concept of everything-as-a-service. Let me give you an example. By utilizing software development kits (SDKs) and the APIs we discussed in #2, an emerging service platform known as backend-as-a-service (BaaS) can directly integrate various cloud services with both web and mobile applications. Already, there is a broad focus where open platforms aim to support every major platform including iOS, Android, Windows, and Blackberry. Furthermore, the BaaS platform aims to further enhance the mobile computing experience by integrating with cloud-ready data center providers. These new types of services will continue to grow. Data center platforms will strive to be your one-stop source for all service delivery needs.

    Who it will impact: Service-based data center options are powerful solutions for organizations to take advantage of. For example, private-sector enterprises can deliver key services from distributed data centers and not have to utilize their own resources.

  6. Mobility Management.

    What to look for: If you’re not ready for the mobility revolution – it’s time to get on this very fast-moving train. Users, devices and data are becoming a lot more mobile. But don’t think that this conversation is about devices alone. Users are consuming information in entirely new ways and your organization must be ready to facilitate these demands. This means managing mobile resources, users, and data center resources. Whether these are mobile application servers, virtual hosts, or entire racks dedicated to a mobile user platform – be ready to accommodate the new way that users compute.

    Who it will impact: The stats don’t lie. Users are becoming more mobile and accessing their information in new ways. This impacts pharma, healthcare, government, education – and everything in between. Lawyers, doctors and professionals are connecting to their data from a number of different devices.

  7. Software-Defined Technologies.

    What to look for: Software-defined technologies now incorporate network, storage, and compute. We are able to do brilliant things with hardware systems by introducing a more intelligent logical layer. This layer allows for better configurations, optimized resource utilization, and it helps create a more efficient data center infrastructure. SDx will create more resiliencies on a global scale by allowing complex connections to happen at a simplified level. Single hardware controllers can now create thousands of independent connections spanning numerous networks. No more 1-to-1 mapping. The future of intelligent hardware utilization revolves around multi-tenancy and high-density solutions.

    Who it will impact: It’s hard to identify just one vertical that will benefit from this. Government entities and public sector organizations leverage SDx technologies to accomplish a lot of necessary tasks. Whether it’s logically segmenting a storage array or creating a globally distributed, resilient, data center connection – software-defined technology is making its mark in the industry.

  8. Web-Ready Content and Device Agnosticism.

    What to look for: Much like the mobility revolution of #6 – the content that will be delivered to these devices will have to be optimized as well. On top of it all, maintaining device agnosticism is crucial. Users want access to their applications and data regardless of OS or hardware. This is why new types of applications and rich content will be delivered to a variety of users located all over the world. Intelligent data center automation controls will optimize the user’s connection by creating automated experience orchestration. That is, engines will dynamically define the user experience based on device, connection, location, security, and other factors. This is the future of how users will consume their information.

    Who it will impact: Cloud service providers and organizations based in the cloud will look to leverage this trend heavily. Users care about their apps and data. So, all organizations looking to optimize the user experience must look at web-content delivery. Whether you’re a healthcare shop granting access to a benefits app or a finance firm allowing users to conduct complex trades – mobility and security will be critical.

  9. Converged Infrastructure.

    What to look for: This technological platform will continue to pick up steam. The direct integration of storage, network, compute and pure IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) has created a platform capable of high levels of resource optimization and workload delivery. We’re able to place more users per blade, deliver richer content, and create a data center model that follows the sun. Basically, we’re creating mobility within the data center. These new platforms take up less space and are much easier to manage. Furthermore, converged systems create even more capabilities for edge networks and organizations entering the cloud environment.

    Who it will impact: Although a lot of organizations can benefit from a converged system – there are some that can benefit more than others. Call centers, schools, hospitals, data entry organizations and any other shop that has a dense amount of users doing similar things. In using virtualization and a converged infrastructure – organizations are able to optimize their resources while still increasing user density.

