Data Foundry Blog

The Battle for the Internet Came to Texas

Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of traveling to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas for an FCC panel discussion and open forum. It was hosted by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, and featured Edward Henigin, Data Foundry CTO, on the panel. Read Edward Hennigan’s testimony on Internet regulation and maintaining an open Internet, or watch the live recording of the panel and forum.

Commissioners rarely leave Washington to meet with the public, and as of now, this event was the only one of its kind on the calendar. It was complemented by a rally organized by our friends at the Free Press that drew media attention and many folks in favor of an open Internet.

During the discussion, Ed strongly argued that the as part of promoting an open Internet, the Commission should promote open access by reclassifying the broadband transmission component of “last-mile” networks as a Title II telecommunications service.

Although some on the panel have joined with the large telecom and cable companies to resist the push for Title II reclassification, almost everyone in the audience agreed!

Ultimately the discussion goes far beyond the need for Title II reclassification. Unfortunately, the proposed Open Internet rules currently being considered by the FCC will allow providers such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner to manage their networks to a “commercially reasonable” standard. This would include allowing them to charge content providers for “fast lane” access. While this might make Netflix stream a little faster, it effectively ends any hope of a truly open Internet. For example, the proposals would not prevent ISPs from blocking encryption or other privacy-enhancing technologies. This will allow ISP’s to snoop and track their Internet users habits to provide “context-relevant” ads and assist in government surveillance. The proposed rules will leave us with the same broken Internet where users do not have have options, and where ISP’s will not have to compete on pricing, quality of service and overall customer service and satisfaction.

Data Foundry opposes the telecom and cable companies because the simple fact is that broadband Internet access in the United States is currently not subject to any real competitive forces and abuses have in fact occurred. Data Foundry does not support the proposed Open Internet/”Net Neutrality” rules because they would eviscerate Internet users’ privacy rights. The “non-discrimination” rule presented by some advocates would actually require discrimination, and they are decidedly not “neutral.”

We believe an open and free Internet means all traffic should be transmitted without special treatment except when the user has expressly requested priority treatment for a given application or service. We strongly disagree that telecom and cable companies should be able to charge special fees for “prioritized” delivery. We certainly disagree that they should be allowed to make you waive all privacy and effectively ban encryption so they can inspect your traffic – which is the only way they can implement their scheme.

Houston 2 update: FM 1-120 Roof and Depressed Concrete Slab

Purpose-built Data Center with Structural Integrity

Almost all data centers in the Houston area are retrofitted facilities – frequently old warehouses or other large, open buildings that have been converted into a data center. Retrofitted facilities make compromises in critical data center design elements, which expose companies to unnecessary risks that can result in downtime of mission-critical IT systems.

From the very beginning, we knew the only way to satisfy the increased demand for colocation and disaster recovery services in the Houston area was to build a premium, purpose-built data center. The advantage of designing a purpose built data center (rather than retrofitting an existing facility) is that Data Foundry can control the design and quality of the power, network, cooling, security and structural integrity to ensure 100% up-time of the facility.

Data Foundry’s 20+ years of experience as a data center owner/operator contributed to every detail in the design and construction of Houston 2. The structural design of a data center is a key component in its overall reliability and security. In this construction blog update, we will explain two key structural elements of our Houston 2 data center; the FM 1-120 (185mph winds) rated roof and the unique design features of our depressed concrete slab.

Current time lapse video

To view the full time lapse from April 2014 to August 2014 click here.

185 MPH Rated Data Center Roof

Over the past week, our construction team reinforced and waterproofed the steel roofing structure for Houston 2. We utilized a fleece backed reinforced roofing membrane to provide a stronger waterproofing barrier on the data center roof. This will allow Houston 2 to withstand wind speeds higher than Category 5 hurricanes and it is rated to handle wind up to 185 mph. Also, independent of the wind rating, the roof is Factory Mutual (FM) 1-120 rated.

