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Multitenancy in the Data Center: Putting a New Paradigm to Work

Imagine if you were a building contractor and a client came to you and said, “I need you to build a commercial facility suitable for a variety of occupants, including a 24-hour machine shop that consumes massive amounts of electricity, a workshop for the disabled full of assistive equipment, and a rare gems dealer who requires maximum security.  Oh – and by the way – they’ve all signed 5-year leases, so your design will have to anticipate their future needs.”

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8 Simple Rules For Improving A Data Center

November 3, 2011 at 9:30 am PST

Data Center Deconstructed reader Eric Chou writes:  Good to see the knowledge sharing Doug. I read your book on building a Data Center a few years back and it was informative on the physical infrastructure piece.  I think it would also be informative if you can share some of the experiences or creative ways to increase efficiency when there are macro environment limitations.  I mean, outside of a select few companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Amazon), most companies are not able to build a Data Center from the ground up, buy the cheapest land near a lake or negotiate a jaw dropping electricity rate with the local government.  What can we do when we need to house 1/2 floor of servers in a 80-year old peering exchange that assumes 2 KVA per rack when designed?

That’s a great question.  As I often tell other Data Center managers, we can make any upgrades to our server environments we want to as long as there’s no downtime or cost.  I’m joking with that comment – mostly – but it is a common scenario.  Fortunately, there are several things that can be done in a legacy Data Center to improve its efficiency and reduce the likelihood of downtime without spending much money or disrupting the environment.

Here, then, are eight simple rules for improving a Data Center.

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The Data Center Infomercial

October 12, 2011 at 9:30 am PST

Breathless over the BeDazzler?

Pleased with the Power Juicer?

Psyched by the ShamWow?

We’ve all seen late night infomercials touting everything from cookware to hair products to fitness gear.  Amidst the incredible claims, B-list celebrities and amazed studio audience members, you’ve surely wondered:  when will someone create a Data Center device worthy of an infomercial?

Wonder no more.  Here, now, is the Data Center Forecaster. Read More »

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Would You, Could You, In a Box?

September 28, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

If you saw any coverage of the recent opening of Cisco’s Data Center in North Carolina, you likely noticed that it features two distinct server environments – an in-building facility and a containerized one.  Having them side-by-side naturally raises the question when is a container a good alternative to a brick-and-mortar installation?

I researched that topic a few years ago when I was part of Cisco IT’s Data Center design team, as we explored different approaches to address the company’s computing needs.  I found eight great reasons to consider a containerized Data Center, and three potential reasons not to:

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Welcoming a New Family Member

September 13, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

Care for a candy cigar?

After months of anticipation and countless hours spent on the delivery, I’m happy to announce a new member to Cisco’s family.  Our newest Data Center has come into the world in Raleigh, North Carolina.  It’s 18,500 sq. ft. (1,719 sq. m.) in size and has 2.88 MW of capacity.  The parents are tired but otherwise doing fine.

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