  10. The Personal Cloud | The Evolution of the User.

    What to look for: A typical user may carry 2-3 devices with them which connect to the cloud. What if this person is a techie? What if we take into account all of the devices they have at home as well? The reality is that the user is evolving and now maintains a continuous connection to the cloud across multiple devices. This trend will continue to push forward as users connect cars, homes, refrigerators, thermostats and other devices directly to the Internet. Moving forward, a user’s personal cloud will identify who they are, which devices they utilize and how to best optimize their experience. This means creating the same experience regardless of device or OS, controlling apps and devices remotely, and introducing even greater levels of personal cloud security. Right now, the personal cloud is just a concept applied to a user’s personal cloud experience. In the future – a personal cloud may identify a user’s overall cloud persona.

    Who it will impact: Not only will this impact the user environment, it will impact all those that interact with it as well. Organizations looking to optimize the user experience and deliver new types of content will need to be aware of how the user evolves their compute process. Service delivery, application development, and workload management will all evolve as the cloud and the user continue to change.

The modern data center has truly become the home of everything. We’re seeing entire businesses born from a cloud model as executives take direct advantage of new data center resources. The next couple of years will certainly be interesting. We’ll see more cloud-centric workloads deployed as the modern user becomes even more mobile. In our 2013 IT Predictions blog we looked at more consumerization, a lot more data and a new type of computing platform. Now, all of these technologies are certainly in place and are being evolved. There is more big data and business intelligence, we have a lot more mobility on the user front, and we are certainly seeing a lot more data center convergence take place. At the heart of it all – where so many new technologies and solutions live – sits the all-important data center. Looking ahead even further, we know that the data center will continue to serve a critical role in the evolution of IT. We’ll see even more data center automation, greater distributed technologies – and even the utilization of intelligent robotics. One thing will always be true – it’ll be up to the IT professional, cloud architect, or technology executive to utilize these powerful tools to align business goals with IT solutions.

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From Silicon Valley to Data Center Alley

Since the birth of the integrated circuit in the 1950s, Silicon Valley has become the destination for high tech entrepreneurship. Located in Northern California, the term "Silicon Valley" was coined in the 1970s and gained popularity in the 1980’s with the emergence of the personal computer. In Silicon Valley, capacity and capability came together to create some of the greatest technical innovations in history.

This same dynamic of capacity meeting capability that happened decades ago in Silicon Valley is underway in Loudoun County Virginia. We’re calling it Data Center Alley, the largest concentration of the best data centers in the world.

Capacity refers to the raw materials needed to create a thriving data center community: ample telecommunications; reliable, cost-effective utility power; and available land.

Hundreds of telecommunications providers include Data Center Alley as a link in their national and global networks. These networks interconnect using vast amounts of fiber installed in redundant loops throughout the area. The result is that 70% of the world’s internet traffic passes through Data Center Alley.

For utility power, we are fortunate to work with Dominion Virginia Power. Dominion recognized early on the potential for data centers in Northern Virginia and implemented a capacity model that ensured that sufficient power would be available to meet the needs of Data Center Alley at affordable prices. They worked closely with data center companies to configure their power delivery system so that power was highly reliable. Finally, Dominion has been a good steward of our energy infrastructure by maintaining an intelligent mix of available and environmentally sound energy sources.

The last raw material is land. Data centers need space in order to realize economies of scale. For example, our data center in Ashburn, Virginia is 150,000 square feet and we purchased 78 acres of land in Ashburn to build a1.5 million square foot data center campus. The land also needs to be located near the telecommunications and utility supplies and with easy access.

Capability refers to the people, government policies, and culture that promote building great data centers and growing the data center industry.

The data center industry is a highly specialized field that requires deep expertise in engineering, design, construction, and operations. Much of this expertise comes from on-the-job experience. Data Center Alley has more than 40 data centers which support an outstanding talent pool of data center experts.

