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23 Jun 2020
Datacenters.com Launches New Digital Cloud RFP for Enterprise Cloud Services
Newly launched IGNITE Cloud Projectsintelligently matches user requirements with top cloud providers for customized IaaS, DRaaS, SaaS, and UCaaS.ENGLEWOOD, CO. JUNE 23, 2020 Datacenters.com, the leading technology platform and marketplace for buyers and sellers of colocation, cloud services, and connectivity, has announced the official launch of Datacenters.com IGNITE Cloud Projects. This revolutionary cloud RFP and project management platform helps Datacenters.com users streamline the planning, design, and procurement of custom, multi-cloud deployments of strategic solutions from top cloud providers globally.Businesses of all sizes including large enterprises face significant challenges when it comes to building and scaling their cloud environments and IT infrastructure. This includes a lack of internal technical cloud expertise and resources, cloud security and data breach concerns, and skyrocketing IT costs due to usage and data sprawl. For most businesses, the answer is using multi-cloud deployments, hybrid cloud architecture, and professional and managed cloud services.Datacenters.com IGNITE Cloud Projects takes the guesswork out of configuring complex cloud deployments for IaaS, DRaaS, SaaS, UCaaS, and CCaaS solutions by intuitively guiding users through each step of the process from determining service requirements to selecting regions and providers. The IGNITE Cloud Project Platform features intelligent matching with a proprietary, data-driven algorithm to make lightning-fast recommendations as to the best providers for each user-defined cloud project.A major challenge for businesses undergoing digital transformation is visibility and collaboration in the vendor selection process. With IGNITE Cloud Projects, users can save and edit their cloud projects, distribute digital cloud RFPs directly to providers, and invite team members to collaborate on projects and proposals. Datacenters.com users can also view and change the status of any project, compare cloud proposals, and communicate directly with providers in the user portal and project dashboard. Every new cloud project is assigned a Datacenters.com Concierge to help facilitate and advance the process, answer questions, and provide technical support.###Key benefits of using IGNITE Cloud Projects: - Easy-to-use configuration wizard for IaaS, DRaaS, SaaS, UCaaS and CCaaS requirements.- Direct access to cloud service providers, MSPs, and cloud migration companies.- Side-by-side cloud comparisons for proposals and pricing in a centralized, web-based platform.- Built-in project collaboration features allowing teams to view, edit, and respond to proposals.- Project tagging allowing IT Consultants and Agents to create projects on behalf of their clients.QuotesThe future of enterprise IT is the merging of cloud, data centers, and connectivity into the hybrid infrastructure of tomorrow, said Joel St. Germain, CEO of Datacenters.com. The addition of cloud is a huge step towards realizing a goal of helping users build and deploy multi-vendor, hybrid infrastructure on a single, easy to use platform.Everything is customizable, said Mike Price, VP of Software Engineering at Datacenters.com. Businesses migrating to the cloud for the first time have the ability to customize their requirements for performance, security, cost, and management levels across all cloud services.Were partnering with industry-leading cloud service providers globally, said April Armijo, VP of Operations and Provider Relationships. Not only do we provide access to the best cloud solutions and options, but we also deliver the best providers that can help with cloud readiness, migration, management, monitoring, and security.About Datacenters.comDatacenters.com is the #1 technology platform and marketplace for buyers and sellers of colocation, cloud, connectivity, managed services, and related IT services. We are dedicated to one thing helping IT professionals research, purchase, and manage their technologies across a diverse range of solutions, providers, and vendors.Since 2014, Datacenters.com has attracted more than two million visitors. The platform provides detailed information on 303 providers, 2,916 data center facilities, and 206 marketplace products globally.Datacenters.com is the sister company of Global Consulting Group, Inc. (GCG), a leading technology services distributor and IT consulting company headquartered in Englewood, Colorado.Learn more at Datacenters.com and follow us on LinkedIn.
15 Jun 2020
How to Determine Your Cloud Server Requirements?
