Tag: data centres

How to shrink your datacentre

datacenterBy 2018 each person will transmit one gigabyte of data every day, said Jason Dodier, director of sales at APC Schneider Electric. By 2018 there will be 8.6 zettabytes of data. There are two billion internet users, 21 billion network devices, 1.3 million video views per minute.

The data network worldwide use the industrial internet of things, the internet of things itself and social and internet data sources.

Speaking at the Canalys Channel Forum, in Barcelona, the company set out its pitch to the resellers and distributors in the audience. So, APC has something it calls a micro data centre but he said many customers wanted less latency than 100ms, so his company is using edge, which provides less than 10ms latency.

Edge technology is required for medical applications, machine to machine, smart cities, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and speech/image recognition.

Edge computing architectures include gateway, 1 to 10 racks or micro data centres, and regional data centres.

He said localised data centres will be an important part of the market – it;s fast to deploy and provides low latency and high bandwidth.

Schneider APC customers include banks, automotive, oil and gas, government and military and colocation banks.

Micro data centres include storage, processing and networking, ships in a single enclosure and includes power, cooling, security and management tools.

A micro datacentre costs $5/watt for a one rack system compared to $10.8/watt for a 1MW tier one data centre.

Schneider APC sells through a large partner network. Customers can self install, or use system integrator install.

Data centre evolves from snooze to news warns Gartner

darwinBeancounters at Gartner said that thedData centre industry is about to see some rapid change after 15 years of more or less being a snooze.

In its 2015 Magic Quadrant for Data Center Networking report Big G said that emerging innovations like software-defined networking (SDN) and disaggregation switching, and  data centre networking was shaking up the industry.

Unlike in the past, vendor differentiation is shifting toward software — including management, automation and orchestration — compared with hardware.

Gartner Research Director Andrew Lerner, who co-wrote the report said most of the suppliers were the same names as they everywere.  But positions have have changed within the industry.  Arista Networks becoming a Leader and Dell is being more progressive.

The report found that the adoption of and interest in white-box switches over the past year have increased significantly within hyperscale data centres.

Dell twigged to the fact that a white-box or branded white-box was the key and  then Juniper followed, then HP.

There is now a demand for a denser, more highly virtualised data centre to improve agility within networks. Organizations want less proprietary, closed systems than have typically filled the space.

The market leader is still Cisco and has the largest  installed base of any vendor in the quadrant, Cisco is by far the global leader in port shipments and revenue.

Gartner’s report slams Cisco for overlapping, conflicting architectures as well as one of the priciest solutions on the market.

Cisco’s flagship Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is “less open” than some SDN products, said Lerner, but “if you’re looking for an open solution, they do have a broad portfolio.”

Arista is the fastest-growing vendor in the space and is one of only two companies – including Cisco – that Gartner refers to as Leaders.

Arista has taken a open and agnostic approach that’s cost-effective, so it’s a very compelling story for company’s the report said.”

HP is not doing that badly either. The No. 2 player in the market has a strong global reach, a broad portfolio and open SDN. HP was rated the most open vendor, according to Gartner research surveys.

What is keeping the computer giant from being a leader in the market is its failure to execute sales from a channel perspective.

“From a portfolio perspective, they can go toe-to-toe with anybody. … They have the HP brand and the global distribution channel, so on paper, they should be a fierce competitor,” said Lerner. “The reality is, we don’t see the HP distribution channel putting the HP data center networking portfolio in front of customers with the same degree of fervor as, say, a Cisco or even an Arista.”

Dell was the most innovative vendor in the marketplace over the past year, with more than 24,000 networking customers, jumping from a niche player in 2014 to a visionary this year.

Dell was the first mainstream vendor to support a disaggregation switching solution that allowed organizations to run third-party networking software on Dell hardware.

VMware was the only vendor that made the quadrant that doesn’t provide hardware in the data centre. The company’s flagship NSX SDN overlay product garners a high degree of interest and has a proven track record of reliability with customers.