Government policies have been instrumental in the development of Data Center Alley. Virginia is one of the most pro-business states in the U.S., and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and Department of Economic Development are personally involved in helping data center companies be successful. For example, RagingWire customers can qualify for a Virginia sales tax exemption which could save them millions of dollars on purchases of computer equipment and other related data center infrastructure components.

Lastly, the culture in Data Center Alley is all about building. We put theory into practice and scale it. The result is that there is currently eight million sq. ft. of data center space already built or in development in Data Center Alley.

Data Center Alley is starting to get some recognition. If you want to learn more, watch a segment on Data Center Alley from the Sunday morning news program “Government Matters.”

Does Your Data Center Vendor Have You Handcuffed?

The data center industry is not an industry traditionally known for good service. Maybe this is because customers used to have limited options, or maybe it’s because most data center service providers know that once you move into their facility, it is incredibly painful to move out. Regardless, the fact remains that most data center providers do not place a focus on service. At RagingWire Data Centers, we identified this reality as a strategic opportunity, a key differentiator for our business. And it’s paying off.

Over the past two years, we have been refining our formal customer experience practice. This practice is comprised of several key components.

  1. NPS Customer Loyalty Measurement. Customer loyalty industry leaders are growing twice as fast as their competitors. We put a measurement system in place utilizing the same Net Promoter Score (NPS) framework used by many global brands known for service. Think of your weight scale at home though, and the work needed to change the numbers. For this reason, we did not stop by simply measuring loyalty.
  2. Voice of the Customer. This allows customers to provide ongoing feedback and suggestions without having to wait until they receive the next NPS survey. Feedback and suggestions are analyzed and converted into actions with assigned owners and due dates.
  3. Customer Journey Mapping. This is a comprehensive end to end review of all customer interactions with us, from discovery to contract negotiation, implementation, invoicing and operational support. Our goal is to not only provide useful services, but also be easy and enjoyable to do business with.

Our customer experience practice is governed by a steering committee that meets regularly to review scores, trends, customer feedback and action item status. This committee also establishes strategic Customer Experience Practice at RagingWire Data Centersobjectives to continue moving the program forward. We were proud to have been verified as having the highest Net Promoter Score in the data center industry last year, and further validated this year by being named a finalist in Forrester Research’s ‘Outside In’ Customer Experience Awards.

Our customer comments tell us we are on the right path:

"I love working with RagingWire. You guys are beyond professional and make it easy for me to move customers in and out. I don't feel handcuffed at your location like I do at other data centers I work in. You really make my job easier by your flexibility and how helpful your employees are. I recommend your facility to every customer we have that’s thinking about relocating into a data center."

And our business results prove we are on the right path:

  • 30% annual growth rate
  • 60+% organic growth rate driven by loyal customer base
  • Accelerated expansions at all data center locations across the country to meet increased customer demand

Are you looking for a data center partner? RagingWire provides flexible collocation solutions to top enterprise, Internet, and government organizations. Contact us today at to learn more.

The Hardest Thing About Colo is Getting There

Every month we tour dozens of companies and hundreds of IT professionals through our data centers in Sacramento, California, and Ashburn, Virginia.

In Sacramento, our visitors get excited about the opportunity of having their critical computing systems running in a high-availability data center that is located near the Bay Area, but built on a different tectonic plate.

In Ashburn, companies want to be in the heart of 'Data Center Alley' with vast amounts of fiber capacity, reliable and price competitive power, and a community of data center providers to meet their individual requirements.

Many times at the end of the tour, the visitor decides to switch to RagingWire. But sometimes they don’t. What’s the #1 reason they decide to stay with the status quo? Migration. The colo is great, but getting there is too hard.

We’ve taken our experience working with top enterprise and internet companies to help you make the best migration decision.