You may be new to everything that is the cloud. However, that shouldnt stop you from deploying your website, application, or platform to a public or private cloud server. Its true that the cloud can be intimidating. There is cloud terminology such as vCPU, Cores, RAM, GPU, IOPS, throughput, and bandwidth. Where do you begin?In this article, Ill examine the basics of configuring a cloud server and how to determine your requirements. We will run through some hypothetical examples of applications, traffic, and the corresponding cloud server requirements. One of the beautiful things about the cloud is that it is highly scalable. This means that you can start small and scale as need on-demand.Make sure to check out the Datacenters.com Cloud Server Configurator!Where to Start?Its common to ask questions when considering a cloud deployment or migration. How many vCPUs per server are required for my application? How much RAM? How much storage do I need?If you ask a cloud provider or hosting company, they may tell you that the only surefire way to build out your cloud requirements is to deploy your application to a server and run some load testing to see if you can get to a certain amount of free overhead on the server. They might also say that no one else can answer that question as every application is different. If its your application, only you can test it.Is that true? Yes and no. It does make sense to run applications on local hardware before deploying to the cloud. However, thats not always the case and as mentioned above the cloud is highly scalable. You have to start somewhere right? Not to mention that you can use caching, load balancers, and other cloud services to alleviate some of the load on cloud servers and storage.Define Your Application RequirementsIts not too difficult to calculate the size of your application. This is true if your application is running on a physical server. Its also true if your application hasnt launched yet. You can look at the overall size of the application as well as the anticipated traffic, the number of repeat visitors, and page views per visitor.The best way to look at how to determine your cloud server requirements is to run a hypothetical example. For this example, lets assume that you have a brand new application that is not running on a server. You have built it locally on your machine.1) Estimate Your Bandwidth RequirementsYou can use tools like Solarwinds Pingdom to test your application if it is live in production. You can also use tools like Calculator.net to calculate your monthly bandwidth usage and speed requirements.What information do you need about your application to calculate monthly bandwidth usage and speed requirements? You will need the following or at least make some assumptions.Monthly Data Transfer:Average Monthly VisitorsAverage Number of Page Views Per VisitorAverage Monthly Page ViewsAverage Page SizeRedundant Factor (Between 1.3 and 1.8)For this example, lets assume that you will reach 500,000 visits per month. Each visitor will view an average of four pages per visitor. The data transfer will be an average of 2 Megabytes (MB) per page.Keep in mind that search engine bots can have an impact on your data transfer. Bots often consume more data than typical users based on the fact that they visit most or all of your indexable pages on your application.~500,000 Visits/Month~4 Pages/Visitor~2,000,000 Page Views/Month~2 Megabytes (MB)1.8 Redundant Factor= 4,000 GB/Month (Data Transfer/Month)Bandwidth Speed RequirementsYour bandwidth speed requirements are based on the amount of data transfer per month. That is the number we calculated above. Again, you will want to use the Calculator.net tool to input monthly usage in Bytes (B), Kilobytes (KB), Megabytes (MB), Gigabytes (GB), or Terabytes (TB). This will give you the equivalent of bandwidth required in Megabits/s (Mbps) or Gigabits/s (Gbps). See the example above using data transfer that we already calculated.4,000 GB (Data Transfer/Month)12.17 Mbps (Internet Speed Requirement)The 12.17 is the bandwidth speed requirements needed to run your application. It does not include other applications or workloads running on your server. It does not account for traffic spikes. This is used as a simple baseline only. You can purchase burstable bandwidth from most cloud and hosting providers. You could also purchase additional bandwidth as a buffer for traffic spikes such as increase the baseline by 30%, 40%, or 50% to account for spikes.2) Know Your IP Addresses RequirementsMost cloud providers offer IP addresses with the purchase and deployment of cloud servers or storage. IP addresses may also be provided with cloud-based databases and other services. The question becomes, how many IP addresses are needed for your cloud environment? More specifically, how many public IP addresses and how many private IPs?Public vs. Private IP AddressesWhy do you need IP addresses for your cloud environment? You need public IP addresses for your cloud servers to communicate with the internet. This is typically done using a Network Address Translation (NAT) Gateway or NAT Instance. You can also use a Virtual Private Gateway (VGW).Private