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Green House Data, provider of data center services primarily in tier 2 US data center markets, announced this week that it has acquired Ajubeo, a privately held provider of cloud infrastructure services hosted in data centers in two secondary US markets and two markets in Germany.
Ajubeo’s data centers are in Denver, New Jersey, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf, but Cheyenne, Wyoming-based Green House only plans to keep the Denver footprint, a company spokesperson told us over email Friday. Green House has had a data center in Denver already, so the deal expands its presence in that market.
The deal exemplifies a trend where smaller data center providers, who generally shy away from top markets like Northern Virginia and Silicon Valley, which are crowded by the biggest players, expand their footprint in secondary markets, where they provide not only data center space and power but also higher level technology services, such as helping enterprises chart and execute a path to a modern cloud infrastructure.
Green House has also been differentiating by purchasing 100 percent renewable energy for its facilities – something that’s becoming increasingly important for corporate data center customers, many of whom have corporate sustainability programs and carbon reduction goals.
While Green House isn’t completely absent from tier 1 US markets – it has a data center in Dallas – most of its footprint is in places like Denver, Portland,

 

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Construction of the new high-capacity transatlantic cable landing on the shores of US and Spain funded by Facebook, Microsoft, and Telxius, subsidiary of the Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica, has been completed, the companies announced Friday morning.
It is the highest-capacity cable to have ever crossed the Atlantic, according to Microsoft, and represents a recent shift in the balance of power in the submarine-cable industry. Traditionally, transcontinental cables have been funded by telco consortia, who would then sell capacity on those systems to customers like Facebook and Microsoft. Lately, however, skyrocketing demand for global bandwidth has driven the largest of those customers – among them Alphabet’s Google and Amazon Web Services – to participate in funding the construction projects, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars, themselves.
Related: Will the Submarine Cable Boom Drive More Revenue to Colos?
The cable, called Marea (the Spanish word for “tide”), is more than 4,000 miles long and can transmit up to 160 terabits per second, which is about 16 million times faster than the average home internet connection and enough to stream 71 million high-definition videos at the same time, Suresh Kumar, corporate VP of Microsoft cloud infrastructure and operations, wrote in a blog post.
International network bandwidth and traffic have been growing quickly, although the growth rate has been declining in

 

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Microsoft has found itself in something of a conundrum with its data centers in Ireland. It received the necessary build permits, but now, notification comes from the country’s electric utility, EirGrid, that Microsoft might need to generate some of its own power until an upgrade to the power system in the Dublin area is completed. Evidently, Redmond doesn’t want any dead time, so it’s heeding that advice.
The story comes by way of The Irish Independent, which reports that Microsoft will be installing 16 gas-powered generators to provide up to 18 megawatts of electricity to one of its data centers, enough juice to power about 18,000 homes. A company spokesman has said that the generators will only provide temporary power to the center “if necessary.”
Related: Microsoft Moves Away from Data Center Containers
The Grange Castle Business Park in suburban Clondalkin, about 5 miles or so west of Dublin, is already home to four Microsoft data centers, as well as data centers operated by Google, Interxion, and others. Last year, Redmond received approval to build four more at the location, at an estimated cost of $1.08 billion.
Other large US-based companies operate data centers in the Dublin area as well, most notably Amazon.
Related: Latest Microsoft Data Center Design Gets Close to Unity PUE
“Space at Grange Castle Business Park is in high demand from international business customers,” the Irish

 

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While data center providers in Houston weathered Hurricane Harvey and subsequent flooding without any publicly disclosed outages, Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm headed for Florida, will be another stress test for the internet and private network infrastructure in the South. And because of Florida’s strategic importance to network connectivity, the stakes will be higher when Irma makes landfall in the Sunshine State, which the National Weather Service says will happen Sunday.
If some buildings in Irma’s path lose power, the effects on connectivity could ripple well beyond the region that immediately surrounds it. One particular building is especially critical.
Related: After Days at Work, Houston Data Center Staff Finally Went Home
NAP of the Americas, the Miami data center and carrier hub, is the biggest network gateway between the US and Latin America, and companies in the US that rely on it alone to serve customers south of the border would not be able to reach those customers if it goes offline. In addition to being a cross-continental gateway, Miami, and especially the NAP, serves as the primary interconnection hub for most Latin American networks.
“Miami appears to be the only strategically critical communications node in the hurricane’s path,” Jon Hjembo, senior analyst at the telecommunications market research firm TeleGeography, said. “From a network perspective, what’s so worrisome about Irma targeting

 