Roof is composed of five layers of material
Five layers of Factory Mutual approved roofing material staged and ready for application
Installing waterproof material on the roof
Crew installing material to waterproof and reinforce the Houston 2 data center roof
Southwest Roof
The Houston 2 roof is laid and is FM 1-120 rated with a wind rating of 185mph

Purpose Built Data Center Slab

It’s what you can’t see under the slab that really separates a purpose-built data center apart from other retrofitted data centers. In preparation for the concrete slab, conduit for electrical and telecom cabling were laid down and the sub-foundation was leveled. By laying the conduit underneath the slab, it adds both additional protection and reliability for the conduit. Even though the Houston 2 facility is located outside of the 500-year floodplain, we added an additional 4 feet of select fill to raise the foundation level 3 feet above street level for further flood protection. A thick waterproof membrane was then applied on top of the compacted select fill for increased waterproofing. The last step was to pour the concrete on top of the waterproof membrane. The final result is a uniquely designed depressed slab, which means zero ramps or steps from the loading docs to the data center white floor space.

Waterproof membrane installed between sub-foundate and slab
Illustration of waterproofing membrane between the sub-foundation and the concrete slab
Waterproofmembrane installed in hall
Thick waterproofing membrane laid down in the data center hall prior to concrete pour
Concrete slabs along main trench for chilled water pipes
Concrete slab in data center with temporary plastic covering to help prevent cracking. You can also see the main trench for the chilled water pipes.

Our grand opening celebration in Q1 of 2015 will be here before you know it! Stay tuned as we continue to update you on the construction of our largest data center project to date. UPS installation, data center raised flooring and interior walls are next on the project list.

How to Avoid DDoS Annihilation?

Guest Blog by Carl Herberger, VP, Security Solutions, Radware (a business partner of Data Foundry)

According to US Gov’t statistics, 60% of Small Businesses fold before a one-year anniversary of a cyber-attack.

Not even 18 months ago, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology Chairman Chris Collins (R-NY) led a hearing to examine the increased volume and complexity of cyber-attacks on small business. The concern was that new attack technologies and techniques present new challenges and threats and the interest of the committee was to investigate the role of the federal government in helping address cyber-security issues.

Read More ›

Join Data Foundry and Alert Logic for a Webinar On Infrastructure Availability

Alert Logic Webinar

Your business demands 24x7x365 infrastructure availability – but security incidents can halt your continuity for days, or even weeks. With the ever-increasing volume of security threats being launched, adopting a security management solution has become a requirement of doing business.

How do you integrate an affordable security plan that will deal with these concerns effectively, and allow you to spend most of your time doing business, not constantly reacting to security threats?

We invite you to join Data Foundry and our partner Alert Logic, to learn how our security management service can be the cornerstone of your availability strategy. This free web session will bring you up to date on:

  • The real costs of security-related downtime
  • Security at the infrastructure and application layers
  • Proven best practices to use as you formulate prevention and recovery strategies

Webinar Details

When: August 27th from 1:00pm – 1:45pm

What: “The Security Hole in Your Availability Plan”

Who: Wade Walters, Solutions Architect – Alert Logic and Thomas Adams, Director of Managed Services – Data Foundry

We hope to see you there!

Register Now

Presented by:

  • Data Foundry
  • Alert Logic

Houston 2: Cooling System Construction is Underway

Near record rainfall in the Houston area hasn’t slowed down our construction of the Houston 2 data center. We have now completed the western tilt walls, which means the front and back of the colocation pods are now finished. Also, the structural steel is nearing completion for 40,000 SF of of dedicated office space for customers.

Construction of one of the key features of the Houston 2 data center cooling system is underway. We have completed the main trench that will house the chilled water pipes that will feed the Computer Room Air Handler (CRAH) units. Illustrating one of the key benefits of a purpose built data center, we are able to deliver chilled water through a below slab trench. A below slab trench provides two key benefits: (1) in the event of a leak in the chilled water system, the trench will ensure no water enters the data hall; and (2) the chilled water piping will not interfere with the efficient flow of chilled air to our customer’s cabinets and high performance servers located on the raised floor.

Time-lapse video

Western Tilt Wall
Western tilt wall is complete!
Steel frame for office space
Structural steel frame for 40K SF of dedicated office space for customers.
Trench for chilled water pipes
Setting the stage for the trench that will hold chilled water pipes. These pipes will feed the Computer Room Air Handler (CRAH) units.
Adding dirt to raise elevation
Dirt is being added to raise the internal elevation for the entire pod enclosure by more than 4 feet. Illustrating where the finished floor height will be.
Roofing material
Materials are in order for strengthening and sealing the roof over the pods.

Next on the long list of projects will be sealing the roof, finishing slab work in the pods, and then closing off the east side of the pods. Be sure to check back for our next update in a couple of weeks!

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: http://www.i2coalition.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/i2Coalition-GN-14-28-Comments-140715.pdf

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!

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