Showing posts with label Data Centers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Data Centers. Show all posts

Monday, August 21, 2017

CoreSite Extends Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute to more data centers

CoreSite announced the expanded availability of Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, which can now be privately accessed from seven of CoreSite’s markets across the country, including Northern Virginia, Chicago, Silicon Valley, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.

This enables CoreSite customers to privately connect to Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 via the CoreSite Open Cloud Exchange, which provides high-performance, SLA-backed virtual connections and on-demand provisioning.

“We are excited to announce the expanded availability of Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute connectivity to our customers across seven of our key markets,” said Brian Warren, Senior Vice President of Engineering & Product at CoreSite. “We are enabling our customers with the solutions necessary to bring together all of their applications, data, devices, and resources, both on-premise and in the cloud, with predictable, reliable and secure high-throughput connections.”

http://www.coresite.com

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Private Interconnection bandwidth is growing at a 45% CAGR

In reading the Q2 financial reports of leading global carrier, cloud companies, semiconductor fabricators and network equipment vendors, one might be tempted to think that we are in a period of single-digit growth overall, except for certain hot areas, like the public cloud or AI-enhanced anything. On a financial level, this might be the case but in terms of network traffic the industry is still booming.

Cisco’s 2017 Visual Networking Index (VNI), which is widely seen as a leading source for tracking network usage, recently predicted that global IP traffic will increase three-fold from 2016 – 2021, reaching an annual run rate of 3.3 zettabytes by 2021, up from 1.2 zettabytes in 2016, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) or 24%. A year earlier, the same study predicted that global IP traffic would grow at a CAGR of 22% over the 2015-2020 period as more than a billion new Internet users come online and new applications take hold.

Whether a 24% or 22% CAGR, it’s clear from the Cisco study that significant growth continues – and perhaps is even accelerating – in overall Internet traffic. Equinix, the world’s leading co-location data centre operator, is now predicting that Interconnection Bandwidth will grow at a 35% CAGR – notably faster than Internet traffic as a whole. Specifically, the first release of the Equinix Global Interconnection Index, predicts that by 2020 Interconnection Bandwidth between private enterprises will grow to over 5,000 Tbps, a fourfold increase from 2016 with double-digit growth across all industries and use cases.

Defining Interconnection Bandwidth

Equinix defines Interconnection Bandwidth as the total capacity provisioned privately to directly exchange traffic with other parties at distributed IT exchange points. In practical terms, this means cross-connects in a colocation or Internet exchange facility, or private connections between companies either over a private-line provisioned by a carrier or dark fiber.

Equinix, which operates a fleet of 182 co-location data centres in 44 markets worldwide, is in a prime position to measure interconnection bandwidth given its long list of Fortune 1000 clients. Its Global Interconnection Index summarizes data from its own operations as well as from other carrier-neutral colocation data center providers.

For Service Providers specializing in enterprise networking, the study provides food for thought. While interconnection bandwidth is predicted to have a 35% CAGR, the predicted growth for MPLS is only 4%. If Equinix is correct, companies in 2020 will be using private interconnections for exchanging much of their data rather than asking the MPLS provider to provision spurs to their partners.

Key trends at Equinix In its Q2 financial report, Equinix posted quarterly revenues of $1,066 million, up 18% year-over-year and up 11% year-over-year on a normalized and constant currency basis. Operating revenues were $185 million, an 11% increase over the previous quarter.

During Q2, Equinix completed its acquisition of Verizon’s 29 data centers. The transaction, which was valued at $3.6 billion in cash, included over 1,000 customers, of which over 600 were new to Equinix, and approximately three million gross square feet of data center space. The 29 data centers are located across 15 cities in North and Latin America, three markets of which are new to Equinix (Bogota, Culpepper and Houston). This brought Equinix's total global footprint to approximately 17 million gross square feet.

Significantly, Equinix boasts that it now serves 42% of the Fortune 500 and 30% of the Global 2000. Furthermore, Equinix said its interconnection revenues in Q2 grew 24% year-over-year and 17% year-over-year on a normalized and constant currency basis, significantly outpacing colocation revenues. Cross-connects between customers increased to over 242,000. The Equinix Cloud Exchange continues to expand with connections into AWS, Microsoft Azure and Salesforce from new markets.

Some highlights of the Equinix Global Interconnection Index

Regional trends 



Use cases



By industry




Download the full Equinix Global Interconnection Index here:
http://www.equinix.com/resources/whitepapers/global-interconnection-index/

See Converge Digest 2-minute video with Equinix’s Tony Bishop
https://youtu.be/QKx8jWAfE64



Thursday, August 17, 2017

Equinix to install 37 MW of Bloom Energy fuel cells

Equinix will deploy Bloom Energy fuel cells at 12 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers in the U.S.  The installation is provided under a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between a subsidiary of Southern Company and Equinix.

The project will provide a total capacity of more than 37 megawatts of power with a phased installation that begins in late 2017 through 2019. Equinix said the new fuel cells will be installed at seven of its data centers in the Silicon Valley (SV1, SV2, SV3, SV4, SV5, SV6, SV10), three in the New York area (NY2, NY4, NY5) and two in the Los Angeles area (LA3, LA4).  It builds on the pilot program at Equinix's Silicon Valley SV5 IBX data center that began in 2015.

