Data Foundry Blog

Join Data Foundry at AFCOM Data Center World Next Week

The Mirage

If you are planning on attending the AFCOM Data Center World Global Conference in Las Vegas next week, we will be there and welcome the opportunity to connect.

Please join us and IES Communications as we host a mixer event on Wednesday evening in a private suite at The Mirage. Mix, mingle and relax with colleagues over drinks and hors d’oeuvres after a long day at the conference!

  • Date: Wednesday, April 30th
  • Time: 7:00pm to 10:00pm
  • Location: The Mirage – 3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South
  • Drinks and hors d’oeuvres on us!

Space is limited so reserve your spot!

RSVP NOW

We look forward to seeing you there!

Once you RSVP, keep an eye out for an email on Tuesday, April 29th, that will include the room number. If you RSVP after the 29th, please see the hotel concierge who will provide the room number.

Presented by:

  • Data Foundry
  • IES Communications

Houston 2, We Have Lift-off!

We are proud to announce the official groundbreaking of our second and largest data center in the Houston area on April 10th! Our newest 350,000 sq ft purpose-built data center, named Houston 2, will reside on 18 acres in North Houston’s Greens Crossing district. Designed as a state-of-the-art data center from the ground up, Houston 2 will support both the demand and growth of our existing Houston client base as well as provide a choice for premium data center services to companies within the greater Houston metro area. We will continue to operate our long-standing Houston 1 data center, which is located in the Galleria/West Loop area.

Houston 2 Groundbreaking

Houston 2 Groundbreaking Event Information:

  • WHEN: Thursday, April 10th
  • WHERE: 660 Greens Parkway, Houston TX, 77067
  • EVENT SCHEDULE:
    • 10:30-11:30am Distinguished speakers
      • Fred Welch – VP Regional Development of the Greater Houston Partnership
      • Welcome Wilson Sr. – Chairman of the GSL Welcome Group
      • David Dewhurst – Lieutenant Governor of Texas
      • Ed Henigin – Chief Technology Officer of Data Foundry
      • Carolyn and Ron Yokubaitis – Co-CEOs and Co-Founders of Data Foundry
    • 11:30am Ceremonial Groundbreaking
    • 11:45am Lunch Catered by Pappasito’s Cantina
  • Please RSVP to attend

Houston 2 will be fully commissioned and ready for customer deployments in the 1st quarter of 2015. For more information please visit: http://www.datafoundry.com/data-centers/houston-2/.

Stay tuned for a recap of the Houston 2 groundbreaking festivities and periodic updates during the construction process!

SXSW “Take Back Your Internet” Party Recap + Privacy Panel Video

We had a spirited discussion that covered the cultural, political and technological issues that affect online privacy. We co-sponsored a Take Back Your Internet Privacy Panel and Party with Giganews and Golden Frog on March 9th in Austin, Texas during SXSW. The event honored the global fight for online privacy and an uncensored Internet for all.

A big thank you to everyone that attended. We had a full house of people who clearly cared about these issues and engaged with the panelists making for an invigorating and lively debate.

The expert panel:

  • Kevin Bankston – Policy Director, New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute

  • Evan Greer – Campaign Manager, Fight for the Future

  • Representative Bryan Hughes – Texas House of Representatives, District 5
  • Ali Sternburg – Public Policy Counsel at CCIA
  • Ron Yokubaitis – Co-founder and Co-CEO of Golden Frog, Giganews, Data Foundry and Texas.net

The panel was moderated by Stacey Higginbotham, senior writer at GigaOm.

In addition to the people in the room, we had viewers from around the world who watched the panel LIVE on the Golden Frog website and sent questions via Twitter. We also want to thank our diverse panel of experts for a truly informative and rousing discussion.

PRIVACY PANEL VIDEO

If you didn’t catch the expert panel in person or online, you can now watch a recording on our YouTube channel:

Thanks again for making our annual celebration such a memorable one! Here are some photos from our “Take Back the Internet” Privacy Panel:

The Panel

The Turn Out

The Party

The Site

You’re Invited to our Privacy Panel & Party at SXSW 2014

Take Back Your Internet

It’s been a rough year for the Internet. With everything from the NSA controversy, to data collection by corporations, to the repeal of Net Neutrality we could all use a good time.

