Thursday, 31 January 2013

Latest Move by VMware Says A Lot

VMware, one of the world's first names in virtualisation software, recently announced the loss of 900 jobs due to poor financial results for the last quarter of 2012. In announcing the job cuts, the company said plans were in place to restructure their business and refocus on core priorities. One of those core priorities is expanding their data centre business.

The news comes as no surprise to those who have been following VMware for the last year or so. The company previously announced plans to transition some 600 workers out of cloud application infrastructure and into a new project known as the Pivotal Initiative. The project is a spin-off that is set to become its own company later this year focusing on cloud applications, mobility and big data.

All of this points to one obvious conclusion: VMware and parent company EMC do not see a viable future in some of their non-core products. The company's weak performance over the last several years is a testament to that. At the same time, they know the data centre industry is expanding at a rapid rate. Focusing their energies on their two strongest lines, data centres and virtualisation software, should help the company rebound nicely in 2013 and beyond.

Acknowledging as much, VMware has stated they plan to add an additional 1,000 jobs this year. How many of those will be data centre jobs remains to be seen, but it's quite likely a good number of them will be. If all goes well, company officials expect revenue growth of about 15% for the year.

Why the Data Centre Should Be a Core Operation

If you had asked companies like VMware 10 years ago whether data centres would be vitally important to their success, you may have been met with some doubts. Before the advent of the cloud the data centre was deemed as something necessary but not worthy of the attention of high-end technology companies. All that has changed drastically.

Advances in technology have made the modern collocation and data centre the heart of data communications all over the world. It has also changed the way data centre customers think about hosting, cloud computing, managed services, etc. So much so that enterprise level customers who would have purchased their own hardware just a few years ago are now either already contracting out, or seriously considering doing so.

How ironic, then, that virtualisation software, like VMware, has provided much of the impetus that has led to today's data centre paradigm. Without virtualisation and the cost-related benefits it provides, we would not be witnessing the data centre explosion we are seeing today.

In a nutshell, the big world of data services has come full circle over the last 30 years. It is no longer cost-effective for companies to try to maintain their own servers and IT services by purchasing hardware and hiring a dedicated staff. Outsourcing to data centre companies and IT service providers is much better for the bottom line. That's good for companies like VMware -- as long as they're not distracted by non-core products and services.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Keysource & Datum Plot Future Course with New Data Centre

For the better part of 15 years, Datum has been offering customers business-class data centres and collocation solutions. They recently made the news with one of the most anticipated data centre events in company history: the unveiling of their brand new data centre in Farnborough, Hampshire.

The facility was designed and built by one of the company's partners, Keysource, and will provide the blueprint for Datum's future data centres located throughout the UK. The new Farnborough centre is located in the QinetiQ Cody Technology Park where high-security makes it a very attractive site.

At the grand opening were officials from Datum, Keysource, and QinetiQ. They were joined by more than 100 guests as well as Datum Managing Director Dominic Phillips and Data Centre Alliance (DCA) chairperson Steve Norris.

Norris was quick to point out the fact that the UK's economic future is tied heavily to data. The opening of the Datum facility is yet another example of data centre expansion in the UK. He further went on to laud the company for their commitment to deploying state-of-the-art technology that pushes the envelopes of high-efficiency and best practices.

Phillips, in his remarks, made mention of some of the facilities most important components: it is based on an environmentally intelligent design, it is carrier neutral, and it sets the stage for Datum to meet the needs of its enterprise-level customers well into the future. Phillips says his company will use the new data centre as the blueprint for developing others in the future. The new facilities are projected to be quite distinct from what is normally found in UK collocation.

Keysource was appointed to design and build a scalable facility in four phases, with high levels of availability and an annualised design Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.25. The first phase of the project provides an initial 250 rack positions, with an average IT load of 3.5kw per rack, which has been developed to be easily scalable up to 1,000 racks.

The design has utilised Keysource’s approach to Modular Data Centre Infrastructure, which includes its proven Ecofris cooling solution that delivers world class levels of efficiency and performance. This solution has been scaled for future phases using standardised designs without the need for disruption or downtime. The data centre’s mechanical and electrical systems are designed for high levels of resilience including 2N electrical infrastructure, back-up power generation and N+1 cooling.

The site will provide flexible colocation of more than 40,000 sq ft of net technical space for mid-sized to large enterprise clients and IT service providers in a purpose-designed building. In addition, a separate 10,000 sq ft energy centre will be constructed to house all of the backup power including the UPS and generators with a total power capacity of 7.5 MVA to allow for higher density requirements.

