July 27, 2008

What is Cloud Computing, Anyway?

Irving Wladasky-Berger, chairman emeritus of IBM's Academy of Technology, recently posted a comprehensive overview on Cloud Computing titled "What is Cloud Computing, Anyway?" on his blog.  Irving also wrote about this subject in an earlier post, "The Promise and Reality of Cloud Computing."  Excerpts below:


"Cloud computing is the kind of wide-ranging initiative that different people can look at from their own point of view and come up with their own, somewhat different definitions.  This is not surprising in the early stages of such a comprehensive initiative.  When the Internet first broke into the wider world in the mid 1990s, you similarly heard lots of different opinions on what it was and what it would be good for. In reading through the assorted cloud definitions, five key themes keep coming up.

  1. Well designed consumer and business services
  2. The evolution of the Internet
  3. Massive Scalability
  4. Well engineered cloud delivery centers
  5. How relevant is cloud computing to most companies?"

Very worthwhile reading.

by Will Runyon July 27, 2008 in Design, Services, Who's Who
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July 22, 2008

Greenmonk: Data centers as energy exporters, not energy sinks!

Tom Raftery at Greenmonk recently published a thoughtful post titled Data Centers as energy exporters, not energy sinks!  Tom's post includes quotes from Intel's Nick Knupffer and Steve Sams at IBM on progress being made to reduce heat at the chip level.

Tom reports . . . "However, according to the video below, which I found on YouTube, IBM are going way further than I had thought about. They announced their Hydro-Cluster Power 575 series super computers in April. They plan to allow data centers to capture the heat from the servers and export it as hot water for swimming pools, cooking, hot showers, etc. This is how all servers should be plumbed."

by Will Runyon July 22, 2008 in Design, Energy Efficiency, Power & Cooling, SysAdmins, Who's Who
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June 05, 2008

EPA Seeks Input on Data Center Energy Consumption

At the recent Uptime Institute Symposium in Orlando, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Andrew Fanara explained how their Energy Star Program is implementing a National Data Center Energy Efficiency Information Program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) via the EPA's Energy Star web site.  Managers of data centers can complete a series of forms that will be used to measure server energy use, power and cooling requirements, etc.  Hat tip to Matt Stansbury at SearchDataCenter.com.

Watch more from Andrew Fanara.

by Will Runyon June 5, 2008 in Assessments, Design, Energy Efficiency, Power & Cooling, SysAdmins, Who's Who
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May 09, 2008

Data centers in a box? Skeptics abound.

Microsoft's Mike Manos delivered a keynote at the recent Data Center World spring conference.  Microsoft and Sun are both proponents of packing thousands of servers into "plug and play" 40-foot shipping containers.  Computerworld asked several industry experts what they think of this approach and Manos responds in an article titled
6 reasons why Microsoft's container-based approach to data centers won't work.

by Will Runyon May 9, 2008 in Design, Energy Efficiency, Who's Who
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April 22, 2008

Innovating on Earth Day

IBM recently challenged its employees to participate in a video contest about ways they're innovating with clients, in the workplace and in their homes and communities on the issues of energy and the environment.  Hundreds of videos from 27 countries were submitted.  Here's the winner.  Ten second-prize winners are also posted on YouTube.

by Will Runyon April 22, 2008 in Who's Who
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April 04, 2008

Build a Data Center, Heat the Town Pool

That's what a new data center in Zurich, Switzerland will do with its 2,800 megawatts of excess heat - keep swimmers warm by reusing about 90 percent of the electricity needed to run the data center by reclaiming the heat produced, and save 130 tons of CO2 emissions in the process.  This is one of the three latest green data center projects that IBM is building as part of its Project Big Green initiative.

The other two data centers are being built for kika/Leiner, a green furniture company in St. Polten, Austria; and Telecom Egypt in Cairo.

Green_data_center_2 kika/Leiner's data center is a free-standing cube with about 1,000 square feet of IT space that fulfills all state-of-the-art technical security requirements of a data center. It is locked, has no windows, is equipped with an automatic fire-extinguishing system, and is protected against flooding. The data center does not contain any working space and entrance is restricted. Free cooling will be used in cold months, meaning the air conditioning for the data center will come directly from the cold outside air. Only on warm days will the data center be automatically cooled.

The data center features racks with the newest IBM BladeCenter technology. IBM BladeCenter integrates servers, networks, storage and business applications in highly efficient one-inch systems that sit in a rack like books in a shelf.  Hot air is reduced to room temperature by water-cooled heat exchangers attached to the BladeCenter racks. The high density area covers about a third of the data center IT space and, if required, can be extended. Another third of the data center is space for conventional computing servers with low heat emissions. The last third will remain empty for future expansion.

With more than 10 million customers, Telecom Egypt is the country's largest telecom company.  According to Khaled Marmoush, it's CIO, "Telecom Egypt was convinced that IBM was the best choice because of IBM's standards and methodologies and the experience of the IBM team who worked as a trusted consultant.  IBM provided not only the information about data centers that Telecom Egypt was looking for, but also the technologies and services that are used in today's data centers."

by Will Runyon April 4, 2008 in Design, Energy Efficiency, Power & Cooling, Services, Who's Who
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March 25, 2008

Green your data center and get payback in two years or less

The March issue of Green Business magazine reports in an article title "Get Tech Smart" on the fast ROI from green IT. 