With that in mind, Data Foundry in partnership with Golden Frog and Giganews is hosting its second annual “Take Back the Internet” party during SXSW. We’d like to invite you to join us on Sunday, March 9 in downtown Austin for an evening of networking with your fellow netizens who care as much as you do about online privacy.

As a VERY COOL added bonus, we’ve recruited some of the leading online privacy advocates in the world for an entertaining and informative panel discussion about the current and future state of online privacy. Various surveys indicate an overwhelming majority of people are concerned about their online privacy and are in favor of political initiatives and technical solutions that help preserve their privacy. But, is that still possible in an age of widespread Internet censorship, data collection, and mass surveillance by governments? We all leave a footprint online, but what can be done to keep it private when needed?

Our expert panel will examine the current state of online privacy in the U.S. and worldwide, the role that ISPs play in an open Internet, and the future of government policy regarding the Internet.

Privacy Panel Livestream:

If you can’t make it to the event in person, you can watch the Privacy Panel online as the event will be livestreamed:

www.goldenfrog.com/sxsw2014/livestream

We’re also going to be accepting a few questions on Twitter for the panelists during the livestream. Just Tweet us your privacy-related questions with hashtag #takebackyourinternet and include @DataFoundry in your tweet.

PANEL DETAILS:

Is There Any Online Privacy Left? What Does The Future Hold?
An expert panel on what every internet user should know

Speakers:
Kevin Bankston – Policy Director of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute
Evan Greer – Campaign Manager at Fight for the Future
Ali Sternburg – Public Policy Counsel at CCIA
Rep. Bryan Hughes of District Five in the Texas House of Representatives,
Ron Yokubaitis – Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Golden Frog, Giganews, Data Foundry and Texas.net
Panel Moderated by Stacey Higginbotham – Sr. Writer, GigaOM

We hope you can join us either in person at the event or via our Livestream. Don’t forget to post comments or tweet your questions to us with hashtag #takebackyourinternet during the event.

Event Information:
WHAT: Take Back Your Internet Party – 2014
WHEN: Sunday, March 9, 6-10pm
WHERE: The Bourbon Girl, #212 E 6th St, Austin, TX – 78701
EVENT SCHEDULE:
6pm Doors Open
7-8pm Expert Panel on Online Privacy
8-10pm Party Continues
DRINKS: Open Bar from 6-9.30pm
COST: No cost to you – just RSVP for the event while tickets last
(Note: This is unofficial SXSW event, and a badge is not required to attend.)

RSVP For the event here: http://www.goldenfrog.com/sxsw2014

If you are in town, the event is free and doesn’t require a SXSW badge. Our space is limited, so please don’t delay in RSVPing. We hope you’ll join us.

Where the Cloud Lives, Part 2

In part 1, we provided a definition of cloud computing and talked about the difference between public and private clouds. In this post, we’ll look at the relationship between cloud services and data centers.

The growth in the demand for cloud services has been facilitated by the growth in the data center marketplace. Demand for colocation, hosting and value-added services continues to grow as the adoption of cloud-based applications increase. Quite simply, the cloud is a network of servers that can be accessed remotely by personal computers, mobile devices, and applications. The servers sit in a data center somewhere, or even multiple data centers scattered throughout the world.

Colocation data centers make the benefits of cloud computing most viable. These benefits include helping IT organizations cut costs, rapidly scale and maintain the integrity of their “always on” applications. Enterprises have realized the benefits of housing their IT infrastructure in colocation facilities that also provide access to cloud and other managed services. Hybrid cloud deployments are becoming the norm in the industry as organizations prefer to maintain a core of dedicated corporate infrastructure with scalable access to cloud services for temporary or transitional needs.

A successful cloud deployment requires 100% server and network uptime. Scalability, availability, resiliency, and security are all features that must be incorporated into data centers that want to differentiate themselves. Facilities that are best equipped to handle the explosion of the cloud are located in safe geographic locations (and have incorporated features into the design of the data center to mitigate potential disaster risks), provide carrier-neutral connectivity and maintain highly redundant critical infrastructure.