VMware’s suffers from an immature channel and sales coverage  which is triggering its growth.

 

Sandisk increases channel purview

datacenterFlash storage company Sandisk said today it has introduced an enterprise reseller partner programme for its worldwide partners.

Sandisk said it will add support, resources and rewards to existing VARs who qualify to resell its enterprise products.

The reason for the expansion is that flash tech delivers better performance and efficiences for data centres.

The enterprise programme is for Sandisk Commercial business channel partners that re-sell Sandisk hardware and software data centre products, including CloudSpeed SATA drives, caching software, and Optimus SAS solid state drives.

Some of the benefits of joining up include education and training, certification, a web based partner portal, and incentive programmes. There will also be a volume incentive rebate for particular resellers.

 

ZTE profits soar by 94 percent

zte-open-firefox-osChinese telecomms provider ZTE said higher sales of 4G network kit and smartphones meant that for its financial year it turned in a 94 percent net profit increased.

The Shenzhen based corporation said the net profit rose to $423.5 million in its 2014 financial year.

It claims it is the fastest growing providers of 4G across the world, with strong wins internationally and consolidation of its number one position in mainland China.

It claims its lead in 4G technology is allowing it to take the lead in research on 5G technology and it has already introduced pre G5 base stations for trial.

In addition to telecomms, ZTE made inroads into the cloud computing for the financial services market, and also showed growth in data centre products

Revenues from business outside China accounted for 50.2 percent of ZTE’s results.

The company said that it showed growth for both 4G smartphones and 3G handsets worldwide, and improved its branding, its channel distribution and its services.

 

Apple buys into white box servers

novità-apple-2013Cupertino based Apple Inc has decided to ditch HP and Dell to supply its servers and instead is looking to Taiwanese firms to supply its data centre needs.

That’s according to Taiwan wire Digitimes which said some of the local white box server manufacturers have already received orders from Apple for boxes.

One of the major manufacturers of servers is Quanta, which used to specialise almost wholly in making notebooks for big vendors but has diversified its business over the last two years.

It offers servers at a price that undercuts Dell and HP and will customise the machines for customers which already include giants like Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Apple said recently it will open data centres in Ireland and in Denmark and it’s also spending billions on building up data centres in the USA.

The company is also cuddling up to IBM and wants to release tablet machines that will appeal to enterprises rather than the home users it has depended on in the past.

Hyper scale data centres give storage boost

emcboxIDC said that the storage market ended well. In the last quarter, worldwide enterprise storage systems revenue grew 7.2 percent year on year to amount to close to $10.6 billion.

And capacity shipments rose by 43.7 percent compared to the same quarter the previous year to represent 99.2 exabytes.

Eric Sheppard, a research director at IDC, said spending on enterprise storage grew in most markets worldwide with factors including demand for midrange systems using flash memory and systems designed for hyper scale data centres.

EMC was the top dog in fourth quarter, with a 22.2 percent market share. That company was followed by HP (13.8%), Dell (9%), IBM (9%) and Netapp (7.2%).

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 14.37.20

Banks offer data centre storage

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 14.02.45After Santander said a couple of weeks ago that it would offer its data centre for storage, IDC is speculating whether this is going to become a trend.

According to Lawrence Freeborn, a senior research analyst at IDC, this could be the start of a trend, as banks have already invested money in their data centres.

But he does wonder if it’s likely. Banks, he said, have so far only offered storage to ordinary people rather than businesses, although one or two banks offer online cloud storage using Dropbox, or Google Drive and the like.

Banks, he said, are tending to drop safe box products while Barclays provides storage of paper documents rather than safe boxes.

Barclays already offers personal and business customers a cloud storage service for documents such as deeds and the like.

Freeborn said: “Focusing on delivering core offerings well… rather than moving into essentially unrelated services, should always be the guiding principle of any bank. This is the surest way to ensure that a bank can protect its business from the tech companies that are looking to move into banking: much better than trying to move the other way.”