Green_business_cover Key excerpts . . .

In the drive to promote energy efficiency and to improve their own bottom lines through innovation and “green” marketing, IT companies are pushing a more environmentally friendly approach to computing, and they’re doing their best to walk the talk as well. The critical hot spot for all this activity is the data centre...“If this room was a data centre, you’d typically be using 10 to 30 times the amount of energy it’s using as an office,” notes Steve Sams, vice-president of global site and facilities services at IBM Corp...
    The statistics vary depending on who you talk to, but everyone agrees that data centres are energy hogs. The problem, according to Sams, is that many businesses are operating without the facts. “If companies consider their data centre as a car, they don’t actually know if their data centre is a Toyota Prius data centre or a Humvee data centre. They don’t know how many miles per gallon that data centre is getting.”...Sams agrees...most CIOs aren’t responsible for their energy bills. “They may only be paying for a tiny fraction of their energy use because they are charged the same amount per square foot as office space,” he says. “Few have looked at their energy bills either, so they lack the facts to make real business decisions.”
    Another challenge Sams points to is clients not understanding the payback. “These aren’t six, 12 or 20-year payback periods,” he stresses. “What we’re finding is that significant improvement is available in all data centres we looked at with payback periods of two years or less. And we typically find that customers are discovering savings in the 20-55 per cent range.”...IBM has done something similar, rationalizing its internal data centre infrastructure in the past decade from 155 host data centres and 31 networks down to one network and 7 data centres. This is saving them $1.5 billion a year in operating costs. The process itself proves a point for the companies’ customers...As Steve Sams notes, there are other tools coming to the market that could take data centre management to a new level by offering greater automation controls for energy use. “Start taking advantage of these so you can set a policy around service levels and energy management, and let the tools start saving you money by automating what it is capable of — moving workloads around, turning off servers that don’t need to be used as part of active energy management.”

by Will Runyon March 25, 2008 in Design, Energy Efficiency, Services, Who's Who
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March 20, 2008

New Cloud Computing Center in Dublin

NetworkWorld reports on the opening of a new IBM "cloud computing" data center in Dublin. 

One of the Dublin center's first offerings for clients, called IBM Idea Factory for Cloud Computing, is a new service delivered directly to clients over a cloud computing environment. Using Web 2.0 technology, it allows communities of business professionals to be assembled into social networks to facilitate the development of new business ideas. IBM Idea Factory for Cloud Computing captures business processes -- from their beginnings as ideas to commercialization -- speeding up brainstorming among employees, partners, software developers and other third party participants.

Cloud computing is an information technology (IT) infrastructure in which dynamically shared computing resources are virtualized and accessed as a service. Cloud computing replaces the traditional data center model in which companies own and manage their own stand alone hardware and software systems. Cloud computing is an attractive proposition for small to large-sized companies. It also is a green technology model that reduces energy consumption by improving IT resource utilization, therefore requiring fewer servers to handle equivalent workloads.

by Will Runyon March 20, 2008 in Design, Services, Who's Who
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March 03, 2008

College kids find careers in mainframe programming

The Wall Street Journal's Business Technology blog has a post titled Young Mainframe Programmers are the Cat's Meow about the 50,000 kids in college who are studying mainframe programming.

Money quote - "Students like Elizabeth Bell, a 23-year old computer-programming student at Georgian College in Ontario, Canada, are starting to realize that while being a young mainframe programmer may not be sexy, it’s highly marketable. 'There are so many legacy systems out there that it isn’t feasible to think that businesses will phase them out over the next 10 or 20 years,' she tells the Business Technology Blog. Rather than compete with 50 other Web designers for the handful of programming jobs that use the hot technologies of the moment – technologies that Bell says she knows – she taught herself COBOL, a mainframe computer language invented in 1959."

Read more about the next generation of mainframe programmers here and here

by Will Runyon March 3, 2008 in Who's Who
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February 23, 2008

Computerworld Honors Top Green IT Companies

IDG's Computerworld recently announced the top 12 green IT companies as well as the top 12 green users of IT who have led the way in conserving energy and reducing their carbon footprint.

Computerworld_green_it_companies_2 In announcing the winners, Don Tennant, Computerworld's editorial director said, "Being 'green' is not just saying you're conscious about the environment and its challenges. In today's business world, it's about efficiency, power consumption and applying those green principles to smart business decision making.  IBM, recognized as the leading Green IT company in our first Top Green-IT Computing issue, has taken a serious look at how they impact the environment and how they can address those challenges with good business sense, through their Project Big Green initiative and a company-wide focus on energy efficient technology and services."

Upon receiving Computerworld's recognition, Steve Sams, vice president of IBM Global Site and Facilities Services, said "IBM is honored to be named the Top Green IT company for 2008 by IDG and Computerworld.  This is reflective of IBM's long-term commitment to the environment, and of the global success with clients that we've seen with our cross-company Project Big Green initiative, as we assess and implement strategies for our clients to be able to double their computing capacity without increasing energy use."

by Will Runyon February 23, 2008 in Who's Who
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