Brought to you by Data Center Knowledge
While data center providers in Houston weathered Hurricane Harvey and subsequent flooding without any publicly disclosed outages, Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm headed for Florida, will be another stress test for the internet and private network infrastructure in the South. And because of Florida’s strategic importance to network connectivity, the stakes will be higher when Irma makes landfall in the Sunshine State, which the National Weather Service says will happen Sunday.
If some buildings in Irma’s path lose power, the effects on connectivity could ripple well beyond the region that immediately surrounds it. One particular building is especially critical.
Related: After Days at Work, Houston Data Center Staff Finally Went Home
NAP of the Americas, the Miami data center and carrier hub, is the biggest network gateway between the US and Latin America, and companies in the US that rely on it alone to serve customers south of the border would not be able to reach those customers if it goes offline. In addition to being a cross-continental gateway, Miami, and especially the NAP, serves as the primary interconnection hub for most Latin American networks.
“Miami appears to be the only strategically critical communications node in the hurricane’s path,” Jon Hjembo, senior analyst at the telecommunications market research firm TeleGeography, said. “From a network perspective, what’s so worrisome about Irma targeting

 

User mobility, digital workloads, and new levels of virtualization are all changing the modern business. We’re creating new types of go-to-market strategies, business enablement methodologies, and allowing the user to be truly productive. The reality here is that the pace of technology isn’t slowing down. Are you keeping up? Are you using technology to create a truly agile business model?
It’s critical to see just how far we’ve come and where current spend is trending. Consider this, global spending on IaaS rose to almost US$16.5 billion in 2015, an increase of 32.8 percent from 2014, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2014 to 2019 forecast at 29.1 percent, according to Gartner’s latest forecast. Last year in particular was a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to gave way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. These organizations are leveraging agile infrastructures to dynamically control resources and user experiences.
Related: Managing the Millennial Technologist: Letting Go of Legacy Practices
This allows them to let go of legacy IT and evolve into a next-generation ecosystem.
New levels of intelligence in the data center and business world are helping create a much more fluid organization and cloud ecosystem. Automation and orchestration tools tie into almost every aspect of the business and the underlying data center, bringing forward big benefits:

Better

 

User mobility, digital workloads, and new levels of virtualization are all changing the modern business. We’re creating new types of go-to-market strategies, business enablement methodologies, and allowing the user to be truly productive. The reality here is that the pace of technology isn’t slowing down. Are you keeping up? Are you using technology to create a truly agile business model?
It’s critical to see just how far we’ve come and where current spend is trending. Consider this, global spending on IaaS rose to almost US$16.5 billion in 2015, an increase of 32.8 percent from 2014, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2014 to 2019 forecast at 29.1 percent, according to Gartner’s latest forecast. Last year in particular was a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to gave way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. These organizations are leveraging agile infrastructures to dynamically control resources and user experiences.
Related: Managing the Millennial Technologist: Letting Go of Legacy Practices
This allows them to let go of legacy IT and evolve into a next-generation ecosystem.
New levels of intelligence in the data center and business world are helping create a much more fluid organization and cloud ecosystem. Automation and orchestration tools tie into almost every aspect of the business and the underlying data center, bringing forward big benefits:

Better

 

Energy is the biggest expense for data centers, and although efficiency improvements can help by reducing consumption, cost remains a critical factor in determining operating budgets. The recent crash in oil prices raises a number of questions about demand, but there’s more to the picture—especially for such a politically charged topic.

Overall Energy Consumption

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), total primary energy consumption in the U.S. has remained largely unchanged for the past 15 years, perhaps echoing a similar plateau in the mid-1970s to mid-1980s. I’ve noted this fact on a number of occasions, particularly because it raises questions about the broader economic situation as well as, perhaps more relevantly, the supposed danger of data centers consuming a greater portion of the national energy appetite.

energy

One noteworthy point is that consumption has remained stagnant—or even fallen slightly from the peak—despite a sharp uptick in production. Consumption and production in the U.S. followed a similar trend until about 1970, when the two began to diverge. At about the time of the Great Recession, these two metrics appeared to begin converging again. Regardless of the dynamic, however, the increase in production combined with stagnant consumption would tend to lead to falling prices. Since exports reduce domestic supply, however, global demand plays a role.

The situation with oil has demonstrated that energy prices don’t necessarily rise consistently. Even with emerging markets demanding more energy, the price of oil recently crashed to Great Recession levels, taking gasoline prices down with it. According to Bank of America, a supply glut may be partially to blame, but demand factors seem to be applying the greatest downward pressure currently. The implications of declining demand for energy in an energy-driven economy are gloomy for the broader economy.

