Data Foundry Blog

HostingCon 2014 Conference Recap

Last month, members of the Data Foundry team made their way to Miami Beach for the 2014 HostingCon Conference. HostingCon is the premier industry conference for hosting and cloud providers where attendees can learn about the latest news, ideas and technology affecting their businesses. During the three day conference there were several educational sessions offered including a general session panel that included Data Foundry’s Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Ron Yokubaitis. The session titled, “The Post Snowden World One Year Later: What Has Changed?” drew one of the largest crowds during the conference. Ron, along with an impressive panel of five additional industry experts, shared unique perspectives around privacy and how the Internet infrastructure industry, must collaborate with others who have a stake in its success to show the world that the United States takes privacy seriously.

HostingCon Panel
HostingCon General Session Panel: From left to right: Michael Petricone – Consumer Electronics Association; Christian Dawson – ServInt; Martin Ammori – New American Foundation; Gregory Nojeim – Center for Democracy and Technology; Michelle Richardson – ACLU; Amy Stepanovich – Access; Ron Yokubaitis – Data Foundry

In addition to being featured during the Tuesday General Session, Data Foundry was right in the middle of the action in the exhibit hall during HostingCon. We had the pleasure of networking with a multitude of attendees including some of our long-standing clients. Discussions included everything from basic information about Data Foundry’s history to our services offered and the construction of our newest purpose-built data center in North Houston. We had a very productive time in Miami and look forward to seeing everyone again at HostingCon 2015!

Hurricane Season is Here, Are You Prepared?

2014 Hurricane Predictions

We are a little over a month into the 2014 hurricane season. Are you comfortable with your company’s Disaster Recovery plan?

In recent years we have seen everything from a hurricane season that produced only 2 hurricanes, to a season that generated 15. Regardless of the seasonal forecast, it only takes one hurricane to make a major impact on your critical IT assets. According to the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council, 3 out of 4 businesses are at risk of failing to recover from a disaster or outage and receive a failing grade in their disaster recovery preparedness plan. Be sure to arm yourself with the knowledge, expertise and solutions of a seasoned data center provider, like Data Foundry. We are fully prepared and ready to protect you from whatever may come your way.

We created a Hurricane Disaster Recovery infographic that highlights the basics of a hurricane, illustrates the devastating financial impact of these storms and summarizes the critical considerations for selecting a data center for disaster recovery.

View our Hurricane Disaster Recovery infographic.

Data Foundry and the i2Coalition Submitted Comments to the FCC to Fight for Open Access

Data Foundry is proud member of the i2Coalition whose mission is to support “those who build the nuts and bolts of the Internet”. We are proud to have played a key role, along with other i2Coalition members, in drafting the i2Coalition’s comments about Net Neutrality that were submitted this week to the United States Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) yesterday. We are fighting for an “Open Access” Internet that promotes innovation and competition, while respecting user privacy. An excerpt of the executive summary and link to the “Comments of the i2Coaltion” filing is below.

In May of 2014, the FCC made a historic decision to advance rules that will kill the “Open Internet” as we know it. Despite public outcry nationwide, the FCC betrayed Net Neutrality rhetoric, and instead approved the consideration for rules that would create a “two-tiered Internet.” That is, companies with deep pockets can pay for an “Internet Fast Lane” to ensure their traffic and content receive priority. Privacy is also greatly decreased because ISPs will inspect traffic so they can prioritize it.

Data Foundry strongly supports the coalition’s recommendation that the FCC reclassify the broadband transmission component as a Title II telecommunications service. The most effective way to protect and promote the Open Internet is to implement Open Access by reclassifying the broadband transmission component as a Title II telecommunications service. Open Access opens up the Internet to everyone and allows for robust competition.

The Internet thrives when a level playing field allows innovation to come from anyone with a good idea and the ability to act on it. Minimal barriers to entry encourage individual entrepreneurs, small businesses, and global companies to compete in the same arena.

We all must work together and remain vigilant in combating the powerful and well-funded groups that want nothing more than to end the Open Internet. The FCC has asked Internet users to weigh in on Net Neutrality by posting to the comments section on the FCC website.

We encourage everyone to post their comments to the FCC by July 18th to FCC to protect the Open Internet! Thank you!

