Greening the Data Center – PUE and DCiE

Greening the Data Center Most companies want to be good corporate citizens and going green is a part of this strategy.

Executives, customers, shareholders and environmental groups are prompting IT managers to look for ways to use less energy.  One way to determine and monitor energy efficiency in a data center is by calculating the data center’s Power Usage Efficiency (PUE).

PUE provides valuable insights into energy usage over time.  For example, IT managers can calculate where they are today in terms of efficiency. They can get a baseline of operations.  Then, recalculating PUE over time shows how the organization is improving its energy usage and increasing efficiencies.

So how is PUE calculated?  PUE measures how effectively input power is used in a data center.  Basically, it’s a ratio of power available to power used determined in kilowatts (KW).  The larger the ratio is from one, the less efficient a data center is from an energy usage standpoint.

Another metric IT managers consider is Data Center Infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE).  The inverse of PUE, DCiE is the ratio of the power used to the power available.  This ratio will yield a factor less than one.  The closer the DCiE ratio is to one, the more efficient the energy usage.

PUE and DCiE concepts are fairly easy to understand, but not always simple to calculate on an ongoing basis.  To enhance green initiatives as well as lower energy costs, many IT managers consider whether to build or lease data center space.

This analysis takes place because improving PUE and DCiE ratios often come at an expense.  For example, significant investments may be required in more efficient power distribution units or computer room air conditioning units.  In addition, renovating data center space to improve airflow and heat dissipation may be necessary.  Greening a data center may also require downtime, which will add to overall costs.

A number of factors must be considered when taking steps to improve energy efficiency.  It often boils down to finding an acceptable balance between cost and efficiency.  Having the greenest data center operation around is a worthy goal.  However, if huge investments are required and funding is scarce, IT managers may have to find an acceptable trade-off.

One option, especially if an organization’s data center is nearing the end of its life cycle, is to migrate to a colocation model.  Colocation providers, like CyrusOne, have invested heavily in their data centers.  Implementing the latest technologies, practices and processes, a CyrusOne facility offers energy efficiency at levels most organizations would not be able to develop in-house.

Continue here to read the CyrusOne Blog for information about CyrusOne data centers and colocation services.

Strange and Unexpected Data Center Outages

A recent article posted on Datacenterknowledge.com highlighted some of the strangest data center outages to-date. Although downtime can happen at any time – the power goes out, a backup system fails, a tech slips up — these particular events happened under odd circumstances.

Some of the more bizarre outages include:

  • The Leap Second Bug– When the earth rotates, variations occur in Universal Time. To account for these differences, one second adjustments are applied to the world’s atomic clocks. But in 2012, an adjustment wreaked havoc on numerous IT systems. During this freak event, LinkedIn, Reddit, Mozilla and The Pirate Bay websites crashed. In addition, 400 Qantas flights in Australia were delayed until the airline switched to manual systems.
  • Yahoo’s Squirrel Attack– In 2010, half of Yahoo’s Santa Clara data center was taken down by a squirrel. The little critter chewed through some important wires leading to a major systems crash.
  • Dropping Anchor– Undersea cables carry Internet traffic around the globe. However, in 2008, a ship dropped its anchor on one of these cables and caused Internet outages in several regions.
  • Thievery – Danish ISP Nianet had many of its networking cards stolen. To get at the hardware, the thieves cut a hole in a data center wall.

In an earlier robbery, two masked men broke into a Chicago data center and stole around 20 servers. It’s speculated they also accessed the facility by cutting through a wall. The websites hosted on the stolen servers went down for good.

The facility belonged to C I Host, a provider no longer in existence.  During its operation, this provider experienced four separate events in which property was seized.

  • Vehicle Crash – In 2007, a power transformer exploded after a truck drove into it.  As a result, a facility operated by Rackspace experienced an outage that took down several major websites.
  • Moving Servers Old School – When Navisite acquired hosting provider Alabanza in 2007, it began moving customer accounts from Maryland to Massachusetts. The move involved unplugging the servers in the Baltimore facility, loading them onto a truck and driving them to Andover, Massachusetts 420 mile away. The websites hosted by Alabanza went offline during this trek.
  • Superstorm Sandy – A rare event like Sandy has never been recorded in the Northeast before. The magnitude of this unpredictable storm caused major data center outages in New York and New Jersey. Extreme flooding and gasoline shortages were major contributing factors in many of these outages.

Realize Things Can Go Wrong

Even when data center managers follow industry best practices, downtime can still happen, as the events listed above indicate. When something unexpected occurs, do you know how your data center will recover?