The Future Looks Bright

Datum's recent grand opening is just one of several that have occurred in Europe over the last few months. The DCA's Steve Norris is correct in his assertion that data is the future of the UK. More importantly, high-efficiency design is the most essential component that will drive the future of data services.

Companies like Keysource will play a vital role in developing solutions that are scalable without the need for service disruptions or downtime. The design they put in place for the Farnborough data centre will be a test of how well they have implemented their strategic goals for scalability.

As Datum and its partners move on into the future, one thing is certain: they are ready to take their business to the next level. The opening of their new facility puts them in a position to do more for their current customer base and provide secure, efficient, and reliable collocation IT services to new customers.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Equinix Leading the Way in European Commission's EU Code of Conduct

In 2007, the European Commission's EURid introduced what is known as the EU Code of Conduct for data centres and other technology-related businesses. The Code of Conduct is a framework the Commission believes will be helpful in reducing power consumption among Europe's data centres. Leading the way is Equinix, a global interconnection and data centre company that just recently announced the EU has awarded them Corporate Participant status.

Being awarded the status is a testament to the company's dedication to energy efficiency and environmental management whenever they design and build a new facility. In the world of data centre news, their announcement is a big one given the fact that companies making the effort to be energy efficient are more attractive to data centre customers.

According to Equinix CMO Dick Theunissen, the award is a "great testament” to his company's commitment to advancing energy efficiency standards through their data centres. He went on to say, "it further validates our commitment to leading the data centre industry on energy management and design.”

As a global provider of data centre services, Equinix operates 30 facilities across Europe. In order to be certified as a Corporate Participant, they submitted best practice documentation and other data proving compliance to Code of Conduct standards at seven of their facilities in Europe. Those facilities are located in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland.

Furthermore, Equinix has developed an energy management framework that is now an industry leader with both ISO 50001 and ISO 140001 certification. They were the first data centre company in Europe to earn ISO 50001 certification and, as a result, they have been a key player in helping to develop the standards now endorsed by the Code of Conduct.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

The old proverb "necessity is the mother of invention" has been around at least since the days of Plato. It rings as true today as it did when it was first coined. The proverb is clearly demonstrated through the efforts of both Equinix and the European Commission's Code of Conduct.

As data centre capacity increases, so does energy consumption for both power and cooling needs. With that increased power consumption comes increased environmental concerns and less energy that can be used by other industries. At the explosive rate the data centre industry has been expanding over the last decade, it was just a matter of time before energy efficiency became a major focus. Then necessity of continuing to meet our energy consumption needs now and in the future requires the development of new technologies.

In advancing the EU Code of Conduct, Equinix is leading the way where others will eventually follow. For them, being awarded the status of Corporate Participant is something of which to be proud. It is also likely to be motivation to drive the company forward in continuing to develop energy-efficient data centre solutions.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Melissa Chambal Joins CNet Training

CNet Training, the world leader in network infrastructure and data centre training, is proud to announce the addition of a new expert instructor in Melissa Chambal, a former BICSI Master Instructor with more than 20 years experience in the field of data centres and network infrastructure.

Chambal has spent five years as an expert instructor teaching network and data centre design courses; experience that will help her fit right in to the CNet Training family. She also brings with her vast expertise in other areas including:

  • Data Centre Design Consultancy (DCDC)
  • Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD)
  • Registered Telecommunications Project Manager (RTPM)
  • Network Transport Specialist (NTS)

CNet Training Group Managing Director Andrew Stevens had nothing but positive things to say about Chambal in the company's official comments. He spoke of her professionalism, passion, technical expertise, and practical experience as elements CNet Training is looking for in their expert instructors. He is thrilled to have Chambal on board.

Chambal will be working on helping to roll out the company's training portfolio in North and South America. She will be working with Adrian Jones, Global Technical Manager at CNet Training. Chambal's multi language capabilities will be put to good use on the project.

Her addition also boosts the reputation of CNet Training thanks to Chambal's strong reputation within the data centre and network infrastructure industry. Her new company is in the midst of increasing global demand for training courses, and adding expert instructors of Chambal's calibre will likely only increase that demand.

For her part, Chambal called it an "honour" to be added to the CNet Training global team. She praised the organization for its commitment to professionalism and high quality training courses offered at locations around the world.

CNet Training was first established in 1996 to provide training to data centre and network infrastructure professionals. The quality of their instructional courses was such that it did not take long before the company was recognized around the world as a leading resource for training. Since then their reputation has only been further bolstered by the quality of the programs they offer.