"As Equinix data centers, and the interconnection they facilitate, become increasingly critical to the infrastructure of our digital world, this fuel cell expansion is one step in lessening the overall impact of the digital economy on the planet. It enables us to serve our customers with the highest levels of performance while assisting their efforts to make their supply chain clean and efficient," stated Karl Strohmeyer, President, Americas, Equinix.

http://www.equinix.com/

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Facebook picks Ohio for its latest data center

Facebook has selected New Albany, Ohio as the location for its 10th major data center. New Albany is a town of about 8,500 people located in the geographic center of Ohio, about 20 miles to the northeast of Columbus, and at an elevation of 1,000 feet.

Like Facebook's other recent data center projects, this new facility will be powered 100% by renewable energy and it will used Open Compute Project architecture and principles, including direct evaporative cooling by outdoor air.

The New Albany data center will be 900,000 square feet in size and located on a 22 acre parcel. Media reports stated that Facebook plans to invest $750 million in the project. The New Albany data center is expected to go online in 2019.

https://www.facebook.com/NewAlbanyDataCenter/?fref=mentions

Locations of Facebook data centers:

  • Prineville, Oregon
  • Forest City, North Carolina
  • Luleå, Sweden
  • Altoona, Iowa
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • Clonee, Ireland
  • Los Lunas, (New Mexico
  • Odense, Denmark (announced Jan 2017)


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Equinix brings AWS Direct Connect to NY

Equinix has established connectivity into Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect service in the New York region, enabling all Equinix customers in the New York metro the ability to access AWS Direct Connect at all available speeds via Equinix Cloud Exchange or Equinix-provided metro connectivity options.

The Equinix New York campus consists of eight data centers that serve as business hubs for approximately 825 companies across multiple industries, with a high concentration of financial services and media firms. In addition to directly connecting to AWS, Equinix New York customers can choose from a broad range of network services from 125 providers.  Equinix New York data centers are also home to the Equinix Financial eXchange, a large community of financial market participants that exchange data in close proximity to each other to optimize their electronic trading operations.

The addition of New York brings the total number of Equinix metros offering AWS Direct Connect service to seventeen: Amsterdam, Chicago, Dallas, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, London, Munich, New York, Osaka, Sao Paulo, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Warsaw and Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia.

http://www.equinix.com

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tata teams with CoreSite to support enterprise digital transformation

CoreSite Realty, a provider of data centre and interconnection solutions across the U.S., announced that it has partnered with Tata Communications, a global provider of network, cloud, security and mobility services, to support the digital transformation.

Under the agreement, Tata Communications and its global communications and technology teams will have access to CoreSite's data centre and interconnection solutions across the U.S. Tata noted that the expansion of its cloud and managed hosting services in the U.S. through CoreSite is part of its strategy designed to facilitate customers' digital transformation initiatives without increasing costs.

Through the new relationship, CoreSite's data centre solutions teams will become extensions of Tata Communications' team to support its managed hosting and IZO cloud enablement platform in the U.S. As part of the partnership, Tata Communications has deployed a new IZO private cloud node in CoreSite's NY2 data centre in New Jersey to support U.S. enterprise adoption of hybrid cloud securely and flexibly.

The fully-managed IZO private cloud offering gives CIOs control over all their applications by creating a hybrid, high-performance IT infrastructure in which different cloud, colocation and managed hosting environments work together as a whole. In addition, via IZO private cloud, U.S. enterprises also gain access to IZO cloud storage for unlimited volumes of data in an always available and secure environment.

By working with CoreSite, Tata Communications will expand its data centre capacity by a total of 2.2 million sq feet spread across eight of the largest data centre markets in the U.S.

As part of the agreement, Tata Communications has become a member of the CoreSite Marketplace, which provides a dynamic web-enabled interface that provides customers with information about other service providers and support for their IT strategies.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Equinix appoints Charles Meyers as president, strategy, services & innovation

Equinix, the global interconnection and data centre company, has announced the appointment of Charles Meyers to the newly created role of president of Strategy, Services and Innovation, effective August 1st, responsible for leading the strategic business teams supporting the company's next phase of growth as it focuses on addressing the changing needs of customers and partners.

Encompassed within the new Strategy, Services and Innovation unit are the office of the CTO, business development, product management and product engineering. The unit also includes new business teams that are being formed to position Equinix for the future by: optimising the company's position as a strategic enabler of cloud services; identifying key growth areas that align to its long-term strategy; and evaluating and translating key market, competitive and technology trends into actionable business requirements.

Equinix noted that as the leader of the new Strategy, Services and Innovation group, Mr. Meyers, who currently serves as COO, will shift his focus from the core operations of the business to ensuring that Equinix keeps pace with the changing customer requirements in an increasingly 'cloud-first' world. He will also focus on identifying key growth areas and applying expertise and resources to addressing these opportunities while aligning them with the company's long-term strategy. He will report to CEO Steve Smith.

Charles Meyers joined Equinix in 2010 as president of the Americas region; in 2013, he was promoted to the role of COO, where he has overseen global sales, marketing, operations and client services activities. In this role, Mr. Meyers has played a key role in enhancing Equinix's operating disciplines globally, identifying and driving best practices, and delivering a more consistent global experience for customers.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cisco Launches its Latest Unified Computing System

Cisco launched a new generation of servers and software based on Intel's latest Xeon Scalable Platform processors and a unique Cisco system-level vision for the future of IT.

The Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) M5 generation seeks to extend the power and simplicity of unified computing for data-intensive workloads, applications at the edge, and the next generation of distributed application architectures. The latest UCS Director 6.5 management software allows data center professionals to complete 80% of operational tasks from a single console. A Workload Optimization Manager, which is powered by Turbonomic and which is deeply integrated into the UCS hardware, uses intent-based analytics to continuously match workload demand to infrastructure supply across on premise and multi-cloud environments. The company says the Cisco UCS can reduce administration and management costs by up to 63 percent while accelerating the delivery of new application services by up to 83 percent.

Leveraging the new Intel Xeon Scalable processors, UCS M5 servers supports up to double the memory capacity of previous systems. Cisco said its lab testing reveals that UCS M5 servers deliver up to 86% higher performance over the previous generation of UCS.

The M5 generation of servers include:


  • Cisco UCS B200 M5 Blade Server: a half-width blade form factor for traditional multi-tier or distributed applications. It supports two GPUs.
  • Cisco UCS B480 M5 Blade Server: for workloads ranging from memory-intensive, mission-critical enterprise applications to distributed database virtualized workloads.
  • Cisco UCS C220 M5 Rack Server: aa high-density 2-socket rack server that delivers performance and efficiency for a wide range of workloads, including virtualization, collaboration, and bare-metal applications.
  • Cisco UCS C240 M5 Rack Server: a storage and I/O optimized enterprise-class rack server for big data analytics, software-defined storage and bare metal applications.
  • Cisco UCS C480 M5 Rack Server: featuring a modular architecture for flexible technology refreshes, the C480 delivers scale-up extensibility for in-memory databases, big data analytics, virtualization, VDI and bare metal applications. GPU support has tripled—with up to six supported—as has disk capacity, which now supports 32 drives.

“As organizations strive to become more competitive through real-time analytics and faster decision-making, new thinking around data center infrastructure is required,” said Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Computing Systems Product Group. “Our unique, unified system architecture delivers the agility our customers need to create a cloud experience on-prem, so that our new line of servers simply means faster applications with fewer complications.”

http://www.cisco.com

Equinix opens $113m AM4 IBX data centre in Amsterdam

Equinix announced the opening of its new $113 million International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre, AM4, in Amsterdam at its Science Park campus to address increasing demand for interconnection capacity from business customers.

Equinix's new AM4 IBX facility in Amsterdam is adjacent to the existing AM3 data centre and is designed to enable companies to extend network infrastructure to the digital edge and enhance workload performance by shortening the distance between services and the end users.

The initial phase of AM4 includes space for 1,555 cabinets and is planned to have four expansion phases. At full build the vertical facility will represent a total investment of approximately $189 million and provide 4,200 cabinets across eight floors with more than 125,000 gross sq feet (11,500 sq meters) of data centre space.

Equinix noted that it operates multiple Amsterdam data centre campuses, with the addition of AM4 adding capacity to meet growing demand for hybrid cloud, interconnection and connectivity to business ecosystems across vertical markets and Internet exchanges. The company noted that according to the European Commission's Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2017, the Netherlands ranked as the 4th most advanced digital economy in the EU,

The company added that the Netherlands offers connectivity to over 150 global submarine cable systems and Equinix data centres in Amsterdam provide high density networks to offer Dutch businesses greater choice when planning IT projects. In addition, multinationals seeking to expand into Europe also consider Amsterdam a top destination, providing connectivity to around 80% of Europe within 50 milliseconds latency.

Equinix Amsterdam currently has more than 700 customers, provides connections to over 150 network service providers and access to an established cloud ecosystem that includes AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Office 365, Oracle and IBM Softlayer. Equinix also allows buyers and sellers of cloud services to connect via the Equinix Cloud Exchange in Amsterdam and more than 20 markets worldwide.


Separately, Equinix announced an expansion of its presence in the Frankfurt, Germany market with the opening of FR6, the new $96 million IBX data centre located at  Campus Kleyer. The new facility offers low-latency connectivity to Europe and international markets, and is designed to meet enterprises' need for data-intensive applications such as electronic trading, data analytics and IoT scenarios requiring IT deployments closer to the network edge.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Intel Debuts its Xeon Scalable Platform

In what it called its “biggest data center launch in a decade”, Intel officially unveiled its Xeon Scalable platform, a new line of server CPUs based codenamed Skylake and specifically designed for evolving data center and network infrastructure.

The new silicon, which Intel has been refining for the past five years, promises the highest core and system-level performance averaging 1.65x higher performance over the prior generation.  First shipments went out several months ago and are now in commercial use at over 30 customers worldwide, including AT&T, Amazon Web Services and Google.  Intel says every aspect of Xeon has been improved or redesigned: brand new core, cache, on-die interconnects, memory controller and hardware accelerators.

Intel’s new processors scale up to 28 cores and will be offered in four classes: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The design boasts six memory channels versus four memory channels of previous generation for memory-intensive workloads. Up to three Intel Ultra Path Interconnect (Intel UPI) channels provide increase scalability of the platform to as many as eight sockets.

Intel claims 4.2X greater VM capacity than its previous generation and a 65% lower total cost of ownership over a 4-year old server.  Potentially you might need only one quarter of the number of servers. For communication service providers, the claim is that the new Xeon Gold will deliver a 2.7X performance boost for DPDK L3 forwarding applications over a 4-year old server.