For many organizations, colocation is an important part of a disaster recovery plan and can help you mitigate risks. For example, CyrusOne has data centers located around the globe.  Each of these facilities provides military-grade 24/7/365 security, reliable power and dependable connectivity. You’ll also benefit from customized and turnkey configurations including low, medium and high server densities.

In addition, CyrusOne provides individually secured offices with access to your network and systems. We offer amenities such as copy and fax machines, phones, break rooms and conference rooms. And, our CyrusOne staff is onsite to assist you whenever needed.

To learn how you can be prepared with CyrusOne as your disaster recovery and business continuity partner, schedule a tour of our data centers or call (855) 564-3198 today.

Cyber Attacks Continue to Rise During 2014

Cyber Attacks Continue to Rise According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 395 data breaches occurred in the U.S. during the first half of 2014 – a 21% increase over the same period in 2013.  This figure only represents breaches reported to regulators or covered by media outlets.  The actual number of attacks is likely far greater.

Cyber attacks result from lax data security practices.  In addition, computers and devices containing sensitive information have become prime targets for thieves.  The data stored on stolen hardware, which is often inadequately protected, can be easily accessed.

Recently, a prime industry target for hackers is healthcare, with small businesses in the healthcare chain being particularly vulnerable.  Since healthcare organizations do business with numerous vendors, it has difficulty controlling security at every company location.

For example, large hospitals work with hundreds and even thousands of vendors who have access to their data.   A recent survey on IT security in healthcare uncovered troubling activity – the majority of healthcare vendors lack minimum security and are ill-prepared to ward off security attacks.

Healthcare organizations must establish minimum levels of security for its vendors and hold them accountable.  Proven security practices need to be developed to curb the growth in targeted breaches.

In addition to healthcare, an article appearing in CIO Insight found attacks were aimed at energy, financial and retail industries, as well as critical infrastructure.  The increase of  mobile application usage is creating challenges for IT professionals in these industries and others who are trying to maintain the highest levels of data security.

Continue here to read the CyrusOne Blog for information about CyrusOne data centers and colocation services.

Cooling Considerations for HPC Applications

Cooling Considerations for HPC ApplicationsAs server densities increase in High Performance Computing (HPC) applications, data centers are working to ensure cooling systems keep pace.  Typically, data center operators have the choice of two different solutions: air-cooled and liquid-cooled.

For many years, data centers have used computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units.  These devices monitor and maintain temperature, air distribution, and humidity provide under-floor air distribution to cool large areas of the data center.

However for many HPC solutions, CRAC units  cannot adequately cool high density server racks.  They’re unable to direct the volume of airflow through high density racks necessary to provide adequate cooling capacity.

Liquid cooling can be the better option in many HPC situations and can also provide greater efficiencies, since he heat transfer rate of water is estimated at three to four times greater than air.

In CyrusOne’s Houston West data center campus, a large proportion of the HPC infrastructure is water cooled.  This cooling method facilitates efficient heat rejection. Compared to traditional air cooling, heat transferred to water is 800% more efficient than heat transferred to air.

In addition, CyrusOne delivers power at 480 volts as opposed to the standard 208 volts.  Using this configuration reduces power conversion and results in greater efficiency.  With high power delivery and water cooling solutions, the high-density environment improves power usage effectiveness (PUE) by more than 12% and delivers direct utility savings for CyrusOne customers.

Continue here to read the CyrusOne Blog for information about CyrusOne data centers and colocation services.

 

Can Big Data Really Provide a Competitive Advantage?

Can Big Data Really Provide a Competitive Advantage?“Big data” is a term the business world has heard for awhile now.  The question to answer is whether it can live up to the hype and, more importantly, what benefits can it provide your company?

Although some skeptics exist, many experts believe big data can help a business outpace its competitors. According to research conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute, insights gleaned from large volumes of data have become economically relevant to businesses, government and consumers. As many believe, big data has the potential to actually transform businesses and even lives.

Big data refers to large pools of data accumulated and analyzed for patterns.  Businesses can base decisions on discernible patterns they uncover in big data.  The data can provide a clearer picture of how to improve things like productivity, product quality, customer satisfaction, and cost savings.

To compete effectively, companies need to take big data seriously.  Developing big data strategies can help businesses outperform their peers and leverage growth opportunities.

For example, some early adopters of big data have used sensors embedded into their products.  These sensors collect data on how a company’s products are being used, managed, and serviced.  With this valuable information, businesses can develop new strategies for future product design.