Energy Politics

Energy is by no means a simple supply-and-demand market. It’s a matter that drives all sorts of policy decisions—some good, but most probably bad. Regulations, for instance, generally increase the price of products and services without adding any value to customers. Writing at DatacenterDynamics, David Chernicoff notes that government decrees could have a tremendous impact on prices. “Whichever side of the arguments for and against coal burning for power you believe, the high profile arguments are, to a large extent, masking the actual killer issue here. The government plan and its adherents call for coal based energy, and in some cases, all power produced in the US, to come from renewable sources.” To get an idea of what such an effort would entail, consider the current power-consumption breakdown, shown in the EIA chart below.

energy

Looking just at electricity (rather than all forms of energy) for 2014, the EIA reports that fossil fuels constitute about 67% of all generation, with coal at about 39% and natural gas at about 27%. Renewables—in particular, wind and solar—barely register at a combined fraction of just 5% of total electricity generation. Needless to say, a shift entirely to so-called renewable sources would require massive changes to the industry, no doubt prodded by subsidies and regulations, both of which are costly (whether through opportunity costs imposed on taxpayers or operating costs passed on to consumers and businesses). Said Chernicoff, “We currently subsidize energy produced via wind using the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit at $0.023/kWh and which the current Administration is fighting to make permanent. With the Department of Energy hoping to make wind power supply 20 percent of the US grid by 2020, the annual subsidy is projected to be in the $12 billion range and would increase every year with additional production. This number is never included in the overall cost of power to consumers.”

The Environmental Rock and Hard Place

One of the main arguments for a move to alternative energy sources—again, most notably wind and solar—is the environment. Proponents argue that because these technologies produce no carbon emissions, they are superior to coal and natural gas, and they lack the radioactive byproducts (and other hazards) of nuclear. But even ignoring the muddled debate over climate change (the constant howling about a consensus is extremely dubious), other environmental factors come into play.

Specifically, the manufacture of wind turbines and solar panels is by no means an environmentally pristine process. “Dealing with the toxic byproducts used in most current [solar-panel] manufacturing requires careful handling and exposes significant environmental risks,” said Chernicoff. “And the basic process for creating the panels requires a huge amount of power to refine quartz into metallurgical grade silicon, power that is not being provided by solar power. A detailed article on the issues with the production of solar panels, from the IEEE, can be found here.” Furthermore, the environmental catastrophe in China thanks to rare-earth mining for materials to build wind turbines (among other products) also reduces the benefit of wind. Queue the discussion about which is worse: carbon dioxide or toxic materials.

Moreover, the vastly different nature of renewables versus fuel-based power makes for serious logistical problems. Fuel-based energy can be generated and delivered in accordance with demand; wind and solar produce exactly as much as the sunshine and air movement dictate. Thus, for instance, countries like Germany that have rushed headlong into renewables are facing a number of problems, from excess supply to inefficient operation of coal plants that must make up for shortfalls. Lacking infrastructure to support this kind of electricity generation (perhaps most notably, a good large-scale storage technology) means the goal of relying largely, if not exclusively, on alternative energy sources is currently pie in the sky.

Energy Prices: Going Higher or Lower?

Weighing all of these factors and identifying a price trend is difficult. Falling energy prices tend to catch the greedy eye of many politicians, who see them as a means to a quick revenue surge through higher taxes. Those with a greener tint may see an opportunity to impose more regulations. In either case, the result is a buffering of price drops. Either way, EIA data on electricity prices over the past decade or so suggests that price declines are rare, and when they do occur, they are small. The long-term trend, regardless of supply and demand or other factors, seems to be steadily higher prices.

price

For data centers, that means that regardless of economic or political factors, rising energy prices are a safe bet—barring, of course, extraordinary circumstances. In such extreme cases, however, other problems may offset any energy-price benefits that may accrue. Efficiency improvements can help, but they need not be all at once, given the rate of increase in prices.

Conclusions

Data centers are fairly safe in counting on rising energy prices. Were the market simply governed by supply and demand, that situation might be different, particularly in times of economic recession. But given the imposition of various government mandates, including both regulations and subsidies for chosen energy sources, economics is not the only driving factor. Data center operators will face some of those added costs directly, but others (particularly subsidies) tend to be more hidden because their costs are spread across society. Nevertheless, society as a whole must still pick up the tab in one form or another. The main opportunity for a data center operator to control energy costs is to control how much it consumes—particularly through efficiency efforts. There’s little hope in expecting or relying on lasting declines in prices.

Leading article image courtesy of Ramkumar under a Creative Commons license

The post Where Are Energy Prices Headed? appeared first on The Data Center Journal.

 

Ahead of SharePoint Fest in Seattle this week, managed cloud services provider Project Hosts has launched an Azure Application Management Service designed for enterprises and US government agencies.

The post Project Hosts Launches Azure Application Management Service for Enterprises, Government Agencies appeared first on Web Hosting Talk.

 

California-based data center provider Server Farm Realty has struck a partnership with Chinese counterpart 21Vianet to provide services to customers in the US and China. Initially, 21Vianet is using SFR’s Silicon Valley data center to host customer equipment.

The post Chinese Data Center Giant 21Vianet Expands Into Silicon Valley appeared first on Web Hosting Talk.

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