Key innovations in Xeon Scalable Platform

  • Intel Mesh on-chip interconnect topology provides direct data paths with lower latency and high bandwidth among additional cores, memory, and I/O controllers. The Mesh architecture, which replaces a previous ring interconnect design, aligns cores, on-chip cache banks, memory controllers, and I/O controllers, which are organized in rows and columns, with wires and switches connecting them at each intersection to allow for turns. Intel said this new design yields improved performance and greater energy efficiency.

    More specifically, in a 28-core Intel Xeon Scalable processor, the Last Level Cache (LLC), six memory channels, and 48 PCIe channels are shared among all the cores, giving access to large resources across the entire die a
  • Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel AVX-512), which delivers ultra-wide vector processing capabilities to boost specific workload performance, now offers double the flops per clock cycle compared to the previous generation.  Intel AVX2,6 Intel AVX-512 boosts performance and throughput for computational tasks such as modeling and simulation, data analytics and machine learning, data compression, visualization, and digital content creation.
  • Intel Omni-Path Architecture (Intel OPA) is the high-bandwidth and low-latency fabric that Intel has been talking about for some time. It optimizes HPC clusters, and is available as an integrated extension for the Intel Xeon Scalable platform. Intel said Omni-Path now scales to tens of thousands of nodes. The processors can also be matched with the new Intel Optane SSDs.
  • Intel QuickAssist Technology (Intel QAT) provides hardware acceleration for compute-intensive workloads, such as cryptography and data compression, by offloading the functions to a specialized logic engine (integrated into the chipset). This frees the processor for other workload operations. Encryption can be applied to data at rest, in-flight, or data in use.  Intel claims that performance is degraded by under 1 percent when encryption is turned on. This function used to be off-chip.
  • Enhanced Intel Run Sure Technology, which aims to reduce server downtime, includes reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features. New capabilities include Local Machine Check Exception based Recovery (or Enhanced Machine Check Architecture Recovery Gen 3) for protecting critical data.

Aiming for the megatrends

In a webcast presentation, Navin Shenoy, Exec Vice President & General Manager, Intel’s Data Center Group, said that as traditional industries turn to technology to reinvent themselves, there are three megatrends that Intel is pursuing: Cloud, AI & Analytics, and 5G.  The new Xeon Scalable Platform addresses the performance, security and agility challenges for each of these megatrends.

AT&T’s John Donovan testifies, performance boost about 30%

During the big Xeon Scalable unveiling, Intel invited AT&T’s John Donovan on stage to talk about the new processors/ AT&T gained access to the new processors a few months ago and has already deployed Xeon Scalable servers which are carrying production traffic.  Donovan reported about at 30% performance boost for its applications over the previous Xeon generation. The net effect he said should be a 25% reduction in the number of servers it will need to deploy.  Intel has been seeding the process with other top customers as well.

This 30% performance boost is certainly good, but it is probably a stretch to call this upgrade “the biggest data center announcement in a decade.” For other applications, perhaps the claim is better justified. One such area is machine learning, which Intel identifies as one of the key megatrends for the industry. There are some interesting developments for Xeons in this domain.

A strong market position

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is the first public cloud to put the Intel Xeon Scalable Platform into commercial operation. A partnership between Google and Intel was announced earlier this year at a Google event where the companies said they are collaborating in other areas as well, including hybrid cloud orchestration, security, machine and deep learning, and IoT edge-to-cloud solutions. Intel is also a backer of Google’s Tensor Flow and Kubernetes open source initiatives.

In May 2016, Google announced the development of a custom ASIC for Tensor Flow processing. These TPUs are already in service in Google data centres where they "deliver an order of magnitude better-optimized performance per watt for machine learning." For Intel, this poses a long-term strategic threat.  With this announcement, Intel said Xeon’s onboard advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel AVX-512) can increase machine learning inference performance by over 100x – a huge boost for AI developers.

The data centre server market is currently dominated by Intel.  Over the years, there have been several attempts by ARM to gain at least a toe-hold of market share in data centre servers, but so far, the impact has been very limited.  AMD recently announced its EPYC processor for data centre servers, but no shipment date has been stated and the current market position is zero. NVIDIA has been gaining traction in AI applications as well as in public cloud acceleration for GPU intensive applications – but these are specialized use cases.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mellanox intros Spectrum-2 200/400 GBE data centre switch

Mellanox Technologies announced the Spectrum-2, a scalable 200 and 400 Gbit/s Open Ethernet switch solution designed to enable increased data centre scalability and lower operational costs through improved power efficiency.

Spectrum-2 also provides enhanced programmability and optimised routing capabilities for building efficient Ethernet-based compute and storage infrastructures.

Mellanox's Spectrum-2 provides leading Ethernet connectivity for up to 16 ports of 400 Gigabit Ethernet, 32 ports of 200 Gigabit Ethernet, 64 ports of 100 Gigabit Ethernet and 128 ports of 50 and 25 Gigabit Ethernet, and offers enhancements including increased flexibility and port density for a range of switch platforms optimised for cloud, hyperscale, enterprise data centre, big data, artificial intelligence, financial and storage applications.

Spectrum-2 is designed to enable IT managers to optimise their network for specific customer requirements. The solution implements a complete set of the network protocols within the switch ASIC efficiently, providing users with the functionality required out-of-box. Additionally, Spectrum-2 includes a flexible parser and packet modifier which can be programmed to process new protocols as they emerge in the future.

