1. Featured Articles

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    1. Wimpy cores are coming to Facebook. But which cores?

      Wimpy cores are coming to Facebook. But which cores?

      Facebook has made waves by detailing its plans to use what an executive calls “cell-phone chips” — or “wimpy cores” — in its future data centers. Frank Frankovsky, the VP of infrastructure at Facebook told me that the social network plans to test such chips now and throughout next year, with plans to have them in production in 2014. “We’re testing and generally bullish on the category, and based on some of the early testing our useful work per watt per dollar will improve, although that varies by workload,” said Frankovsky. “Although our Hip Hop [loads are] the most CPU intensive and that hasn’t been ruled out.” HipHop is the open source code Facebook uses to speed up the PHP code underlying the entire site.

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      Mentions: Intel Facebook Dell
    2. Multiple Generator Failures Caused Amazon Outage

      Multiple Generator Failures Caused Amazon Outage

      Amazon Web Services says that the repeated failure of multiple generators in a single data center caused last Friday night’s power outage, which led to downtime for Netflix, Instagram and many other popular web sites. The generators in this facility failed to operate properly during two utility outages over a short period Friday evening when the site lost utility power, depleting the emergency power in the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. Amazon said the data center outage affected a small percentage of its operations, but was exacerbated by problems with systems that allow customers to spread workloads across multiple data centers. The company apologized for the outage and outlined the steps it will take to address the problems and prevent a recurrence.

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    3. Free cooling in the data center

      The Green Grid, a non-profit consortium that works to improve data center efficiency, recently published some interesting survey results on the use of ‘natural’ or ‘free’ cooling in data centers (located mostly in the US). The survey found that half of respondents are now using natural cooling to save energy and cost and 25% are considering adopting the technology in the future. A triumph for the natural cooling movement and the environment then? Well not quite, the survey also contained a curious twist: despite the use of natural cooling, the survey conclusion was that there was little difference between the reported Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of data centers using natural cooling and those that don’t.

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    4. Top 10 Data Center Stories, June 2012

      Top 10 Data Center Stories, June 2012

      During the month of June, stories about supercomputers, Stephen Hawking and downtime for Amazon’s cloud were among the top items that interested Data Center Knowledge readers. Also, Facebook’s data center designs, such as those for servers and racks, continued to be a leading topic on our site. Here are the most popular stories on Data Center Knowledge for June 2012, ranked by page views: Top 10 Supercomputers Illustrated – June 18 Hawking is First User of SGI ‘Big Brain’ Supercomputer – June 14 Video: Amazing LEGO Data Center – June 14 Seven Cloud Computing Trends – Part 1 – June 4 Amazon Data Center Loses Power During Storm – June 30 More Problems for Amazon EC2 Cloud – June 29 Power Outage Affects Amazon Customers – June 15 Closer Look: Facebook’s New Server, Storage Designs – June 27 Netflix Rolls Out Its Own Content Delivery Network – June 27 eBay: Bloom Boxes Will Power Utah Data Center ...

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    5. Is it time for more off-grid options for data centers?

      Is it time for more off-grid options for data centers?

      Massive thunderstorms knocked out Amazon’s web services on Friday night and the cloud giant was still struggling to get service back up on Saturday, affecting major AWS customers like Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest. To me the news raises the question: is it time for the huge data center operators to more seriously investigate off-grid options? It’s not as crazy as it sounds, and some Internet players already are experimenting with generating their own power onsite for parts of their data centers and using the grid partly as back up power. Last week eBay announced that for an extension of its data center in Utah, it plans to power that new capacity with 30 fuel cells from Bloom Energy, making that section of the data center grid independent.

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    6. From leading edge to landfill (...or not) by Peter Judge

      From leading edge to landfill (...or not) by Peter Judge

      Most people outside France haven’t heard of Minitel - and that is a shame, because it was the world’s first big online service. It has been going for 30 years. And over the weekend, it was finally switched off. In 1982, the French postal and telecoms service, PTT, launched an online information system, which was offered, with free terminals, to everyone in the country. France had universal access to an interactive system in 1982. Compare that with what was going on elsewhere. 1982 was the year that the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) was standardised, and widespread Internet access was a decade away. The first IBM PC clones were appearing, hot on the heels of the IBM model, and within Apple there was civil war between the Lisa and the as-yet-unlaunched Macintosh. Oh yes, and in the UK, Sinclair Research launched the ZX81. Minitel was offered to telephone subscribers ...

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    7. Networking startup Plexxi scores $20.1M

      Networking startup Plexxi scores $20.1M

      Plexxi Systems, a stealthy networking startup that wants to bring fiber into the data center at a cost comparable to existing Ethernet technologies, has scored a $20.1 million third round of financing from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Matrix Partners and Northbridge Venture Partners. Plexxi has been around since 2010 and has raised a total of $48.48 million from the current investors to build a switch that uses fiber optics instead of the current Ethernet connections. The money will help bring Plexxi’s product to market as it is making the rounds at large webscale and cloud providers showing off its switch.

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    8. Data Center Development Diary: Meet The Planners

      Data Center Development Diary: Meet The Planners

      Planning commission meetings are not terribly exciting. They aren’t highly attended and you typically spend the time semi-drowsing until they reach your project on the agenda. Sometimes the festivities are enlivened by an impassioned plea by some old curmudgeon explaining why “he just has to have” that “fill-in the-blank” eyesore in his backyard, or doesn’t want that “fill-in-the-blank” eyesore in his backyard, but there doesn’t appear to be anyone fitting that description in the audience tonight.