One of the company's most significant accomplishments is the development of the Global Data Centre & Network Infrastructure Education Framework, a set of certified training courses for industry professionals that is now the Industry-standard for data centre and network infrastructure training.

In the years since they first opened their doors, CNet Training has provide professional certification and education to tens of thousands of professionals all across Europe and Asia. Their new North American office opened in the US in 2012 and it will provide the base of operations for the North American expansion. It is likely that Chambal will be spending a lot of time there as she works to roll out her new company's programming.

In the meantime, CNet Training will continue to offer high quality educational courses for industry professionals at various levels. Customers who have counted on the company in the past have every reason to continue doing so, today and into the future.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Conservative Party Co-Chairman Visits South London Data Centre

Last spring a pair of bright young entrepreneurs opened Netwise Hosting via a new data centre in South London. After nearly 10 months of profitable business, the enterprise is expecting this year to be even better. If a visit from Conservative Party Co-Chairman Grant Shapps (MP) is any indication, the company's future looks bright.

Shapps made the data centre news cycle with his visit to the facility earlier this week. His visit was part of an ongoing project through which the UK government is trying to fuel small business and encourage young entrepreneurs in their efforts. He spent a good part of the day visiting with Netwise management, listening as they told their stories and talked about their experiences in starting a new business venture.

Although some view Shapps' visit as little more than politics, this is not his first interaction with Netwise. He has been an ardent supporter of the company since they opened their hosting and collocation facility last year. He insisted on being kept apprised of the company's progress, as well as with their plans for 2013. The invitation to visit was simply part of keeping him up to speed.

After spending the morning with the company's management team, Shapps was given a full tour of the data centre facility. The focus of the tour was to highlight not only what Netwise can offer customers, but the fact that they are doing it using green technology at the same time.

Hopefully Government Support Continues

One must always view events like the Grant Shapps visit with sceptical eyes. Unfortunately, politicians are well known for using businesses as tools to further a campaign agenda. However, giving Mr. Shapps the benefit of the doubt, it's great to see him show his support for Netwise. Hopefully that support will continue well into the future.

Being that South London is one of the most important IT hubs in all of Europe, it is essential for the businesses located there to have the support of both the local and national government. The last thing they need is to have to worry about fighting Parliament or any one of the dozens of regulatory agencies that oversee their activities.

When government gets out of the way, companies like Netwise are free to prosper. When governments throw their support behind these businesses, there is even greater potential. We look for Netwise to continue growing and expanding as they have over the last 10 months.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Stulz Revolutionizes Air Handling with Modular Design

The bane of existence among those who design and build data centres is the age-old conflict between maximizing space while still ensuring power and cooling needs are being met. In terms of cooling and air handling, a long-standing practice is to contain equipment inside the interior of the data centre. While effective, interior air handling systems reduce usable space significantly.

That's about to change thanks to Stulz, a world leader in data centre cooling technology. Their new CyberHandler air handling systems will change the way data centre cooling is approached by using modular systems that can be installed on the exterior of a given facility.

The CyberHandler system relies on roof or ground space that would otherwise go under-utilised. Inside, a facility's usable space is increased and can be efficiently maximized with the use of modular server technology. Combining the architecture of both types of modular systems takes the modern data centre to the next level.

Although Stulz's new system is modular, it is by no means inadequate. Each self-contained unit supports both direct expansion and chilled water platforms. By building all of the components a customer requires into the modular unit, Stulz has created a customizable air handling system that can be easily modified to fit the needs of any customer.

It is important to note that the CyberHandler system is equally effective for new construction and modification of current sites. It is also completely scalable. As a data centre’s internal footprint expands and new servers and other equipment are installed, additional cooling modules can be added as well. There's virtually no limit to the number a data centre could utilise.

The modular scaling offered by this system makes sense from an infrastructure standpoint, but it's also a good financial move because it means data centre owners do not have to tie up extra funds in a cooling system with potential that will not be fully realised for years down the road.

In terms of efficiency and green power, Stulz has thought of that as well. Each modular unit takes care of the cooling needs of a specific container, using airside economizers. The design is incredibly efficient, requires considerably less power consumption, and has minimal impact on the surrounding environment.

Air Handling Option that Must be Considered


Stulz has changed the air handling and cooling paradigm as we know it with their new CyberHandler system. For those who design and build data centres, it is a solution that must be considered, a solution that should be at the top the list when designing power and cooling systems. To not consider it is to ignore the potential of what could be accomplished in a state-of-the-art facility.