Mellanox stated that Spectrum-2 is the first 400/200 Gigabit Ethernet switch to provide adaptive routing and load balancing while guaranteeing zero packet loss and unconditional port performance for predictable network operation. The solution also supports double the data capacity while providing latency of 300 nanoseconds, claimed to be 1.4 times less than alternative offerings. It is designed to provide the foundation for Ethernet storage fabrics for connecting the next generation of Flash based storage platforms.

Mellanox noted that Spectrum-2 extends the capabilities of its first generation Spectrum switch, which is now deployed in thousands of data centres. Spectrum enables IT managers to efficiently implement 10 Gbit/s and higher infrastructures and to economically migrate to 25, 50 and 100 Gbit/s speeds.


The new Spectrum-2 maintains the same API as Spectrum for porting software onto the ASIC via the Open SDK/SAI API or Linux upstream driver (Switchdev), and supports standard network operating systems and interfaces including Cumulus Linux, SONIC and standard Linux distributions. It also supports telemetry capabilities including the latest in-band network telemetry standard, enabling visibility into the network and monitoring, diagnosis and analysis of operations.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Switch enters rapid growth phase for its SuperNAP data centres

Switch is the operation behind the massive SuperNAP in Las Vegas, also known by superlatives such as 'world’s densest data centre' or the first 'elite' data centre capable of exceeding Tier IV classification by the Uptime Institute. Switch currently has about 1.8 million sq feet of colocation data centre space powered up in Las Vegas, with plans to add a further 854,000 sq feet of space in this same market. Switch has also kicked off construction of a multi-billion dollar data centre campus in Reno, Nevada, as well as another marquee data centre in Grand Rapids, Michigan. An international expansion is also underway with its first data centre in Europe (Siziano, Italy) and Asia (Chonburi, Thailand). Last week, Switch unveiled its latest ambition - a data centre campus spanning more than one million sq feet in Atlanta.

Switch is privately-held company founded in 2000 by Rob Roy, a young entrepreneur who seized upon the idea that the world's leading corporations and telecom operators would benefit from highly-secure, scalable and energy-efficient colocation space where their systems could be in close physical proximity to many other like-minded carriers and corporations. Many others had this same idea at the turn of the millennium and thus we had the birth of top data centre operators whose names are still recognised today (Equinix CoreSite, Telecity), along with others that have since disappeared.

The company really got started by acquiring an Enron Broadband Services building located on Las Vegas' east Sahara Boulevard that provided access to long-haul fibre routes from the national network operators. This facility was originally intended to be the operational centre of Enron's bandwidth arbitrage business. Following Enron's spectacular collapse, the property was acquired in a bankruptcy auction by Rob Roy, reportedly only for $930,000.

Rob Roy, who remains CEO and chairman of the business, had the counter-intuitive insight to build the world’s largest data centre in the desert city of Las Vegas. There are several reasons why Las Vegas could have been a bad choice. First, the geographic location is far away from the financial centres of North America - there are relatively few Fortune 500 headquarters in Las Vegas. Second, Las Vegas is unmistakably situated in a desert. During July, the average daytime high temperature is 40.1C (104F). It is commonly understood that air conditioning is one of the greatest costs in running a data centre, and for this reason hyperscale data centres have been built near the Arctic Circle. Why build one in the desert? Third, Las Vegas is known for gambling and entertainment, but not particularly for high-tech.  If you are looking for hotspots for tech talent, you might think of Silicon Valley, Seattle, Boston, Austin, Ann Arbor or many other locations before picking Las Vegas.

However, each of these objections turned out to be an advantage for Switch thanks to the persistence or innovation of its founder. Regarding its location, the Nevada desert is geographically isolated from other potential geographic disasters.  It is spared from the earthquakes of California, Oregon or Washington. It is not in tornado alley nor is it in the path of any potential hurricane.  The location has no possibility of suffering through a debilitating blizzard, flood or tsunami. The biggest enterprises with the tightest requirements will want to have at least one major data facility out of any potential danger zone. By scaling its data centre campus to an enormous size, the Switch SuperNAP becomes its own gravity centre for attracting clients to the campus. According to the company's website, there are over 1,000 clients now, including big names such as Boeing, eBay, Dell EMC, Intel, JP Morgan Chase and many others.

As for the desert heat, Switch innovations enabling it to nail the energy efficiency challenge. The company's proprietary Thermal Separate Compartment in Facility (T-SCIF) design, which enables an unusually high-density of power load per rack, does not use water cooling. Nor does it use conventional computer room air conditioning units. Key ingredients include a slab concrete floor, hot air containment chambers, high ceilings and a heat exchange system mounted above. HVAC cooling units are outside the building. The company cites a PUE of 1.18 for its data centres in Las Vegas and an estimated 1.20 for its new facility in Reno, Nevada.

Regarding technology innovation, Rob Roy now has 256 patents and patent-pending claims with many focused on his Wattage Density Modular Design (WDMW) data centre design. Talent attracts talent. Whereas some data centre operators describe themselves primarily as real estate investments trusts, Switch positions itself as a technology leader.  One example is its proprietary building management system, which uses more than 10,000 sensors to gather millions of daily data points for dynamically optimising operations.