IP addresses are used between cloud servers and other cloud services or infrastructure within a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Private IP can be used to connect cloud endpoints within VPC subnets.IPv4 vs. IPv6 AddressesIP addresses are part of a full network stack which includes the application layer (HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, POP3, SMTP), transport (TCP, UDP), networking (IP, ICMP), and datalink (Ethernet, ARP).IPv4 is a widely used protocol in data communication over several kinds of networks. IPv4 addresses are becoming limited as a result of the growing demand for IP addresses for devices. IP Addresses have a 32-bit number whereas IPv6 has a 128-bit number. This makes a substantial difference in the number of available IP addresses. IPv4 has ~4,294,967,296 addresses vs. IPv6 which has ~340,282,366,920,938,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 addresses.So, which version of IP addresses are better for cloud computing? IPv4 is the better choice as of now as there is not universal support for IPv6 yet. That could change fairly quickly. You may receive both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses with your cloud instances.How Many IP Addresses Do You Need?As mentioned previously, you receive at least two IP addresses. However, as your cloud environment grows and you build out a virtual private cloud, you will want to make sure that you have enough IP addresses for the future. Take that into consideration when selecting how many IP addresses are required. Most of the time, cloud service providers will allow you to purchase additional IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. You can also bring your own IP addresses.3) Estimate Your Compute RequirementsWhat is compute? Compute, also known as computing power, refers to CPU and RAM performance. In cloud computing, there are terms like vCPU and Cores. We will discuss those briefly as well. For more information, visitor our past blog on the top 20 cloud terminology and definitions.Determine Number of Virtual Machines (VMs)There are no strict guidelines on the number of VMs that you can run on a cloud server. However, some recommendations include using about 15 VMs per instance. You could also go to 48 per instance or even as high as 150 to 200 VMs per instance. It really depends on the server. The risk of placing too many VMs on a cloud server instance is that if the server goes down, you could lose all of your VMs at once.It really comes down to high-availability (HA) architecture. The number of VMs are really dependent on the underlying hypervisor and hardware.Determine vCPUsHow do you size your VM appropriately? One thing is for sure. Adding unnecessary vCPUs can hurt your consolidation ratio. Overprovisioning vCPUs can cause ready time (the time a vCPU has to wait for the physical CPU) to spike and hurt performance.You have to look at the performance metrics of the workload. As a rule of thumb, if the application is no multi-threaded and peak CPU demand is below 3,000MHz, provision a single vCPU.Determine the Amount of RAMRight-sizing your RAM requirements is also a balancing act. Too much or too little can force contention. Due to the semi-persistent nature of memory, its more complicated than CPUs to size your cloud server instances appropriately.You must understand active memory versus allocated memory, boot time behavior of the OS, and paging. Active memory is what the guest OS and application actually uses. Allocated memory is the amount of physical RAM that the guest requests from the hypervisor.Standard memory for cloud servers should be somewhere between 8 GiB and 64 GiB. This is generally suitable for web servers, gaming servers, application servers, midsized data stores, and containerized microservices. This also includes production and test dev environments.When provisioning memory, its better to err on the side of caution and have too much rather than too little. Most providers offer a variety of cloud server configurations such as memory-optimized which are best suited for fast performance of workloads that process data sets in memory. This includes everything from 16 GiB to 24,576 GiB.Determine Volume RequirementsWhen calculating the total amount of storage capacity required for your cloud server, you should start by calculating the amount of disk space required by your Operating System, control panel, application, database, email, security, and other tools.The total disk space should be the sum of all of the different data that you store on that virtual hard disk in the cloud. Make sure that the disk usage never exceeds 85% of the available space. This means always leaving a minimum of 15% of free disk space on the hard drive.Need Help? We Provide Cloud Migration and ManagementWe provide the largest selection of cloud infrastructure services including cloud migration, cloud management, and cloud optimization for single or multi-cloud deployments. We also provide access to the largest selection of colocation data centers plus interconnection and networking services. Let us help you build your hybrid IT infrastructure today. Contact me to learn more.