Most businesses are looking to access the benefits of the cloud. But without choosing the right data center, grasping those benefits can be challenging. As a result, availability, connectivity, location and scalability of the data center can make or break a business’ cloud success.

Where the Cloud Lives, Part 1

Most people have heard about cloud computing, the catchall phrase that represents computing based on virtual resources. However, there are multiple flavors of cloud computing that can make the whole subject a little confusing. We’ll take a look at the two broad categories, public and private and tie in some directions, trends, and threats to make it all a little clearer. Because this is a really big topic, we’ll break it into a few chunks to make it easier to digest.

The evolution of where IT infrastructure lives

To run your business you need IT infrastructure like servers, storage and networks. And, it all needs space, power, cooling and security. In the past, organizations housed their IT infrastructure in their own offices. Eventually they began to outgrow their space or got to the point that any downtime represented significant lost revenue and impacted reputation. Along came the data center, first built by big companies that could afford it, then later by companies that offered to rent data center space, called colocation. Data centers enable reliable IT service delivery with purpose-built and hardened security, power, cooling and network infrastructure.

In the past, enterprise companies easily justified building their own data centers because they wanted to maintain complete control over their IT infrastructure. Commercial data centers simply weren’t available so they had to assume the responsibility and cost. Today, it is difficult for these companies to justify the capital expense as commercial data centers have proven themselves worthy of assuming the responsibility at a cost that can’t be ignored.

The Shift to Cloud Services – Rise of the Public Cloud

Software-as-a-Service providers were the trailblazers in a new world of online business: Enterprise applications in a pay-as-you-go model. SaaS providers were able to deliver CRM and BPM functionality in a way that eventually led to the NIST-defined 5 Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity or expansion and measured service.

Once senior executives were able to experience the agility provided by true cloud computing, they wanted to employ it across their entire IT infrastructure, while maintaining the security, compliance, data control, and freedom from vendor lock-in that owning their own afforded. This gave rise to the private cloud – all of the flexibility of cloud computing coupled with the benefits of control.

Stay tuned for additional posts where we’ll talk more about the private cloud, cloud management, growth of the cloud and threats to the cloud.

DDoS Attacks, Are You Prepared?

The battle is heating up and the costs are staggering. In a recent Information Week article entitled Banks Hit Downtime Milestone in DDoS Attacks, it was reported that U.S. banks and financial services institutions have reported double the downtime of their websites compared to a year ago. And, with the much publicized accusations against the Iranian Government for sponsoring DDoS attacks on U.S. Banks, the impact may be felt for some time. It’s not just banks and financial institutions at risk, anyone with a web presence can be impacted. So, if you aren’t protected you may end of paying a stiff price in terms of business interruption and possibly lost customers, revenue and reputation.

DDoS Defined

Simply put, Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) is an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users. There are many ways to do this and they all have the same effect of generating an overwhelming amount of traffic to web servers so that they become unresponsive to their intended users. This is not to be confused with a security breach where hackers gain access to an organizations IT infrastructure to capture sensitive information and cause damage. However, a DDoS attack could be a starting point for those intent on causing harm.

DDoS Protection

Protection starts with recognition that you are vulnerable. Once you have that you can create a plan to do something about it. Start with DDoS mitigation that uses advanced technology to distinguish between good and bad traffic, permitting the good “clean” traffic through, and dropping the “dirty” bad traffic. Without DDoS mitigation, you have two basic options. Option 1: Wait for the attack to end. Keep in mind that during the attack your customers can’t access your website, and perhaps there are other problems, like your staff not being able to manage your servers or access corporate information, clearly not a great option. Option 2: Take down the attacked web server(s). This actually completes the intention of the attack, but the benefit is that your employees are no longer prevented from managing the other servers or accessing other corporate information. Clearly your options aren’t great without DDoS mitigation that will permit your website to continue serving customers as if the attack weren’t happening at all (depending on the type of DDoS attack and the type of mitigation used, your mileage may vary).