The Nevada desert enjoys abundant sunshine and since January 2016 all its data centres have operated on 100% renewal energy thanks to two nearby solar power stations operated by the company. These solar farms use PV panels to generate 180 MW of capacity. The focus on renewable power has earned the company an “A” listing on Greenpeace's Clean Company Scorecard, ahead of Apple, Facebook, Google, Salesforce, Microsoft, Equinix and all the others with large-scale data centre operations.

Below is an overview of major facilities and developments (data from the company website and other public sources):


In March 2017, Switch officially opened the first phase of the 1.8 million-square-foot data centre campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The iconic building, which is an adaptive reuse of the Steelcase Pyramid, is the centre piece of what is intended to become the largest, most advanced data centre campus in the eastern U.S. The entire campus is powered by green energy.

In February 2017, Switch inaugurated its Citadel Campus in Reno, Nevada (near Tesla’s Gigafactory). The Citadel Campus, located on 2,000 acres of land, aims to be the largest colocation facility in the world when it is fully built. The first building has 1.3 million sq feet of space. It is connected to the Switch SUPERLOOP, a 500-mile fibre backbone built by the company to provide low-latency connectivity to its campus in Las Vegas as well as to the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles.

In December 2016, SUPERNAP International officially opened the 'largest, most advanced' data centre in southern Europe. The new facility is built to the specifications of the company's flagship, Tier IV Gold-rated Switch Las Vegas multi-tenant/colocation data centre. The new facility is located near Milan and includes 42,000 sq meters of data centre space with four data halls.

In January 2016, construction began on a new $300 million SUPERNAP data centre in Thailand’s eastern province of Chonburi. The new SUPERNAP Thailand data centre, which is in the Hemmaraj Industrial Estate, will cover an area of nearly 12 hectares and will be strategically built outside the flood zone, 110-metres above sea level and only 27 km away from an international submarine cable landing station.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Digital Realty pays a premium for DuPont Fabros

Late last week came news of the latest consolidation in the rapidly-evolving market of colocation data centres. Digital Realty agreed to acquire DuPont Fabros Technology (DFT) in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $7.6 billion. DFT owns and operates a fleet of 12 purpose-built data centres concentrated in Northern Virginia, Chicago and Silicon Valley - three markets red hot for data centre activity. The DFT properties offer a combined total 3.5 million gross sq feet and 302 megawatts of available critical load. Digital Realty is the premier name in data centres, as it operates 156 key colocation facilities in 11 countries on four continents. The merger especially boosts Digital Realty's presence in hyperscale data centres in top U.S. markets.

DuPont Fabros hits a home run with hyperscale data centres

The quick summary for DFT is that all of the space in its 12 massive data centres is fully leased. The company is enjoying double digit growth in both revenue and earnings. A significant expansion programme is underway, including its first venture into Canada. The stock price has been soaring and now there is a takeover offer valued at $7.6 billion from the industry's leading player.

DFT was founded in 1997 and is based in Washington DC. Its co-founder and ongoing chairman of the board is Lammot J. du Pont and its second co-founder was Hossein Fateh. Together they pursued the concept of managing data centres as real estate, helping their enterprise customers to consolidate the rent, taxes and maintenance costs all under one lease. In 2007, the company went public as a real estate investment trust (REIT).

For the quarter ended March 31, 2017, earnings were 45c per share compared to 36c per share in the first quarter of 2016. Earnings increased 9c per share, or 25%, year over year, which was primarily due to new leases that commenced in 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 and lower preferred stock dividends, partially offset by the impact of the issuance of common stock that occurred late in the first quarter of 2016. For the year ended December 31, 2016, earnings were $1.67 per share compared to loss of 40c per share in 2015. The company proudly notes the credit worthiness of its leases, saying that investment grade or equivalent customers will represent more than 50% of total revenue.

DFT flagship location is its Ashburn, Virginia campus, which comprises of 2.138 million gross sq feet, built on 159.7 acres with a total critical load of 207.9 megawatts. Ashburn, commonly referred to as Data Center Alley, benefits from dense fibre connections to all major U.S. carriers, the presence of many federal agency customers and low-energy costs from Dominion Virginia Power. On this point, it should also be noted the Commonwealth of Virginia, along with Dominion Virginia Power (the leading electric utility in the state), have been laggards in regard to renewable energy. Dominion's website still lists coal generation as constituting 26.5% of its energy mix, while renewables (including hydro) account for only 5.6%. Another data centre in nearby Reston, Virginia adds another 256,000 sq feet of colocation capacity. For the central U.S., DFT owns and operates a campus in Elk Grove Village, Illinois (just outside Chicago) with a total 820,000 sq feet of space in two building. For the West Coast, DFT owns and operates a data centre in Santa Clara, California offering 360,000-sq feet of space and 36.6 megawatts of critical load capacity.

In 2016, DFT acquired the former Toronto Star printing plant in Vaughan, Ontario for $55 million CAD. Construction is underway to convert the former printing plant into a state-of-the-art data centre with 23 computer rooms spread across 21,016 M2 with a critical data power capacity of up to 46 MW.

As mentioned above, DFT also has a very busy expansion program under way.  It has six data centre development projects currently under construction in Ashburn, Chicago, Santa Clara and Toronto for a total expected investment of approximately $750 million. These new facilities represent roughly a 26% expansion of its standalone critical load capacity. All are expected to be online within the next 12 months, and remarkably the company has already pre-leased 48% of the new capacity. DuPont Fabros also boasts strategic land holdings in Ashburn and Oregon, which will support the future delivery of up to 163 megawatts of incremental capacity, along with 56 acres of land recently acquired in Phoenix.