Data Center Guide To Data Center Migration - White Paper1.) Data Center Migration Guide.  We worked with Data Center Knowledge, a leading online source of daily news and analysis about the data center industry, on a white paper that examines the major strategic issues that should be an integral part of your evaluation when forming a data center migration strategy. Data center expert, Julius Neudorfer, wrote the paper, and we think it’s excellent. You can download your free copy of "Data Center Knowledge Guide to Data Center Migration".

2.) Strategy and Planning. Over the years we have developed close working relationships with a number of firms that specialize in data center migrations. These organizations can help you develop and execute detailed plans so your migration is as smooth and painless as possible.

3.) Relocation. We can introduce you to companies that are experts in the physical relocation of your servers, storage, and network devices. These companies have sophisticated asset management systems, specialized moving equipment, and trained professionals to inventory, pack, move, and re-install your gear.

4.) Colo Connect™ Network Services.  In Ashburn, we were the first data center to introduce fiber connectivity between our campus and area data centers. Colo Connect can be used as a permanent network connection between your cages in multiple data centers or as a short term solution to transfer files and perform system tests.

5.) 30-Day Ramp.  You don’t want to pay for two data centers when only one is in production. We offer a 30-day no-charge ramp to allow you to migrate into our data centers without paying double.

In the new world of big data, mobility, cloud computing, software-as-a-service, and social media, businesses need a data center platform that is more nimble and flexible than ever before. Increasingly, IT managers will want distributed data centers and the ability to migrate systems between data centers to address application availability and network latency. We’re here to help with the Data Center Migration Guide and value-added migration service offerings.

Welcome to Next-Generation DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management)

We are in the era of on-demand data delivery. The proliferation of cloud computing and information sharing has created a sort of data center boom. There are more users, more devices and a lot more services being delivered from the modern data center environment.

In fact, entire organizations and applications are being born directly within the cloud. To really put this trend in perspective, consider this - A 2013 Cisco Cloud Index report indicated that cloud traffic crossed the zettabyte (1000^7 bytes) threshold in 2012. Furthermore, by 2016, nearly two-thirds of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud.

Cisco Cloud Index Report - 2013

Efficient computing, converged infrastructures, multi-tenant platforms, and next-generation management are the key design points for the modern data center environment. Because we are placing more services into our data centers – there is greater need for visibility into multiple aspects of daily operations.

The picture of the next-generation management platform is that of a truly unified management plane

So what does that really mean? A unified data center infrastructure management platform removes “physical” barriers of a typical control system. The reason for this necessary shift can be seen in the job that the modern data center is now tasked with performing and the levels of monitoring that must occur. Next-generation DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) will remove logical and physical walls and unify the entire data center control process.

"Everything-as-a-Service" Controls. The modern data center is now considered to be at the heart of "The Internet of Everything." This means that more services, information, and resources are being delivered through the data center than ever before. As the data center continues to add on new functions and delivery models – administrators will need to have visibility into everything that is being delivered. Whether it’s monitoring SLAs or a specific as-a-service offering – next-generation data center management must have integration into the whole infrastructure.

Cluster-Ready Real-Time Monitoring. There is true data center distribution happening. These nodes are inter-connected, sharing resources, and delivering content to millions of end-users. With advancements in modern data center infrastructure, bandwidth and optimized computing – data center architecture has gone from singular units to truly clustered entities. This level of connectivity also requires new levels of distributed management and control. Not only is this vital for proper resource utilization and load-balancing; cluster-ready monitoring creates greater amounts of data enter resiliency. By having complete visibility into all data center operations across the board, administrators are able to make better – proactive – decisions.

Big Data Management Engines. The increase of cloud services has created an influx of new types of offerings to the end-users. IT consumerization, BYOD and mobility have all become very hot topics around numerous large organizations. As cloud continues to grow – more users will be utilizing these resources. With an increase of users comes the direct increase of data. This is where next-generation data center management comes in. Big data engines will sit both within the cloud and on the edge of the cloud network – also known as the Fog. There, these data centers will have direct tie-ins into big data analytics engines running on virtual and physical platforms. Because this data and the information gathering process is so crucial – complete visibility into the entire process is vital. This means that large data centers acting as hubs for big data analytics will have control visibility into storage, networking, compute, infrastructure and more.

