Monday, December 7, 2009

Google Data Centers in Shipping Containers

This amazing video shows how Google utilizes common shipping containers in their data center strategy. This video was first presented at the Google Efficient Data Centers Summit, hosted at Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA on April 1, 2009.

What is shown in this video? Power systems, transformers, cabling, cooling towers, water filtration system, thermal storage tanks, container hanger bay, containers, personal transportation device (scooter), service technician, hookups for water and electrical, cable inputs, breakers PUE, safety features, emergency off, and more. 81 degrees is the temperature inside server rooms so techs wear short sleeve shirts.

Looking for other Technology Rental information? Visit the Tech Travel Site Map for a variety of computer and technology rental ideas.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Server Markets Downward Spiral Begins to Slow

After a dismal first half of the year for the server market involving a large decline in sales and average selling prices (ASPs), it seems things aren't quite as bad as they could be. A third quarter server market survey from Gartner states that worldwide server revenues have continued to fall by 15.5 percent to $10.7 billion, and unit shipments are falling at an even faster pace down to 17.1 percent to 1.92 million units. At first glance these numbers may look bleak, but there is room for cautious optimism as we head into the fourth quarter and 2010.

The bright side of it all? The descent in sales and Average Selling Prices have begun to slow. Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner, expresses his optimism for the server market. "It is important to put the yearly declines into perspective," said Hewitt in a statement. "Looking at the third quarter results from the sequential perspective, they showed an increase of 13.8 percent in shipments and 10.2 percent in revenues when compared to the second quarter of this year. That suggests that the market as a whole is showing signs of stabilization as we move toward the end of 2009." And indeed these numbers are a considerable improvement over the second quarter which was painful across the board. The second quarter showed a 30.4 percent plunge in unit shipment year-over-year which makes the 17.1 percent decline in quarter 3 seem like a large improvement.

Current Server Market Standings

In the third quarter, Gartner placed IBM at the top of the list once again with a total market share of 31.7 percent and $3.38 billion in total server sales, which are down 12.3 percent. IBM Mainframe sales and Power Systems sales were down while System X sales were up. Coming in at number 2 is Hewlett-Packard with a revenue decline of 15.1 percent to $3.22 billion and a market share of 30.2 percent . Dell came in third, with $1.42 billion in sales, down only 5.1 percent, and currently holds 13.4 percent of the market.

Sun Microsystems continues to suffer the worst of the losses with sales down 32.3 percent in the third quarter to $784.6 million. Sun's market share has dropped from 9.2 percent to 7.4 percent in just one year. Fujitsu, which sells servers using Sun's UltraSparc processor as well as x64 and Itanium processors, was down 10.8 percent to $550.2 million in revenue. Other niche vendors, such as Intel Itanium-based vendors and x86 providers have dropped a combined 23 percent year over year to $1.3 billion in sales.

Currently x86 servers account for 97 percent of the sales, which totals to 1.86 million units. Overall x86 unit sales have fallen by 16.2 percent while revenues fell by 11.4 percent to $6.32 billion. The Server Market was much harsher for RISC vendors - which are primarily Sun, Itanium and IBM Power-based servers. These RISC servers accounted for just three percent of total unit sales, but contributed 25 percent of overall sales revenue. This 3rd quarter RISC server sales fell by 37 percent on a unit basis year-over-year and 34.8 percent on a revenue basis. What's more, the defections to IBM and HP are really starting to show.

In the third quarter of 2008, Sun dominated 55.1 percent of the RISC market. However in Q3 of 2009, Sun only holds 44.0 percent. IBM on the other hand is up from 28.3 percent market share in 2008 to 33.6 percent in 2009, and HP saw an increase from 12.8 percent in 2008 to 17.8 percent share in 2009.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Worlds Fastest SuperComputer

Jaguar SupercomputerThe worlds fastest land animal may be the cheetah, but when it comes to supercomputers, the fastest cat of them all is the Cray XT5 supercomputer known as "Jaguar", which has finally clawed its way to the title of fastest computer in the world. Previously sitting at the No. 2 position on the Top500 list of supercomputers in the world for more than a year, the Jaguar was able to overtake IBM's "Roadrunner" after a big leap in processor upgrades.

Under the Recovery Act, the Jaguar was funded with $19.9 million to upgrade from 2.3GHz quad-core Opteron processors to 2.6GHz six-core Istanbul processors. This upgrade nearly doubled the processing power of the Jaguar which soared the supercomputer from a one petaflop system to a 1.75 petaflop system in only six months. Unsure of how fast this really is? A computer capable of processing a single petaflop will compute a quadrillion calculations every second. The Roadrunner supercomputer which took the title of 2nd fastest supercomputer in the world is capable of processing 1.04 petaflop per second.