 

Apple blows money on two data centres

Apple's CEO Tim Cook - shot from WikimediaApple has so much money swilling around in its bank account that it can easily afford to spend $2 billion on data centres in Europe.

And that’s just what it’s doing, according to a report from Reuters.

The centres will be based in Denmark and Ireland and will be powered by renewable energy and offer several hundred jobs.

The data centres will be used to support Apple’s online services such as iTunes and its App Store, and will open in 2017.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in a statement that the investment is the company’s biggest in Europe to date.

The Irish centre will be based in Galway and will hire 300 people. Ireland is a favourite spot for US tech multinationals, largely because of the tax breaks it gives the company.

Cisco did better than expected

cfd548a13a777938dc3e31e616d31a70Network equipment maker Cisco reported stronger than expected quarterly revenue and profits as demand for switching equipment and routers picked up.

Cisco has been trying to move towards a new cycle of high-end switches and routers.

Its switching business, which makes products that handle traffic at large internet data centres, netted  39 percent of Cisco’s total hardware revenue in 2014, while the router business accounted for about 21.2 percent.

This means that the outfit is seeing robust switching sales, which is good news for other outfits in the sector such as Infoblox, Gigamon and F5 Networks which should also be doing well.

Rvenue from Cisco’s hardware business rose 7.8 percent to $9.08 billion in the company’s second quarter ended Jan. 24.

Revenue from services, which includes the company’s software and cloud offerings, rose 4.6 percent to $2.86 billion.

So analysts think that Cisco has put the worst behind it and should start returning to the days when it was a blue chip investment.

Chief Executive John Chambers said that the quarter showed the best balance of growth across all of the company’s geographies, products and segments,.

Cisco said its net profit rose to $2.4 billion in the quarter from $1.43 billion, a year earlier. Total revenue rose seven percent to $11.94 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a revenue of $11.8 billion.

Kramer added that while Cisco has made progress in the second quarter, the company will continue to be affected by headwinds from emerging markets and telecom service providers.

The company also forecast revenue growth of 3-5 percent.

 

Worldwide IT spending still to grow

Pic Mike MageeIT spending worldwide will reach $3.8 trillion 2015 – that’s up 2.4 percent from last year.
But market intelligence company Gartner has warned that its earlier prediction of 3.9 percent will be affected by the rise in the price of the US dollar as well as conservative sentiment about services and devices.
But Gartner research VP John-David Lovelock sought to play down the reduction.  He said it “is less dramatic than it might at first seem.  The rising US dollar is chiefly responsible for the change.  Stripping out the impact of exchange rate movements, the corresponding growth figure is 3.7 percent.”
Gartner breaks down the spending by categories as follows:

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 12.09.23

Datacentre systems will be worth $143 billion in 2015, while enterprise software will total $335 billion.
There will be a price war in cloud per seat during 2015 with price drops of as much as 25 percent right through until 2018.  Vendors are discounting cloud offerings heavily, said Gartner.

 

Flash arrays capture market by storm

storageSales of flash memory array units were more than robust last year, amounting to a market worth $11.3 billion in 2014.
IDC said in a market report that the reason is there are better offerings that handle a wide range of more complicated workloads.
Flash based units in data centres include encryption, clones, replication, and storage efficiency.
And the fact that enterprises like the flexibility of flash based products means that enterprise storage vendors like Dell, EMC, HP, IBM and Oracle are jumping on the bandwagon.
Flash arrays are showing better performance, longer lives, better reliability and an improved cost per gigabyte, IDC said.
Startups in the arena include Nible Storage, Pure Storage and Solidfire.
IDC said enterprises should consider flash based arrays when they are considering replacing traditional storage units.

 

Cloud wreathed in mist, myths

clouds3While cloud computing is touted by every vendor and his dog as the panacea for all IT ills, the whole subject is still befogged by myths and mystery.

That’s what market research company Gartner thinks, anyway.  In a recent report it said cloud computing is “uniquely susceptible to the perils of myths due to the nature, confusion and hype surrounding it”.