9 Jun 2020
Data Center Cooling: Future of Cooling Systems, Methods and Technologies
Data center cooling, its one of the most widely discussed and important topics in the industry. As discussed in our recent article entitled Data Center Real Estate, A Tale of Two Markets, we noted the growing discrepancy between older data centers and new hyperscale facilities. Regardless of the age or scale of the facility, data center power utilization and efficiency are critical.Its no secret that data centers are one of the largest consumers of electricity worldwide. Its estimated that the data center industry is responsible for 1-1.5% of global electricity consumption. This statistic is only expected to increase as cloud services, edge computing, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and other digital transformation technologies take hold. Improvements in technology efficiency will only be offset by the ever-increasing amounts of compute and storage required to satisfy consumer and business demands.Furthermore, data center power density requirements continue to increase year after year. The average rack power density is currently around 7kW and it is not uncommon to see rack density as a high as 15-16 kW per rack. With high performance compute (HPC), power densities can reach 100kW per rack. The question becomes, what do increasing power densities and a shrinking footprint mean for data center cooling? How does it impact Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)? What are data center owners and operators doing to combat client demand changes in their facilities?In this article, I will be examining the current systems and methods for cooling data center facilities as well as future cooling technologies that could disrupt the data center industry. We will examine the different components of data center cooling as well as the costs and potential cost-savings.Why is Data Center Cooling Important?The high costs associated with cooling infrastructure are one of the reasons why businesses abandon on-premises data centers and migrate to colocation. Most private data centers and telco closets are quite inefficient when it comes to cooling IT infrastructure. They also lack the monitoring capabilities of colocation data centers, which makes it increasingly challenging to fully optimize infrastructure to reduce cooling demands.It should be obvious that poorly managed data center cooling can result in excessive heat which can lead to significant stress on servers, storage devices, and networking hardware. This can lead to downtime, damage to critical components, and a shorter lifespan for equipment which leads to increased capital expenditures. Not only that. Inefficient cooling systems can increase power costs significantly from an operational perspective.Current Cooling Systems MethodsCalibrated Vectored Cooling (CVC)CVC is a form of data center cooling technology made specifically for high-density servers. It optimizes the airflow path via equipment to allow the cooling system to handle heat more effectively, making it possible to grow the ratio of circuit boards per server chassis and utilize fewer enthusiasts.Chilled Water SystemChilled water is a data center cooling system commonly used in mid-to-large-sized data centers that uses heated water to cool air being brought in by air handlers (CRAHs). Water is supplied by a chiller plant located somewhere in the facility.Cold Aisle/Hot Aisle ContainmentCold and hot aisle containment is a common form of data center server rack deployment that uses alternating rows of cold aisles and hot aisles. A cold aisle has cold air intakes on the front of the racks, while the hot aisles consist of the air exhausts on the rear of the racks. Hot aisles expel hot air into the air conditioning intakes to be chilled then vented into the cold aisles. Empty racks are full of blanking panels to prevent overheating or wasted cold air.Computer Room Air Conditioner (CRAC)One of the most common features of any data center, CRAC units are extremely similar to conventional air conditioners powered by a compressor that draws air across a refrigerant-filled cooling unit. They are quite inefficient concerning energy usage, however, the equipment itself is comparatively inexpensive.Computer Room Air Handler (CRAH)A CRAH unit functions within a wider system involving a chilled water plant (or chiller) somewhere in the facility. Chilled water flows through a