The Jaguar began its life in 2005 with a peak speed of 26 teraflop/s (trillion calculations per second), but through a series of upgrades over the past years has gained nearly 100 times the computational power it originally had. The upgrade of the Jaguar XT5 to 37,376 six-core AMD Istanbul processors in the last 6 months has increased its performance 70 percent over that of its previous quad-core predecessor.

While these servers are something most companies will never own, as their size alone could fill up a basketball court and the energy bill that comes with them would probably make your head spin, their use could potentially impact each and every one of us. Researchers anticipate that this recent unprecedented growth in computing power will help facilitate improved climate predictions, fuel-efficient engine designs, better understandings of the origin of the universe, and creation of advanced materials for energy production, transmission, and storage.

Scientists and researchers in industry, academia, and government have already requested more than 2 billion processing hours on Jaguar for 2010.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Intel Partners with EMC on Cloud Storage

Intel and EMC have announced a joint effort to improve the energy efficiency of EMC's Atmos cloud storage system which is expected to be available in the latter half of 2010. EMC's Atmos system is a hardware and software platform that is used to spread data storage across several different datacenters on a large scale. This concept has already taken off, as earlier this year, EMC announced its first customer for the Atmos data distribution system. AT&T's Synaptic pay-as-you-go hosting service.

In order to reduce the power consumption and improve overall power management, EMC has decided to upgrade the Atmos with Intels next generation and energy efficient Xeon servers codenamed Nehalem. Other steps for reducing energy costs include intelligent power management, which will turn off hard disks when not active, as well as software improvements provided by Intel's Node Manager tool to reduce power consumption during idle periods. The overall strategy of this partnership is to reduce the cost per megawatt of these petabyte scale storage systems.

More details and information about these upgraded Atmos servers are expected to come forth as their release date approaches.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Windows Server 2008 DFS Share Replication for Redundancy

The DFS (Directory file Service) File Services Role ships on all editions of Windows Server 2008 except for the Web and IA editions. You install the DFS role on Server 2008 using the “Server Manager” and you install the “File Services” role using the “Add Roles Wizard”, be sure to choose DFS Replication under the File Server role. Next install the DFS Management Console this feature can be installed using “Server Manager” by selecting “Add Features” and then choosing “Remote Server Administration Tools” in the list of available features.

The DFS management console is used to configure the DFS replication. This is the tool that will allow us to setup a DFS namespace and configure the replication of files between multiple shares. A DFS namespace is a place where you have a list of all your file shares in DFS and is basically a folder structure of a list of file shares. As far as users are concerned they have no idea they may be navigating across multiple server to access files.

There are two types of namespaces, domain based and stand alone, if you are running Active Directory you should use a domain based namespace. This will store the namespace configuration in Active Directory and will be redundant across all domain controllers. Create the namespace in DFS Management Console. Click on the right to add a namespace and launch the wizard, name the namespace, then choose domain based in 2008 mode click to create, and then close.

After you create the namespace you will need to add folders to it, click “new folder” on the right and enter a name such as “Sales”. Click to add an associated folder (This will be a preconfigured share on a server). You can also add folders with no targets just to help create a hierarchy in the namespace for organization purposes.

Now the whole purpose of this is to have multiple targets, which is multiple copies of the same data stored on multiple servers, (maybe in separate physical locations) in order to have fault tolerance or to speed access to data across slower WAN links. It is very simple to add multiple targets just make sure you provide the multiple targets for the namespace when you are configuring it. So if we are using a domain based Active Directory integrated DFS the clients will be automatically redirected to the location that is physically closest to them.

Now the only thing left is to setup a DFS replication group so that our data is synchronized between all the servers. We are going to use DFS-R or Distributed File System Replication, this will work for both domain based and stand alone DFS. We need to create a replication group, only changes to the files are sent across the LAN/WAN not the entire changed file this helps save bandwidth. Start the “Replicate Folder Wizard” type the name of the replication group and the name of the folder to replicate, in our case “Sales”. Chose the servers you want to replicate between and chose which server will act as the primary member, and then choose the topology, I prefer Full Mesh as I prefer each member to replicate will all other members of the replication group. Next if you wish you can limit the bandwidth and schedule replication times.

The end result is you have multiple servers with “mirrored” shares in multiple locations that update each other in real time as a user changes a file in a single location. This is also very useful for fault tolerance in a single location…

*If your domain is in Server domain functional level, the system uses DFS-R for SYSVOL replication. If your domain is in any other domain mode, there might be non-Server 2008 domain controllers, a server may replicate with a non 2008 server that does not support DFS-R. Therefore, the system uses FRS on all domain controllers.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What is VMware?