Executive summary of the i2Coalition’s filing to the FCC:

The most effective way for the Commission to protect and promote the open Internet is to implement Open Access by reclassifying the broadband transmission component as a Title II telecommunications service. The NPRM’s proposed Net Neutrality rules attempt to alleviate the effects of an uncompetitive last mile by regulating broadband access, but Open Access strikes at the heart of the problem by opening up the network to robust competition. Open Access would bring competition back to the Internet access market and consumer choice would be the primary safeguard against abusive and discriminatory network practices.

Open Access was the Commission’s prevailing policy for over 40 years. The Computer Inquiries laid the groundwork for a vibrant Internet access market and the Commission’s policies were successfully adopted around the world. It was not until the Commission abandoned Open Access and broadband competition evaporated that the need for Net Neutrality regulations became apparent. The Commission’s decisions to classify broadband as an information service were based on predictions that competition and infrastructure investment would flourish without Open Access. This proceeding provides the Commission the opportunity to reevaluate whether Title I has produced the expected benefits. The evidence is clear that it has not and i2Coalition submits that now is the time to return to Open Access.

If the Commission does not reinstitute Open Access, then it should protect the open Internet with enforceable no-blocking and anti-discrimination rules based on its Title II authority. Section 706 does not provide a solid legal foundation for the Commission’s proposed rules and paid prioritization arrangements would be counterproductive. The incredible success of the Internet is largely attributable to the fact that it has always been a level playing field. Minimal barriers to entry have allowed innovation to come from big and small players alike.

However, a bifurcated Internet where the wealthy and powerful can purchase preferential treatment is anathema to the open Internet.

Paid prioritization also presents a dangerous threat to Internet privacy. The only way that broadband access providers can proactively prioritize edge providers’ traffic is by monitoring the content of their users’ online communications. The Commission should not sanction a prioritization regime that requires Americans to sacrifice their privacy or that allows broadband providers to discriminate against encryption tools. Protecting the open Internet means establishing meaningful rules that stop discriminatory practices. Open Access, the policy i2Coalition recommends the Commission undertake, would deter abuse through vibrant competition. For 40 years, the Commission’s Open Access rules were the foundation of the information services market and they succeeded in fostering competition, preventing discrimination, and incentivizing network investment. These are the results that Commission seeks in this proceeding and it can best achieve them by bringing back Open Access.

The link to the complete filing:

Data Foundry and Radware Host a Cyber Security Event

Data Foundry and Radware held a Cyber Security dinner last week in the Loft Room at the beautiful Brenner’s on the Bayou in Houston TX. We are very appreciative of our partner Radware and all of our guests who attended. The informal and eye-opening event regarding the latest cyber security challenges facing enterprise businesses was well received by all who attended. Carl Herberger, VP of Security with Radware, answered questions and led an open dialogue with all attendees. It was a great evening filled with valuable conversations.

5 Highlights from Carl’s presentation:
  1. Businesses are currently under repeated attack and need to approach the situation like being in a war. The enemy is showing a variation in tactics with increasing levels of sophistication. Not five years ago the average attack was 1-2 types and lasted a few hours to about a day. Today the average number of methods that cyber attackers use has increased to seven and the average length of an attack is about 5 months. This has increased significantly as people become more reliant on things like smart devices, tablets, and smart phones.
  2. Attacks are not merely criminal sometimes they are ideological and even state sponsored (i.e., the military).
  3. The enemy trusts that we put our faith in the illusion of security as opposed to knowing where we are vulnerable (Illusion versus reality).
  4. Cyber attackers are developing ways through the gathering of intelligence to use our own defenses against us. The world is so open now out of necessity the idea of a true defensible perimeter is obsolete. We must be ready to deal with threats once they are beyond our defenses.
  5. They are already laying plans for tomorrow and show efforts of coordination with other groups who may not share the same agenda but desire to achieve the same end. The tactics may vary but the target never changes.

The best defense against cyber security attacks is to be prepared by having a mitigation solution in place. Data Foundry can help you be proactive and stay ahead of potential threats with our DDoS mitigation solution.

Social mixer before presentation
Michael Jordan – Data Center Technician with Data Foundry, welcoming attendees before the presentation and dinner.
Presenter, Carl Herberger, VP of Security with Radware
Carl Herberger, VP of Security with Radware, starting his presentation on cyber security.
Wes Klaus, Data Foundry, discusses newest Houston Data Center
Wes Klaus, Director – Data Center Sales with Data Foundry, discussing the construction of our newest Houston Data Center, Houston 2.