Another example involves pharmaceuticals. Determining the health outcomes of a drug is typically limited to discoveries during clinical trials. Big data analysis can gather information when pharmaceuticals are widely prescribed and uncover risks and benefits that may not have been evident during the trials.

Big data will have a tremendous impact on how companies conduct business. Organizations gathering and analyzing big data have the potential to create competitive advantages and better position themselves for success.

Continue here to read the CyrusOne Blog for information about CyrusOne data centers and colocation services.

Will REITs be Stand-Out Investments in 2014?

Will REITs be stand-out investmentRelative to the S&P 500, real estate investment trust (REIT) stocks have been trending up during the first half of 2014.  The MSCI US REIT Index has returned 12.18%.  Conversely, the S&P 500 only eked out a 2% gain.

If real estate values rise as expected, REITs will follow suit.  Many experts also agree REITs perform better when other stocks are struggling.

Several trends are causing REITs to be well-positioned for future growth:

  • Uniquely, data center REITs attract two different groups of investors:  technology and real estate.  Industry analyst Gartner, Inc. estimates technology and data use will drive demand for data centers by 7% annually.  This growth is expected until 2017.  To keep pace, more data center square footage will be required, making these REITs an attractive investment.
  • U.S. industrial REITs are also gaining ground.  As vacancies decline, this sector is expected to be a top performer.
  • Self-storage REITs present good opportunities as well.  Not subject to long leases, storage REITs can capitalize on economic growth.
  • As room rates continue to rise, analysts estimate lodging REITs to provide good returns.  Supply and demand factors are also favorable.
  • Although some investors have been wary of healthcare REITs, these investments should experience growth in the near term as demand for healthcare is expected to increase.

What about CyrusOne in an REIT Portfolio?

As a REIT, CyrusOne offers many attractive qualities.  Based on Q1 2014 results, some of the highlights include the following:

  • Fortune 1000 companies make up over 74% of CyrusOne tenants.  Since going public in January 2013, the number of CyrusOne’s Fortune 1000 customers has increased from 119 to 135.
  • First-quarter revenue was up 29%, compared to the first quarter of 2013.  Driving this revenue growth was strong demand, coupled with an expanding customer base, and 55% rent growth from existing customers.
  • CyrusOne has over one million square feet of data center space. CyrusOne operates 25 carrier-neutral data center facilities across the United States, Europe and Asia.
  • According to recent guidance, CyrusOne’s 2014 revenues are expected to be in the $305 million to $315 million range.
  • Since going public, CyrusOne stock (CONE)  is up around 20%.

For more investor information, visit the special investors section of the CyrusOne website.

CyrusOne Wins 2014 Stevie® Award

The Stevie® Award trophy

The prestigious Stevie® Award is given by the American Business Awards (ABA) in a variety of categories.  CyrusOne recently learned of the recognition for marketing campaign of the year in the Internet/Telecom category.  The ABA’s new product and tech awards ceremony will be held September 12, 2014 in San Francisco.  CyrusOne will be awarded a gold, silver or bronze award at this event.

Targeted to senior-level IT professionals, the winning campaign involved integrating custom web content, pay-per-click (PPC), search engine optimization (SEO), email campaigns, social media and public relations.  The campaign increased our visibility and generated more qualified leads.

Thanks to the efforts of the in-house marketing team and outside marketing agency KEO Marketing, CyrusOne has had ongoing success building its brand.  The Stevie Award recognizes our achievements.

This year’s Stevie Awards attracted more than 3,300 nominations from all kinds of organizations and industries.  To select the finalists, 150 business professionals judged the entries in April and May of this year.

Since 2002, the Stevie Awards have honored a diverse group of organizations around the world.  Those companies demonstrating outstanding performance are selected to receive the award.  In addition to recognizing exemplary organizations, the Steve Awards’ mission is to raise the company’s profile of each winner with the media, the business community and the general public.

Visit http://www.stevieawards.com for more information on the awards program.  Continue here to read the CyrusOne Blog for information about CyrusOne data centers and colocation services.

Top CEO Challenges in 2014

Top CEO ChallengesAccording to Stephen Miles, founder and chief executive of The Miles Group, business leaders are facing a host of key challenges. The Miles Group advises top CEOs and board of directors globally on developing talent strategies for organizations, teams and individuals.