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    9. Data Centers Heat Up

      Data Centers Heat Up

      The energy consumed by data centers around the world, according to some estimates, will reach 2 trillion kilowatts per hour by 2020. Data centers consume about 2% of all power used worldwide. But several trends are converging to make data centers, the engines behind corporate IT, more efficient and less energy draining. Server, storage and network virtualization and the movement of some computing tasks to public clouds are helping reduce data center power needs. And forward-thinking data center managers are letting temperatures rise in their facilities as high as 85%, enabling dramatic savings.

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    10. Equinix, DFT Pace Second Quarter Winners

      Equinix, DFT Pace Second Quarter Winners

      Data center developer DuPont Fabros Technology (DFT) and colocation provider Equinix (EQIX) had the strongest performances among public companies in the data center industry in the second quarter of 2012, notching double-digit gains amid a mixed showing for the sector. Shares of DuPont Fabros rose 16.8 percent in the three month period ending June 30, boosted by strong leasing at its new data center properties. DFT signed up tenants for more than 18 megawatts of data center space at its new ACC6 data center in Ashburn.

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    11. After The Storm: Architecting AWS for Reliability

      After The Storm: Architecting AWS for Reliability

      The recent data center outages for Amazon Web Services have focused attention on the best ways to deploy applications on AWS to avoid downtime. The breadth of Amazon’s cloud computing infrastructure offers many options for routing around problems in a single availability zone or region, and the most recent outage Friday night prompted much discussion around the web about the best ways to configure the architecture of AWS apps for maximum reliability. Here’s a sampling of notable analysis, commentary and resources:

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      Mentions: Amazon.com
    12. Hp, Snia Sites in Colorado Springs OK After Fire

      Hp, Snia Sites in Colorado Springs OK After Fire

      Last week’s Waldo Canyon wildfire in Colorado Springs forced the evacuation of more than 32,000 residents, and destroyed hundreds of homes. Several data centers were within the evacuation zone, and had to move staff out of harm’s way, but were not damaged by the fire, including a $100 million HP data center and a test lab for the Storage Networking Industry Associaton (SNIA). “HP’s Colorado Springs facility, which was temporarily closed the evening of Tuesday, June 26, reopened at 8:00am local time on Friday, June 29,” HP reported. “HP continues to monitor the situation closely and has plans in place to assist our employees and minimize any disruption to our customers.”

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    13. US Storms Take Down Amazon Web Services

      US Storms Take Down Amazon Web Services

      Amazon Web Services in the US was hit by severe storms on Friday, taking down Instagram, Netflix and others, whilst more than two million Americans were left without electricity. The lightning storms which have lashed the Eastern part of the United States interrupted power to Amazon’s Ashburn, North Virginia data centre for half an hour, and services like Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest were affected for longer as Amaon engineers struggled to restore lost virtual machines. This follows an earlier outage in June.

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    14. Amazon’s Cloud Is Disrupted by a Summer Storm

      Amazon’s Cloud Is Disrupted by a Summer Storm

      The cutting edge of the Web just bled a little. On Friday night, lightning in Virginia took out part of Amazon’s cloud computing service, called Amazon Web Services, which hundreds of companies use for data storage and computation. Well-known sites like Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram were not accessible for hours. There was little information for customers about what had happened, or even whether user data was safe.

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    15. eBay teams with Bloom energy to install stationary fuel cells at data center

      eBay teams with Bloom energy to install stationary fuel cells at data center

      Alternative energy is beginning to force its way into the limelight as concerns regarding the climate and energy prices grow. Stationary fuel cells are quickly becoming a popular option for companies looking to become more environmentally friendly, or those simply looking to comply with new standards established in their country of operation. These fuel cells have found their way to data centers around the world. For years, stationary fuel cells had been used as a backup power option, but are not being used as a primary source of energy for large-scale

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      Mentions: eBay Bloom Energy
    16. Top 5 Data Center Stories, Week of June 30th

      Top 5 Data Center Stories, Week of June 30th

      For your weekend reading, here’s a recap of five noteworthy stories that appeared on Data Center Knowledge this past week. Enjoy! Amazon Data Center Loses Power During Storm – An Amazon Web Services data center in northern Virginia lost power Friday night, causing extended downtime for services includng Netflix, Heroku, Pinterest , Instagram and many others. The incident occurred as a powerful electrical storm struck the Washington, D.C. area, leaving as many as 1.5 million residents without power. The data center in Ashburn, Virginia that hosts the US-East-1 region lost power for about 30 minutes, but customers were affected for a longer period as Amazon worked to recover virtual machine instances.

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    17. Latest outage raises more questions about Amazon cloud

      Latest outage raises more questions about Amazon cloud

      Massive thunderstorms notwithstanding, the fact that Amazon’s U.S. East data center went down again Friday night while other cloud services hosted in the same area kept running raises anew questions about whether Amazon is suffering architectural glitches that go beyond acts of God. While most Amazon services were back up Saturday morning, the company was still working on provisioning the backlog for its ELB load balancers as of 5:31 p.m. eastern time, according to the AWS dashboard.

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    18. The enterprise needs a better network to the cloud

      The enterprise needs a better network to the cloud

      While much of the networking industry today is focused on improving speeds and feeds inside the data center, we need to recognize the importance of improving the networks that connect enterprise data centers to each other, and to the public cloud. If the industry can deliver an elastic network with programmable performance, then the walls between data centers could effectively disappear.

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    19. Bits Blog: Amazon Web Services Knocked Offline by Storms

      Bits Blog: Amazon Web Services Knocked Offline by Storms

      People who tried to watch Netflix on Friday evening saw nothing but red. Instagram users couldn’t upload or view photos. And a number of other Web sites and services were knocked offline. Storms had disrupted Amazon Web Services, which stores vast amounts of data for companies worldwide. The problems first began around 11 p.m., when a roiling storm caused numerous electrical failures on the East Coast that left two million people without power and at least six people dead.

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