Logical and Physical Management. The days of bare metal accumulation are over. Modern data centers are highly virtualized and highly efficient. New data centers are being built around optimal power, cooling and resource control mechanisms. On top of that – sit highly efficient high-density servers capable of great levels of multi-tenancy. Although some silo’d monitoring operations may still occur – the overall infrastructure must be unified in terms of management and control. This means having granular visibility into core data center operations which includes:

  • Power
  • Cooling
  • Aisle/Control
  • Alerts/Monitoring
  • Advanced Environmental Monitoring
  • Proactive Alerting and Remediation
  • Security (physical, structural, rack, etc.)

On top of that, data center administrators must also be able to see the workloads which are running on top of this modern infrastructure. This means understanding how virtual resources are being utilized and how this is impacting the underlying data center environment.

Cloud Orchestration and Automation. The cloud computing boom also created a big need around better workload control and automation. This actually spans both the hardware and software layer. From a next-generation management perspective, there needs to be the ability to create hardware and software profiles which can then be applied to physical and virtual resources for deployment. Finally, when this approach is tied into intelligent load-balancing solutions, you have a truly end-to-end cloud orchestration and automation solution. Now, although we’re not quite at those levels yet, next-generation data center management solutions are directly integrating workload automation options. It is becoming easier to deploy hardware and simpler to provision workloads. All of this means faster content and data delivery to the corporation and the end-user. Next-generation data center management will be able to have plug-ins into the physical and logical layer and facilitate new levels of cloud automation and orchestration. 

Mobile Data Center Visibility. It’s not like your data center will just get up and move around – at least not in most cases. However, having the ability to have mobile visibility of your data center is a need. This means controlling some data center functions from mobile devices and delivering direct web-based controls as well. Furthermore, because the data center is becoming more interconnected – there will be more functions and roles to control. There will be various types of administrators and mangers requiring specific controls within a single and clustered data center model. Role-based administration and management will evolve from the standard PC to true mobility. All of this will translate to a more efficient engineering, administration and management layer of your entire data center infrastructure.

Single-Pane of Glass – Complete Control. At the end of the day it all comes down to how well you can manage your data center. There’s no arguing that there will be more requirements around the future data center platform. As the number of services that the data center delivers continues to increase, complete visibility will become even more important. There will be more plug-ins, monitoring tools, and clustered nodes to look at all while trying to control resiliency. The next-generation monitoring UI and control platforms must be intuitive, easy to understand, simple to navigate and allow the administrator to truly optimize the entire data center infrastructure.

Tomorrow’s data centers must also have tomorrow’s visibility and control. The nature of the data center is changing. It’s now the hub that delivers core services, user applications, and entire platforms. IT consumerization and the increase in Internet utilization are partially the reason for the data center boom. However, the natural progression of technology has taken our entire infrastructure into a highly resilient and agile cloud platform. The ability to stay connected and have massive content delivered directly to your end-point is truly impressive.

As the business evolves, the data center infrastructure will have to follow suit. Already business initiatives are directly aligned with the capabilities of the respective IT department. This correlation will only continue to increase as the data center becomes the home of everything. And with the next-generation data center - there must be next-generation management and control.

Making Every (Inter)Connection Count

It’s been an interesting week or two of data center news! “London Internet Exchange takes space in EvoSwitch.”  “Digital Realty announces Open Internet Exhange.” “Open-IX movement goes public.”

So what is happening here? What is the problem that is solved with “open” internet exchanges?