Our hat is off to Stulz for their innovation, design, and dedication to efficient cooling and energy use. There is little doubt that modular is the wave of the future in data centre architecture and infrastructure. Hopefully their system will take the data centre world by storm and pave the way for future development in the sector.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Does INetU Acquisition Mean Expansion In Europe?

INetU, an international managed hosting provider based in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, has been acquired by private equity firm BV Investment Partners. The acquisition comes by way of a recapitalization agreement between the private equity investor and INetU founder and chief executive Dev Chanchani.

Neither of the companies has released details of the transaction, but the fact that it is a recapitalization suggests BV increased their equity and share through a combination of debt conversion and cash infusion. In either case, INetU will use the new investment money to further its expansion goals.

Those goals exist on two levels: pushing INetU's revolutionary gated cloud computing environment and increasing their European footprint. Last year the company opened a new data centre in Amsterdam to fuel the start of their European operations. At the heart of the European expansion was the opportunity to introduce gated cloud computing to potential customers at ground level.

According to company officials, one of the problems with shared cloud environments is the fact that customers have no idea whom they're sharing space with. INetU developed their gated cloud community as a means of offering larger enterprise customers a safer environment populated only by organisations with the best reputations.

The gated cloud environment takes virtualisation to the next level by grouping high-end enterprise customers together and offering them dedicated hardware. It is a significant change for INetU; a company that has long focused on the managed services portion of their business at the expense of hardware. Their expansion into Europe may end up being the driving force causing them to take a more serious look at hardware.

The Company's European Future

When it comes to data centre news, it is not uncommon to hear stories about companies like INetU getting into the European market. What is unusual is seeing an equity investor like BV Investment Partners getting involved. Being that they've been a successful private equity business since 1983, we trust they know a good investment when they see it. The question is, how much of the investment money will stay in America and how much will actually make it to Europe?

In fairness, INetU is a 15-year-old company that has been steadily growing and expanding throughout their entire history. Their consistent growth indicates they have a strong vision and are prepared to move into the future; hence the desire to open the Amsterdam data centre to connect Europe with facilities in Chicago and Erie, Pennsylvania.

If the gated cloud-computing environment sees good success among high-end European enterprise customers, it could pave the way for greater European expansion in other places. Dublin, London, and Frankfurt are certainly not out of the question. As for INetU's European customers, they have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something that could potentially shape the future of the cloud in Europe.

In any event, BV Investment Partners would not have invested in INetU if they believed the company had no future. Whether or not European businesses directly benefit from the investment remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the confidence shown through the BV deal is pretty strong proof INetU will be around for some time.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Setting Your Employees Up for Failure!

Do organisations do this, set their employees up to fail in their day-to-day roles? 

If that question were to be asked, I am sure the resounding response would be no, of course not!  But by not providing employees the tools and knowledge they need to effectively communicate their needs and ideas and do their day job successfully, organisations are setting their employees up for failure.  That’s what is happening in the Data Centre industry right now and business analysts and research companies are shouting about it.

According to Gartner at their Las Vagas Summit in Oct 2012 ‘Big Data’ is well and truly here to stay, ‘what will we do with this data? Data centre people still need to manage the stuff’.  Their message is clear and simple; companies should incentivise employees to learn a broader set of skills that can be deployed into their work environment. David Cappuccio, Managing VP and Chief of Research at Gartner said ‘we spend all our time keeping the lights on; only a small percentage of the budget is for innovation’.  And given the prediction that by 2015 there will be 4.4 million jobs in the industry worldwide, however filling these positions with the anticipated skills shortages will be problematic and only a third of those jobs will be filled.  Great news that jobs will be created, but not great news they can’t be filled due to skills shortages. It almost seems absurd doesn’t it? 

Data centre staff have a huge responsibility, working in a high pressure environment, whereby if it goes wrong, i.e. data failure or breach for a major bank, government, social networking platform or Telecommunications Company causes customer downtime and instant loss of revenue, not to mention the bad press and serious consequences if the staff are at fault.  Wouldn’t any organisation want to ensure their staff are trained, up-skilled and empowered with the right tools and knowledge to do their job? 

The return will be competent, skilled staff that can run data centres and deliver returns to the business. The cost of not doing it could be lost business, bad press and embarrassing security failures.

CNet Training has been offering recognised accredited data centre infrastructure courses into the industry for the last 17 years.  We have trained anyone who is everyone who manages customer data.  We know the challenges of the industry, we know what’s coming and we know how important is it for businesses to train & up-skill their current staff.  And we know what the outcome will be if businesses don’t invest  in their new and existing resources.

Caroline Verlaine, e-business & Design Manager
CNet Training - An Academia Group Company
+44 (0) 1284 767100

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