Reinforced Concrete Walls Go Up at Houston 2

Our Houston 2 concrete tilt walls are moving into place – 16 of the 119 site cast reinforced concrete wall panels are up and will act as the “skin” holding the facility together. The use of concrete wall panels is one important feature that differentiates a purpose-built data center, such as Houston 2, from one that has been retrofitted to an existing building or warehouse. The concrete wall panels do not have windows and minimal doors to maximize the structural integrity of the 185 mph wind rated facility.

Time-lapse video

Raising Concrete Wall
All clear to lift. Each site cast concrete wall will weigh between 66,000 and 68,000 lbs each.
Raising Walls Slow And Steady
Slow and steady is the order of the day. Each wall must be carefully controlled for the safety of the crew and the integrity of the structure.
Hydraulic Crawler Crane
Heavy lifting – the 30 ton hydraulic crawler crane has a 100 ft boom and can lift up to 210 tons.
Welding wall to frame
Welding it in place. A welder attached contact points to the steel frame work of the building.
Front exterior wall
The front exterior of Houston 2 is beginning to take shape.

The dog days of summer are upon us and our construction teams are moving right along. Stay tuned as we continue to provide updates on the Houston 2 project. Foundational concrete slab and roofing milestones are next on the list!

Houston 2 is Taking Shape

Construction of Houston 2 is moving forward extremely well! Over the past couple of weeks, crews made significant progress as the structural steel has been put in place, additional conduit has been positioned and the site cast concrete walls are set to be put in place at Houston 2. Construction of the structural steel is a major milestone because it acts as the “skeletal system” of the data center. It’s now getting easier to visualize exactly how massive this premium data center will be.

Panoramic Photos

View from inside Pod 1
Current view from inside Pod 1
Pod 1 roof deck
Pod 1 roof deck skyline view

Structural Steel Frame

Generator yard
Corner of the generator yard that will house scalable 2.25 MW N+1 diesel generators looking east at Pod 1
Roof Pod 1
Reinforced structural steel beams supporting the roof of Pod 1
Bell Pier and Steel Support
Bell Pier and Steel Support (Behind that you see the depressed slab and chilled water trench)
Pod 1 ground
One of the Primary Grounds for Pod 1
High voltage – Medium voltage transfer
High voltage – Medium voltage transfer. This is looking from inside Houston 2 out into the generator yard
Sub-foundation conduit for electrical transfer, telecommunications and plumbing

Tilt Wall Casting Forms

Concrete wall forms
Casting forms for concrete wall panels
Wall forms aerial view
Aerial view of casting forms for concrete walls

Despite torrential rainfall in the Houston area, construction continues to hit deadlines and we march toward our next milestone, which will be the site cast concrete walls going up. Stay tuned for our next Houston 2 construction update in a couple of weeks!

Are You Prepared for Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season is upon us, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center there is a 70 percent likelihood of 8 to 13 named storms, of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes, including 1 to 2 major hurricanes. Of course, it only takes one storm to put an unprepared business out of business.

According to the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council, 3 in 4 companies are at risk of failing to recover from disaster or outage due to an enormous shortfall in DR preparedness.

Hurricane Ike – September 12th, 2008
Hurricane Ike – September 12th, 2008

Does your business have a disaster recovery plan in place for your critical business systems?

Having a solid disaster recovery plan in place is critical for reducing the business risks associated with being hit by a hurricane. Evaluating and testing your disaster recovery plan at least once a year helps to identify any gaps, as well as ensure that information is up-to-date and no fundamental components have changed.

According to the business continuity experts at ImpactWeather, there are five critical areas every company should consider when evaluating their disaster recovery plan. These areas are:

  1. The Plan Itself
  2. Secondary Site Location
  3. Disaster Recovery Office Space
  4. Connectivity
  5. Support

We have refined these five areas and developed a Disaster Readiness Checklist. It also offers links to detailed online resources to further help you assess and refine your disaster recovery plan.

Please take a few minutes to review this free online checklist.

Houston 2: Progress in the Bayou City

We’ve made significant progress in preparing the site for the construction of our state-of-the-art Houston 2 Data Center and are well on our way to a Q1 2015 completion. Check out some pictures below of the construction crews hard at work.

Excavation and Leveling

Surveying after leveling the future location of the Houston 2 Data Center Pods
Surveying after leveling the future location of the Houston 2 Data Center Pods

Crews are excavating and leveling the site to make way for our three foot depressed data center slab. The unique design feature of a depressed slab means no ramps or steps anywhere in the data center.