cooling coil inside the unit, which then uses modulating fans to draw air from outside the facility. Because they operate by chilling external air, CRAH units are a lot more efficient when used in locations with colder yearly temperatures.Critical Cooling LoadThis measurement represents the complete usable cooling capacity (usually expressed in watts of power) on the data center floor for the purposes of cooling servers.Evaporative CoolingManages temperature by exposing warm air to water, which causes the water to evaporate and also draw the heat out of the air. The water could be discharged either in the kind of a misting system or a moist material such as a filter or mat. While this system is extremely energy efficient as it doesnt utilize CRAC or even CRAH units, it will demand a lot of water. Datacenter cooling towers are often utilized to facilitate evaporations and transfer extra heat to the outside atmosphere.Free CoolingAny data center cooling system that uses the exterior atmosphere to present cooler air to the servers instead of continually chilling the same air. Even though this can only be implemented in certain climates, its a very energy-efficient form of server cooling.Raised FloorA raised floor is a frame that lifts the data center floor above the buildings concrete slab flooring. The space between the two is employed for water-cooling pipes or enhanced airflow. While power and network cables are sometimes run through this space as well, newer data center cooling design and best practices place these wires overhead.Future Cooling Systems TechnologiesThough air cooling technology has improved significantly over the years, it is still limited by fundamental problems. Besides significant energy costs, air conditioning systems use up a great deal of data center space. They also introduce moisture into sealed environments and are notorious for mechanical failures.Until recently, data centers had no other choices for meeting their cooling demands. With many new liquid cooling technologies and methods available, colocation data centers are starting to experiment with new methods for solving their cooling challenges.Liquid Cooling TechnologiesWhile early iterations of liquid cooling systems were complicated, messy, and very pricey, the latest generation provides increased efficiency and effectiveness in cooling. Unlike air cooling, which requires a lot of power and introduces pollutants and condensation into the data center, a liquid cooling system is cleaner, more scalable, and highly targeted. Two common liquid cooling methods are full immersion cooling and direct-to-chip cooling.Immersion CoolingImmersion systems involve submerging the hardware itself into a tub of non-conductive, non-flammable dielectric liquid. Both the fluid and the hardware are contained within a leak-proof case. The dielectric fluid absorbs heat far more efficiently than air, and as heated water turns to vapor, it condenses and falls back into the fluid to aid in cooling.Direct to Chip CoolingDirect-to-chip cooling utilizes pipes that deliver liquid coolant directly into a cold plate which sits atop a motherboards chips to draw off heat. The extracted heat is subsequently fed to some chilled-water loop to be transported back to the facilitys cooling plant and expelled into the outside atmosphere. Both methods provide far more efficient cooling solutions for power-hungry data center deployments.Future Demands from AI, HPC, and GPUs?Power and cooling efficiency will continue to be a top concern for data centers in the future. New generations of processors for machine learning artificial intelligence and analytics programs will require massive energy demands and generate substantial amounts of heat.How will data center owners and operators respond? I believe that future cooling technologies like liquid and immersion cooling will play a critical role in the data center of the future. This will take place at the hardware manufacturer level as well as at the data center level. In addition, I can see a future where rack and containment products undergo extensive changes. These changes would include self-contained racks and even private change space. Just imagine if data center facilities go back to racks on concrete floors. I should say self-contained ecosystems on concrete.What are your thoughts? Im curious to know what you think about data center cooling technologies and where the industry is heading.