In May, DFT confirmed its largest wholesale lease to date. A customer pre-leased 28.8 megawatts of electrical loads across two markets: its new CH2 data centre in Elk Grove Village and the first two phases of a new building being constructed on its Ashburn campus. In short, DFT is firing on all cylinders. The company has been the enviable position of signing customers even faster than it can build its hyperscale data centres. No wonder Digital Realty was willing to pay $7.6 billion to acquire them.

DLR gets interconnected metro data centre campuses

With 156 data centres to its name, Digital Realty (DLR) was already a competitive provider in all the DFT markets mentioned above. The merger with DFT gives its added capacity in Northern Virginia, Chicago and Silicon Valley. More importantly, it expands Digital Realty’s presence in the hyperscale segment, where top-tier cloud and content companies are eager to sign long term leases in major markets rather than going through the trouble of acquiring land, gaining permits and then building data centres on their own. DLR estimates that capex investments for hyperscale cloud infrastructure amounted to $26.3 billion in 2016, up from $21.1 billion in 2015.

In Northern Virginia's Data Center Alley, DLR already operated 17 data centres with a combined 2.2 million sq feet of space. DFT adds nine prime buildings. So now, the combined DLR will have a total of 26 data centres and 4.4 million sq feet of space within a 20-mile radius. With today's data centre interconnect (DCI) DWDM technology, the company will have the opportunity to tie these metro facilities together like never before. In Chicago, the merger will give DLR a combined 7 data centres and 2.5 million sq feet of space in a 25-mile radius. And in Silicon Valley, DLR will have 16 data centres and 2.1 million sq feet of space in a 7-mile radius.

Digital Realty's CEO A. William Stein commented, "This strategic and complementary transaction significantly enhances Digital Realty's ability to support the growth of hyper-scale users in the top U.S. data centre metro areas, while providing meaningful customer and geographic diversification for DuPont Fabros".

As for combined customers, an investor presentation following the merger announcement listed IBM, Facebook, CenturyLink, Rackspace, Equinix, LinkedIn, AT&T, JP Morgan Chase, Verizon, Dropbox and other marquee names.

Continuing the consolidation

The DFT-DLR deal is certainly notable for its rich valuation. It adds momentum to a sector that we already knew was red hot. In May, Equinix completed its acquisition of 29 data centres and their operations from Verizon Communications. This deal was valued at $3.6 billion in cash. Combined, the acquired properties cover approximately three million gross sq feet of data centre space. Also in May, private equity funds including Medina Capital Advisors and Longview Asset Management acquired CenturyLink's data centres and colocation for $1.86 billion. This deal consisted of CenturyLink's portfolio of 57 data centres which includes approximately 195 megawatts of power across 2.6 million sq feet of raised floor capacity. From the numbers we can see that there is no clear correlation between acquisition price and sq footage. As with all real estate, location is the prime factor, which brings the top tier customers in search of hyperscale space.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Canadian data centre company eStruxture raises C$80m

Montreal-based eStruxture Data Centers, a new network and cloud-neutral data centre operator, has announced the development of its Canada-wide platform, designed to meet the growing demand for large, energy efficient data centres that is being driven by the adoption of cloud services and demand for data storage within Canada.

The company stated that it has raised an initial C$80 million in capital through a funding round led by Canderel and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. The funding will be used to expand its footprint across Canada, both through the acquisition of existing data centre operators and new data centre development.

As part of this growth strategy, eStruxture also announced the completion of its first acquisition with the purchase of the assets of Netelligent Hosting Services, a major data centre operator in Montréal.

Netelligent provided colocation, cloud, managed services and bandwidth to more than 850 customers and had developed a cloud-neutral ecosystem that allowed customers to access diverse private and public cloud providers. The acquired downtown data centre facility enables eStruxture to offer customers high-density power of up to 30 kW per cabinet.

eStruxture was established to provide network and cloud-neutral data centre solutions designed to offer the capacity, performance and flexibility required for demanding enterprise applications. The company offers colocation, private cloud, managed services, bandwidth and security and support services to customers of all sizes.


eStruxture is led by president and CEO Todd Coleman, who co-founded Cologix, where he also served as COO. Mr. Todd has held a number of senior positions at companies including Level 3 Communications, where he held the roles of SVP of Data Centers, SVP of Media Operations and president of Level 3 Communications Europe.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Microsoft Builds Cloud Data Centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town

Microsoft announced plans to open cloud data centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa by next year.  These will be Microsoft's first data centers on the African continent.

The facilities will be used to deliver the Microsoft Cloud — including Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365.

This announcement brings us to 40 cloud regions around the world

https://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2017/05/18/microsoft-deliver-microsoft-cloud-datacenters-africa


Equinix teams with Eastern Light to build Stockholm-Finland dark fibre route

Equinix, the global interconnection and data centre company, has announced it is working with Sweden-based independent dark fibre infrastructure provider Eastern Light to establish a new international optical cable route in northern Europe.

The new cable system is non-amplified and designed to allow customers to utilise the equipment of their choice over dark fibre. The cable system will connect from Stockholm, Sweden to Hanko, Helsinki and Kotka in Finland, along the route terminating in two Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres: HE6 in Helsinki and SK2 in Stockholm. The Equinix facilities serve as key interconnection points for the Nordics region and support the transmission of global Internet traffic in the region.