As a frequent North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) meeting participant, I’ve heard growing angst in the internet peering ranks about perceived points of failure presented by having single buildings in major internet hubs (e.g. New York, Ashburn, London, Amsterdam) house commercial internet exchanges. Remember Hurricane Sandy? Beyond geography, questions were raised over the treatment of telecommunications carriers and the manner in which interconnections are made as opposed to the European interconnection model (member-driven, multi-site, public).

The biggest problem Open-IX is trying to solve, however, has nothing to do with geographic diversity or carrier treatment. It’s simple economics. In the United States, the major Internet exchanges are concentrated in the hands of a few data center companies and those companies charge carriers a premium for the right to participate in the exchange. Open-IX lays this case out in their framework document as “The Interconnect Problem.”

RagingWire operates, from an interconnection point of view, in line with open internet exchange principles. All of the company’s data center facilities are carrier neutral.

RagingWire Data Centers - Marrier Meet Me Room

Carriers built into our data center aren't our customers, they're our partners in bringing highly available connectivity to our customers. Our network engineers are dedicated to building trusted, close relationships with all our carrier partners to make the ordering and provisioning process as easy and seamless as possible.

Open-IX is still in its infancy, but we look forward to continuing our long relationship with the participants. We share the desire to continually improve service and reduce costs for our customers. RagingWire is the nation’s leading data center colocation provider, focused on delivering 100% availability of power and cooling with easy access to internet connectivity and the industry’s best customer service. It’s all part of our commitment to making every connection count.

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What Sharknado Taught Me About Leadership

As part of a recent birthday celebration, I was treated to a viewing of Sharknado, the made-for-television disaster film about a hurricane that lifts man-eating sharks out of the ocean and deposits them into the flooded streets of Los Angeles. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: it is a cinematic masterpiece, and one of the best birthday presents a girl could ask for.

As you have undoubtedly guessed, Sharknado has a complex plot. One man – a surfer and bar owner cleverly named Fin – sets out to save his family from the terror swimming through the streets. He is up against some very tough odds, with a small team of people. Some don’t like each other, and some have even been estranged for years. And yet? Through all these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including being swallowed by a shark, Fin succeeds in his mission.

Sharknado and Leadership

And that’s when it hit me. Just when I thought I couldn’t love Sharknado any more, it had to go and teach me something. Below are the top five things Sharknado taught me about leadership. Leaders:

1. Evolve – Leaders are constantly looking at ways to evolve, they are never satisfied with the status quo. My “aha” leadership moment as a young manager came when a colleague told our executive an improvement hadn’t been done due to lack of information from another team. The executive was less than pleased, saying leaders don’t make excuses, they drive improvement. The executive was harsh, and he was right.

This trait is especially important for data center employees. We tend to have small teams – so our employees are encouraged to drive continuous improvement and their own increased knowledge and responsibility in the organization.

Fin didn’t wait for information or action from others, he drove his small team to victory even with the odds stacked against him. And given the sharks’ growling in the film, they must have done some evolving of their own.

2. Trust – As basketball Hall of Famer John Wooden said, “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything… a doer makes mistakes.” Great leaders trust their employees. This trust fosters an environment where people are encouraged to take risks and innovate.

While the best data center facilities and IT staff have stringent operational procedures, their ability to innovate is not lost, it just has to be part of a controlled process involving a development environment. Mistakes – a natural outcome of taking risks – made along the way are used as learning opportunities. This all equates to a very healthy business environment, the kind proven to foster exceptional results.

Fin trusted his team with the risky move to throw bombs into the sharks’ mouths to stop the threat of more sharknados. While some mistakes were made along the way (like when someone fell into a shark’s mouth), I am sure they developed into a better team from their mistakes.

3. Prepare – Effective leaders are prepared, they anticipate future needs and plan accordingly. For data center operators, this area is especially important. We anticipate potential disasters such as severe weather – like Hurricane Sandy in 2012 – and put plans in place ahead of time that cover as many eventualities as possible. Then we test those plans to the letter. Without last minute crises to take care of (because of good planning), there is time to evaluate plan effectiveness and make improvements as necessary. That’s not possible if you’re running around trying to find blankets and cots at the last minute for your operations teams and customers.