2 Jun 2020
Data Center Real Estate, A Tale of Two Markets
One could argue that there are more colocation providers and data center facilities than at any other time in history. MA is up, data center expansion is strong, construction is up, land acquisition is strong. Investor appetite for data center real estate is near all-time highs. There is just one problem...Supply Demand for Data CentersThere is literally no supply of available data centers that meet investor criteria. What is that criteria? Investors interested in participating in the data centers want a credit-worthy, anchor tenant, or a large number of retail customers included in the sale. Right now, that supply simply does not exist. Think about it this way. Why would a data center owner sell a cash-flowing property with creditworthy tenants and upside for continued growth? It would have to be a pretty big number if you ask me.Do not get me wrong. There are plenty of data centers for sale. Some built in the early 1990s. Others built in the 2000s. Some built for retail colocation. Others built as enterprise data centers. In nearly all cases, the data centers for sale have 100% vacancy, single-tenant planning to exit, and relocate to a colocation facility or cloud. Some data centers for sale may have a handful of retail colocation customers. However, these are not the type of data centers that institutional investors, pension funds, or VCs want to purchase. They are looking for a turn-key operation that provides predictable cash-flows. The so-called rent roll and creditworthiness of the tenants is mission-critical.Outdated Data Centers Are a Hard SellAnother major challenge with these types of data centers is that theyre outdated by todays standards. Less than 500kW of total power in a data center is not going to cut it in todays highly competitive colocation environment. Plus, antiquated HVAC will not handle the high-density requirements of todays colocation customers. Another factor is the curb appeal. Yes, I just said curb appeal. Newly constructed data centers have all of the features and amenities that retail and wholesale colocation clients want office space, conference rooms, break rooms, staging areas, high ceilings, storage areas, loading docks, and more. Not to mention advanced security systems, personnel, and monitoring. The Mission Impossible presentation if you will.Cloud Adoption Creates Market ChangeThere is one other factor at play here. The cloud. IT workloads are moving to the cloud whether you like it or not. Take a second and think about how technology is changing. Do you have an exchange server? What about a database server? What about servers that run your applications and host your website? It is true that some workloads run better on physical servers and certain software vendors make it hard to license their software on virtual infrastructure. That will be the case for years to come.When you look at who is buying colocation services and why you see a clear picture of what is truly going on in the market. Business and enterprise clients are adopting the cloud in a big way. They are moving more and more IT workloads to the cloud. It could be public, private, or hybrid cloud. It could even be multi-cloud deployments. At the same time, they need to maintain on-premise or collocated physical servers for certain circumstances. The physical footprint for IT infrastructure is shrinking.So, who are the future buyers of colocation services? Are you ready? It is the hyperscalers such as AWS, Microsoft, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Oracle, Alibaba Cloud, and others. It makes sense right? If business and enterprise clients are moving IT workloads to the cloud, cloud service providers (CSPs) require more data center space to support those workloads. You are probably thinking that CSPs build their own private data centers. That is correct. However, they often leverage wholesale colocation until they get to a critical mass where it makes more sense economically to build a data center than lease one. Every CSP is different when it comes to the threshold for building a data center.Retail Colocation Continues Growth PathIs there a play for retail colocation? Absolutely. Business and enterprise clients are building their own private clouds in colocation facilities. There are many instances where physical servers, private cloud servers, and storage make more economic sense than going with one of the big three cloud providers. Like I said before. There will always be a need for physical servers based on the workload type and software licensing.I do offer this word of caution for those concerned about the cost of cloud services. The big hyperscalers have economies of scale, talent, and workforces that simply cannot be matched by a single business or enterprise. Look for this trend to continue. They are simply going to get larger and more powerful. They will find ways of increasing operational efficiencies to drive down the cost of cloud services. Think five to ten years from now. What will the data center industry look like?Future Technologies Drive Colocation DemandThere is another future play for colocation. Drumroll, please. It is called the edge or edge computing. It is not here yet but it is coming with a number of other technological innovations like 5G, internet of things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, and artificial intelligence (AI). The edge is essentially pushing IT workloads closer to the end-user wherever they are located. The main concept behind the edge is that there will be regional and centralized data center locations. Smaller, regional data centers will act as a bridge in communicating between end-users and central data centers.Coming around full circle. The market for smaller, older, outdated data centers is essentially non-existent today from a commercial real estate perspective. At best, these are powered shells in a strategic location than need to be acquired and built out by a colocation provider. The amount of capital required to retrofit and operate one of these data centers is not even a consideration for 99.999% of potential data center investors.That is today. However, could there be a play for these data centers in the future with edge computing. Wide-ranging adoption of edge is still five to ten years out from now. The demand for edge computing and edge data centers is still a big unknown. If I was a betting man, I would place my chips on regional data centers in rural or remote locations with the potential to become an edge data center in the future. There is already enough competition for colocation data centers in large metros.