VMwareVMware is one of the best virtualization software solutions on the market. VMware software is able to split up a server into multiple portions making essential mulitple computers. These virtual computers that VMware makes are then accesible by guest operating systems. With multiple guest being able to access a single server via virtualization an IT administrator is able cut down on cost by needed less hardware.

VMware is also compatible with almost every guest operating system including: Windows 7, Vista, XP, 200 NT, Me, 98, 95, MS-DOS 6.22 or better, IBM OS/2 Warp, Mac OSX Server, Linux, Sun Java Desktop, SCO OpenServer, SCO UNIXWARE, Free BSD, Netware Server, Solaris 10 x86. That pretty much covers every OS out there.

VMware also comes with a great number of features inluding:
  • Virtual State Capture: Capture the state of your virtual machine so if a problem arises you can roll back to a previous state
  • Large guest operating system support: Nearly all versions of windows and linux are supported
  • Simple Installation: VMware installs like a standard application so no hassle
  • Web management interface: You can manage your VMware installation via web browser
  • Supports two-processor SMP: Allows your virtual machine to take advantage of multi-processing.
  • Easy migration path to other VMware products: All VMware products are made so that upgrading is hassle free.

The biggest downside of VMware is that there are other solutions out their such as VirtualBox, KVM and Xen that are free. The benefits of VMware though are much greater than from these other free solutions. VMware is much easier to use and comes with so many advanced features that spending the extra bucks on VMware is completely worth it.

Looking for for a service provider to help with your next convention or trade show? Then visit Convention Vendor and find your next favorite IT service company.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Used Server Sales

In tough economic times like we find ourselves in, resourceful IT Managers are looking for alternatives solutions to upgrading, updating or simply maintaining their servers and networking equipment. The used equipment market for servers and networking equipment is emerging as an excellent alternative to the high price of new equipment. Depending on their IT needs and the age of your equipment, Off Lease or Off Rent equipment may be a cost saving source for IT professionals and small companies alike.

Companies in the Technology Rental Business such as often have specials on equipment when it is returned from a Desktop Rental, a Laptop Rental, Audio Visual Rental and other types of equipment as well.

At the moment the special offer is on Entry Level Dell Servers. They are priced at $995. A refurbished Dell server just back from rentals is the perfect solution for a small business looking for, among other things, an affordable solution for file and print sharing. Here are the specifications:

Dell Poweredge 840 Server
Dual Core Xeon 1.86ghz processor
2GB Memory
Dual 160GB Hard Drives – Raid 1
Powervault 100T DAT72 Internal Tape Drive
Symantec Backup Exec Software
Windows Server 2003 with 5 user CALS
Here is the link.

If you have a need for Networking/ IT or standard PC equipment, don’t overlook used equipment from Rental Dealers, solid equipment for a fraction of the price of new.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

IBM server bug may cause data loss

IBM Xseries server

IBM recently released a support article for their Blade Center and System X servers containing drives with the following model numbers:


The article states that the hard drives may become unresponsive after a power cycle when the drives attempt to create an event log event in an invalid location, and the drive goes offline. Once the drive goes offline, the data is inaccessible.

IBM is working on getting the firmware update for the hard drives to solve the problem, but until then IBM advises to power cycle the affected servers as little as possible.

To check if your server includes one of the affected drives, view the list of models in IBM support article H194623.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hardware for Standard Edition and Enterprise MS Office Communications Server 2007

Hardware requirements vary according to server role, configuration, and storage requirements. This topic summarizes the requirements for the following server configurations. Server roles not listed in this section are addressed in subsequent sections for the following server configurations.
Standard Edition Server configured as one of the following:
• Front End Server, Web Conferencing Server, and A/V Conferencing Server
• Director
• Web Conferencing Edge Server or Access Edge Server
Enterprise Edition Server configured as one of the following:
• Consolidated Enterprise Edition Server (Front-End Server, Web Conferencing Server, A/V Conferencing Server, and IIS collocated on server)
• Front End Server in expanded configuration (conferencing servers and IIS installed on separate computers)
• Web Conferencing Server in the expanded configuration
• IIS Server in the expanded configuration
• Archiving and CDR Server

Dual processor, dual core 2.6 GHz +
2 x 18 GB
For collocated Standard Edition Server, add:
2 x 36 GB, 15K RPM, RAID 0, for database log files
2 x 36 GB, 15K RPM, RAID 0, for database data
1 MB L2 per core
2 GB (4 GB for Standard Edition Server or Consolidated Enterprise Edition Server)

For more information about MS Office Communication Server 2007 visit the Forum