No one really knows what it is, said David M. Smith, a VP at Gartner.  “In the cloud means where the magic happens, where the implementation details are supposed to be hidden. So it should be no surprise that such an environment is rife with myths and misunderstanding.”

The first myth in the mystery is that not all cloud service pricing is coming down.  Companies can’t assume that the cloud always saves money.  The second assumption made is that the cloud is the be-all and end-all of IT, and using cloud services isn’t necessarily the answer to cutting costs.

Many companies don’t even have a cloud strategy and are just obeying the diktats of their CEO – who probably doesn’t have a clue about what cloud is anyone.  And cloud computing is not one thing – instead cloud services are broad and need to be analysed for their relevance.

People tend to think of cloud computing as less secure than having your data on servers in your premises.  But there’s evidence that security breaches are more likely to happen here than in trusted cloud services.

Data centre outsourcing, data centre modernisation and data centre strategies are not synonymous with the cloud.

Still confused? It’s hardly surprising, is it?

Scientists solve superconductor conundrum

A building at MITMicroprocessors using superconducting circuits can be 50 to 100 times more energy efficient and faster than Intel chips but obstacles have prevented the dream being realised. Yet.

Now MIT researchers claim to have developed a circuit design that will make superconducting devices cheaper to manufacture using so-called Josephson junctions.  MIT said chips using these junctions clock at 770GHz – that’s pretty fast, folks.

Adam McCaughan and Professor Karl Berggren have dubbed their circuit the nanocryotron.

McCaughan said that the world has seen devices come and go without real world applications.  “We have already applied our device to applications that will be highly relevant to future work in superconducting computing and quantum communications,” he claimed.

The cool thing about superconductors is they don’t have any electrical resistance. When electrons trundle along copper wires or circuits in regular chips, they tend to keep bumping against atoms and that generates energy, that is to say heat.

The good Professor’s lab uses superconducting circuits made from niobium nitride, operating at the rather chilly temperature of minus 257 degrees Celsius.  The scientists are experimenting with liquid helium.  “Superconducting computation would let data centres dispense with the cooling systems they currently use to keep their banks of servers from overheating.”

Data centres face revolution

server-racksFour disruptive forces are set to change the face of the data centre by 2016.

That’s according to market research firm Gartner, which estimates that although the data centre market seems poised for growth, existing assumptions will be challenged.

Vendors like the 50 percent or more gross margins in storage and networking hardware and software but  one vendor might decide to slash its margins, so forcing a price war in the data centre industry.

Traditional data centre firms will also face disruption from cloud computing which will reduce the demand of for total amount of compute to total workload.  And Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Baidu are offering platform as a service, with the existing companies failing to offer something equally compelling.

Thirdly, economic warfare between the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will largely increase competition in the data centre infrastructure market.

Last, Gartner thinks that buyers will come to regard multinational providers as untrustworthy. Also there is an increase in small white box assemblers.

Gartner believes that while Intel, AMD, Western Digital and Seagate will sit pretty for the next fee years, the first two will see erosion from ARM and other architectures.  Storage will shift to flash.

IBM, Intel gang up on cloud

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeIntel and IBM said they will work together to improve security for cloud computing.

IBM said “SoftLayer” will be the first cloud venture giving bare metal servers using Intel cloud technology that will give security and monitoring down to the microprocessor level. Intel TXT is built for larger enterprises including governmental agencies, financial services companies and healthcare organisations.

The premise is that as large corporations move to a cloud and data centre model, they want to be sure that the computers are as secure as those managed on their own sites.

SoftLayer is an IBM company that provides a global cloud platform built to scale.  100,000 devices are under management, while 18 data centres in Europe, Asia and the USA are in that web too.

IBM customers will buy SoftLayer servers that have a trusted platform module installed.  Intel TXT will let such customers build trusted computing pools of IT resources in the cloud.

SoftLayer belongs to the Intel Cloud Technology programme and uses Xeon E5-2600 V2, Xeon E3-1200 V3 and Xeon E5-4600 microprocessors.