The top CEO challenges include:

  • Finding the path to growth – In the past few years, CEOs have focused on cutting costs and enhancing productivity.  These actions have created strong balance sheets.  Today, CEOs need to shift their primary attention to funding growth initiatives.
  • Stepping up to government and regulatory challenges – CEOs must try to influence the political process and prepare for government intervention as much as possible.  The impact of government policies will continue. The Affordable Care Act is one example of a government program influencing today’s businesses.
  • Engaging effectively with the Board of Directors – Boards have evolved over the years to become strategic resources for CEOs.  Depending on how the board operates, CEOs will need to tailor their engagements.
  • Leading as if the whole world is watching – Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle of cameras and recording devices, CEOs operate in a world without privacy.  There’s no such thing as an “off-the-record statement” anymore.  As a result, strong leadership and transparency are necessary.
  • Weighing pensions’ impact on the bottom line and talent – As pensions continue to put a strain on the bottom line, companies are moving to other programs, such as 401ks.  CEOs must carefully weigh the costs of retirement programs with employee retention and engagement.
  • Bringing in talent for growth – CEOs need to identify executives well-qualified to grow a business.  In the past, executives needed to demonstrate an ability to improve productivity and cost cutting.  Now, talent management involves more difficult skills to describe and attain.
  • Turning data into dollars – With a focus on the customer, CEOs will look for the best ways to collect and analyze data.  Big data strategies will move to the forefront so employees can better engage customers and prospects.
  • Rethinking off-shoring – As low-cost production geographies shift, CEOs will re-evaluate whether off-shoring continues to make sense.  Investments in off-shoring will likely be adjusted to bring work back home for many businesses.
  • Moving past “talk” in innovation – When it comes to innovation, how a company executes strategies will make the difference.  CEOs will invest more in supporting innovationin the future.
  • Instilling change leadership into corporate DNA – CEOs will place a premium on agility.  Employees must be able to respond quickly to a changing environment.

Continue here to read the CyrusOne Blog for information about CyrusOne data centers and colocation services.

CyrusOne Participates in Greater Chicago and Midwest Data Center Summit

CyrusOne Data Center SummitThe third annual Greater Chicago and Midwest Data Center Summit was held on June 12, 2014, at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza. The summit focused on data center real estate, connectivity and technology infrastructure.

During the conference, CyrusOne’s Chief Commercial Officer Tesh Durvasula participated on a panel titled “Connectivity Challenges and Opportunities in 2014.”  The panel discussed the adoption of the open IX model in the U.S.  Sharing market insight and best practices, Tesh Durvasula also talked about the creation of the Open Internet Exchange model, potential cost savings associated with the Open IX, connectivity options and market trends in the Midwest.

CyrusOne is a founding supporter of the Open IX and the first multi-site provider to receive the Open IX certification across multiple data centers.  These qualifications position us as an industry leader continually working towards increasing the resiliency and reliability of Internet connectivity and content delivery to customers.

The summit, and Tesh’s panel in particular, provided an excellent opportunity for attendees to get a candid analysis of market conditions and opportunities from industry thought-leaders, as well as new perspectives in real estate.

Although the final attendance figures have not been calculated, the event was expected to attract over 500 executives, such as real estate investors and developers, technology service providers, property management firms, attorneys, architects, construction companies and technology firms.

Continue here to read the CyrusOne Blog for information about CyrusOne data centers and colocation services.

The Changing Role of CIOs in Purchasing Decisions

colocation services, CIOsAccording to a recent Forrester Research study, CEOs, rather than CIOs, make the strategic decisions more often in data center related purchasing decisions.  Technology is a strategic asset and, therefore, can make a huge impact on a company’s operations, regardless of size.

Given this strategic nature, the CEO needs to be engaged.  The highest levels of the organization must determine how technology can be deployed strategically to help accomplish business goals.

In the past, CIOs typically made decisions about major technology-related purchases, even if the purchase involved a huge investment.  This isn’t the case today.  CEO participation is no longer just a formality  of providing a signature on the paperwork.  Instead, most CEOs actively participate in the process and make the final decision.

What’s been driving this shift to more C-suite participation?  Data is playing a more central role within the organization and competitive playing field.  Therefore, any data-oriented decisions are now involving the CEO with the CIO becoming a major influencer.
The benefits of greater CEO involvement?  Technology decisions become more than an IT decision.  They become broader in nature.  In other words, technology decisions involving a company’s entire C-suite are better aligned with strategic initiatives.

Since the C-suite execs were involved throughout the process, they’ve also provided the necessary buy-in to the decision and are committed to the outcome.  Whether the project fails or succeeds, ownership of the project belongs to the CEO and entire C-suite executives.

Continue here to read the CyrusOne Blog for information about colocation services, CyrusOne data centers and colocation services.