By connecting to Equinix data centres, Eastern Light and its dark fibre customers can leverage Equinix's established business ecosystems and interconnection platform, Platform Equinix, which provides access to the markets and ecosystems that support digital business worldwide.

Equinix noted that Stockholm-based Eastern Light is currently building a series of new international optical cable routes in northern Europe, with a focus on selling dark fibre to operators and other customers that require control over their own infrastructure.

Eastern Light's main supplier of submarine sea cable systems is NSW (Norddeutsche Seekabelwerke), and the new cable system has been optimised utilising Ciena's GeoMesh solutions as part of its dark fibre offering. The Sweden-Finland portion of the cable is scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2017.

The new Eastern Light cable integrates the cable landing station and interconnection hub within a single solution at Equinix's Helsinki and Stockholm data centres, eliminating the need for a beach cable landing station. This helps to reduce cost and complexity and enhance reliability, and will enable Eastern Light customers to scale bandwidth using advanced networking technologies such as SDN.



  • In March, Equinix announced the expanded availability of the Equinix Cloud Exchange, bringing the solution to three new markets, including Dublin, Milan and Stockholm. The solution offers direct, private access to multiple cloud providers for European businesses and enables global enterprises to orchestrate hybrid and multi-cloud solutions across multiple locations.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Video: Building Data Centers and Cable Landing Stations - @EtixEverywhere #ITW2017



The race to build first class data centers is on.

0 Etix Everywhere builds, finances and operates data centers and cable landing stations worldwide.  The company is already in 19 countries and has many projects ongoing.

Antoine Boniface, Managing Director of Etix Everywhere, provides an update.

See video: https://youtu.be/9X63NYkCthU


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Video: Data Center Boom in Ireland


Will the data center boom accelerate in Ireland?

Ireland is already home to the largest concentration of major cloud providers in Europe. In recent months, we have seen Irish data center expansions from AWS, Google, Facebook, Equinix and Microsoft.  New next-gen transatlantic cables have landed on the Emerald isle.

With Brexit uncertaintly in the air, will even more data center operators move to Ireland?  In this video, Paraic Hayes, Vice President of IDA Ireland, says the government is extremely active to support the expansion of this activity with the goal of making Ireland the data capital of Europe.



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

CenturyLink Completes Sale of 57 Data Centers

CenturyLink completed its previously announced sale of its data centers and colocation business on May 1 to funds advised by BC Partners, in a consortium including Medina Capital Advisors and Longview Asset Management. The deal was valued at $1.86 billion. Cyxtera assumes ownership of CenturyLink's portfolio of 57 data centers which includes approximately 195 megawatts of power across 2.6 million square feet of raised floor capacity. Approximately 700 CenturyLink employees will transition to Cyxtera.

"This sale allows CenturyLink to drive greater focus on our network infrastructure while still having the ability to sell colocation services in these data centers," said Glen F. Post III, chief executive officer and president of CenturyLink. "CenturyLink provides reliable and secure network solutions that are critical to the success of businesses which increasingly rely on digital connections to help ensure the growth and success of their operations. Additionally, our hosting and cloud services, combined with our robust IT services and solutions, offer customers an impressive suite of complementary services."

http://www.centurylink.com

Monday, May 8, 2017

Equinix provides direct access to Oracle Cloud at Washington DC IBX facility

Equinix, the global interconnection and data centre company and member of Oracle PartnerNetwork, announced the availability of dedicated, private access to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure IaaS offering via the Equinix Cloud Exchange.

Direct access via Equinix enables enterprise customers to migrate applications and data to Oracle Cloud and gain low latency connectivity for an enhanced user experience. The latest agreement builds on previous collaborations between Equinix and Oracle to enable direct access to Oracle's suite of cloud services, including PaaS and SaaS solutions, in markets worldwide.

Under the new agreement, access to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure will initially be available via the Oracle Cloud Network Service FastConnect in the Equinix Washington, DC International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre; additional markets scheduled to be added during the year.

Equinix noted that leveraging Cloud Exchange and API integration with Oracle's FastConnect, customers are able to establish direct connectivity between on-premises infrastructure and Oracle Cloud environments. This allows customers to adopt a hybrid cloud model, with the ability to reliably and efficiently move application, middleware and database workloads between on-premises systems and the Oracle Cloud.

Equinix cited examples of hybrid deployments enabled by the collaboration including:

1.         Customers wishing to migrate and host complex, multi-tier solutions in the cloud while minimising production downtime.
2.         Customers with the need to perform analytics on large data sets residing in Oracle databases, which can host Oracle solutions on-premises inside Equinix and, via FastConnect on Equinix Cloud Exchange, extend their network into the Oracle Cloud, so removing data size limits, increasing throughput and reducing latency.

3.         Customers wishing to consolidate databases into Oracle Exadata Cloud Service but with limited capacity in their existing data centre, who can place Oracle Exadata racks inside Equinix and connect to Oracle Cloud for high availability.


Oracle FastConnect, offering private access to Oracle Cloud on Equinix Cloud Exchange, is scheduled to be available in six markets, including Washington DC, Chicago, Amsterdam, London and Sydney, by the end of 2017. Equinix Cloud Exchange is currently available in 21 markets worldwide across North America, Europe and Asia.

See also