Electrical Conduit Installation

Electrical Conduit to feed the Generator Tab Box
Electrical Conduit to feed the Generator Tab Box
Conduit will be encased in concrete for added protection and reliability
Conduit will be encased in concrete for added protection and reliability

Installation of the conduit for our Generator Tab Box is also underway. Our Generator Tab Box is something that you will not see in all data centers. It is an ultra-premium feature that will allow us to utilize a temporary generator while simultaneously operating our stationary generator under load bank. You will also noticed forms being built around the recessed conduit. While typical construction designs simply direct-bury conduit, we feel strongly about going one step further and encasing the underground conduit in concrete. Concrete encasement adds both additional protection and reliability to the contents within the conduit.

Steel Reinforced Piers

Steel reinforced piers for supporting the Data Center Pods
Steel reinforced piers for supporting the Data Center Pods
Strategic placement of steel reinforced piers allow for larger bays
Strategic placement of steel reinforced piers allow for larger bays

Steel reinforced piers are being built and the concrete slab will be poured around them to provide increased support. One feature that distinguishes purpose-built over retrofitted data centers is the large column spacing that we use. The spacing will allow for larger than normal bays.

Not only is the construction of Houston 2 exciting news for the global technology community as a whole, it will undeniably provide the Houston Metro with a substantial economic boost, new job creation, and a huge opportunity for enterprise businesses and tech companies to access our premium colocation, disaster recovery and managed services.

Stay tuned as we continue to provide updates on the Houston 2 construction leading up to the grand opening in Q1 of 2015. Structural steel frame is going up next!

Data Center World Global Conference 2014 Recap

Another informative and exciting Data Center World Conference is in the books. The weeklong conference in Las Vegas brought together data center and facilities management professionals from around the world. Data Center World is one of the premier events for learning about critical data center infrastructure services and solutions, peer networking, and a broad opportunity to learn from educational sessions.

Our very own John Dunaway, Director – Data Center Sales, was invited to speak on a panel during the conference that covered Global Colocation Strategies. The panel discussed topics such as coordinating colocation relationships at a distance and market dynamics of colocation across the US and the rest of world. They also shared some common pitfalls to managing a remote colocation environment and ways to avoid them. Our sincere thanks to everyone in attendance and who stayed after to talk to John and our team.

Panel from left to right: Todd Cushing, CB Richard Ellis; John Dunaway, Data Foundry; Jason dePreaux, IHS Technology; Jim Leach, RagingWire Data Centers
Panel from left to right: Todd Cushing, CB Richard Ellis; John Dunaway, Data Foundry; Jason dePreaux, IHS Technology; Jim Leach, RagingWire Data Centers

Data Center World Mixer hosted by Data Foundry and IES Communications

On Tuesday night, Data Foundry and IES Communications hosted a Data Center World mixer in an exclusive suite at The Mirage. A packed room of data center professionals enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres while relaxing after a long day at the conference. Discussions during the mixer covered a wide range of topics including Data Foundry’s recent groundbreaking event in Houston for our purpose-built Houston 2 Data Center. The mixer was a huge success. We look forward to seeing everyone at the next Data Center World Conference later this year.

Data Center World Mixer at The Mirage sponsored by Data Foundry and IES Communications
Data Center World Mixer at The Mirage hosted by Data Foundry and IES Communications

Data Foundry Goes Green, Saves Energy with RF Code Sensors

Is it me or is it too cold in here? Thanks to RF Code, we now know for sure.

Data Foundry recently installed state of the art thermal sensors from RF Code throughout Texas 1 to monitor and control the temperature within the data center raised floor.

RF Code thermal sensor
RF Code Thermal Sensor

Controlling temperature was one of the last primitive aspects of operating a state-of-art data center. RF Code has brought real-time intelligence to how we monitor and keep the temperature in our data centers within an acceptable range. Now, we can actively enforce airflow best practices and optimize our cooling systems to ensure we’re delivering the the most efficient service possible.

How does it work? We first attach the sensors to the server cabinets. We then use RF Code’s Asset Manager software to provide a “plan view” mapped overview of the data hall, and to survey the overall temperature conditions in the room. With this information we look for patterns and deviations from those patterns in the room, which we can investigate and correct. We also use RF Code’s API to gather per-sensor data and incorporate that right into our existing core network monitoring engine. This allows us to receive proactive notification when individual sensors go above (or below) an acceptable range.

All of this leads to precise management of necessary cooling. Getting 100 percent accurate data is essential to ensure maximum cooling efficiency within high power density deployments.

You can contact us for more information about Texas 1 and the systems we use to monitor and maintain our premier data centers.

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