Fin anticipated being swallowed by a shark, so he came prepared with his chainsaw. I shudder to think of how Sharknado would have ended had Fin not been prepared, it’s just too upsetting to think about.

4. Are Authentic – Leadership is all about building strong relationships. And you simply cannot do this without being authentic and genuine in dealing with your friends, peers, and customers. Let’s throw integrity and sincerity into the mix here too. To have any level of employee and customer engagement – critical for any organization – people need to be able to relate to you. If they don’t trust you, you will never have the influence required to lead a team to victory. Or through the shark-infested streets of Los Angeles.

5. Execute – Thomas Edison said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” I love this quote for its simplicity and its truth. Wall Street winners and losers are punished or rewarded based on their earnings – not their vision – because at the end of the day it’s about results. As a data center operator, results mean delivering 100% availability for our customers.

Sharknado 2 is only possible because Fin was able to execute his vision.

Why is leadership important? Because the leadership of your organization dictates its culture. Culture dictates the level of talent you are able to recruit and retain. And talent dictates your success or failure.

There are sharks everywhere in business looking to take your greatest assets: your customers and your employees. Defeat these sharks by arming your organization with strong leadership qualities like the ones mentioned above. And… perhaps a chainsaw or two just in case.

Happy First Anniversary RagingWire Virginia!

On July 31, 2012 we cut the ribbon on our new 150,000 square foot data center in the heart of Data Center Alley – Ashburn, Virginia. We turned our data center into a New York night club and over 400 people cheered as we ushered in a "new era in data centers." That evening we wanted to introduce RagingWire to you.

One year later, on August 7, 2013, we got together again to celebrate our first anniversary. This time, instead of "hello" we wanted to say "thank you."

RagingWire Ashburn Virginia Data Center - 1st Anniversary Celebration

We held a barbeque on the lawn of our Ashburn data center campus to thank our customers, partners, suppliers, community leaders, and employees. Each of these groups has been critical to our success.

Dominion Virginia Power salutes RagingWire Data CentersCustomers/Prospects – Over 130 attended including the top Internet and enterprise companies. Without our customers, we are just a building. They are the reason we exist and the reason we have been recognized with the highest customer loyalty in the industry.

Partners/Suppliers – 80+ attendees from Dominion Virginia Power, the top telecommunications companies in the country, innovative engineering and IT services firms, and some of the best data center brokers in the industry. No great thing is ever done alone. At RagingWire, our partners and suppliers have helped us build a great data center in Loudoun County and a great business.

Business/Community Leaders – 40+ dignitaries from Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors, Department of Economic Development, Economic Development Commission, and Design Cabinet, as well as the Superintendant of the Loudoun County School System and the President of the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce. These individuals have been personally and actively engaged in our business. They are accessible, committed, and effective.

RagingWire management team with Loudoun County Officials

Employees – 50 RagingWire employees worked the event with responsibility for parking, registrations, food, beverages, and data center tours. When this team isn’t busy throwing a great party, they are also world-class data center professionals drawn from our electrical, client services, construction, security, operations, sales, marketing, and executive organization.

You know we get asked all the time why RagingWire came to Virginia. First, the power is reliable, available, and cost-competitive, thanks to our friends at Dominion Virginia Power. Second, the fiber and telecommunications are the best in the world. Third, Virginia is one of the most pro-business states in the Union and Loudoun County strives to be the best place to live, work, and play.

Those are definitely the reasons we came to Virginia. But the reason we are staying in Virginia and the reason we are growing in Virginia is because of the community in Data Center Alley that brings together the best customers, suppliers, partners, employees, and legislators in the high tech industry.

Thank you for making RagingWire’s first year in Virginia a great success!

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