The Bottom Line

DDoS protection is no longer a nice-to-have, if your business depends on the availability and performance of Internet based applications you have to be protected or risk losing customers, revenues and reputation. DDoS protection is now a cost of doing business, just like paying for any other part of your IT infrastructure. Here’s a little something to think about, not having DDoS protection is like building a world-class IT infrastructure that runs your mission-critical applications over dialup. You may not be old enough to remember dialup so let’s put it another way, imagine your customers trying to login to your website and it taking 5 minutes just to enter their username…any questions? If you’d like to learn how Data Foundry can help you, please contact us for more information.

Why Your Disaster Recovery Strategy May Be a Disaster

Imagine that Hurricane Sandy came knocking at your door. Would your IT infrastructure be safe? Would your staff have a suitable workspace to continue operations? Don’t let your business be a victim of a disaster as some experienced in New York and New Jersey when their cooling systems were forced to power down and flooding killed their network. These events are further explained in an article entitled In Sandy’s Aftermath, Epic Challenges for Data Centers about some of the effects Hurricane Sandy had on data centers. To ensure that your disaster recovery strategy can withstand the test of a disaster, here are four important items to consider.

Safe Zone Location

Your disaster recovery site should be located in a so called low incident zone in the United States. This is an area that has a low risk for natural disasters. If you select such a location for your disaster recovery site you can be reassured that your data will not only be secure, but your IT infrastructure will also be safe from possible flooding or overheating.

US Disaster Map

Worksite Recovery

Your disaster recovery strategy should include a safe zone, not only for your data and IT infrastructure, but for your staff as well. Planning for worksite recovery can ensure that if a disaster affects your business you can continue operations at a data center that provides you with a stable environment, not affected by the disaster.

Onsite Support 24x7x365

In case your staff cannot get to your disaster recovery site quickly, make sure your recovery plan includes the availability of trained IT staff that can assist you with all of your support and maintenance needs. Ideally your disaster recovery site should have highly qualified support personnel available 24x7x365.

Network Services

Network services that provide access to several carriers at once ensures the most reliable routing for your network connectivity. Such built-in redundancy will allow you to not only use the carrier of your choice, but have backup as well, should your primary carrier suffer an outage because of the disaster.

The Bottom Line: When it comes to your disaster recovery strategy, if you do nothing else you should ensure that your disaster recovery site is located in a safe zone. Otherwise, your disaster recovery strategy could very well end in disaster.

The Red Flags of Selecting a Colocation Provider

Colocation providers are eager to help you make the right choice in selecting a data center (hint – we all believe our data center is the right choice). Most colocation providers will supply you with a checklist to make sure you understand all of the features we think you should evaluate in order to make an informed decision. This is good stuff and actually quite useful!

In the end we are all trying to make sure your IT infrastructure will have a happy home in our data center. It’s like when your child leaves home for college; you want to make sure he/she will have everything needed to thrive – from a safe and secure roof over their head to a reasonable diet to roommates they can trust. We essentially want the same thing for your IT infrastructure while it is under our roof.

Let’s examine some potential red flags for selecting a colocation provider:

  • The Tour: Would you send your child to a college that you didn’t visit first? Putting your IT infrastructure in a data center without first seeing it is very similar. Red flag if your company is considering a data center that no one in your organization has visited.
  • 7x24x365: Make sure it really means 7x24x365. Some data centers require appointments in order for you to visit your IT infrastructure, especially if you want to do this after hours. By the way, most of your work is likely to be done after hours so this could be a major red flag. Data centers like this, known as “dark sites” typically have people on-call so when you need to work after hours they send someone in to unlock the doors and turn the lights on. Red flag if the facility doesn’t have on-site staff 7x24x365.
  • Network Services: Performance and availability are of paramount importance to your success so your colocation provider should offer a blended Internet service that provides access to a minimum of four carriers at once. Ideally you’ll want carrier-neutral access to your choice of network carriers in order to have the most flexibility possible. Red flag if your colocation provider is not carrier-neutral.
The Bottom Line: You’ll want to pay attention to the red flags listed above in vetting colocation providers to make sure your IT infrastructure is safe, secure, and provided with the nurturing needed to thrive. If you are betting your business on your IT infrastructure you should use a colocation provider that is as passionate about their business as you are about yours.

Why you need experience-based data center solutions

Let’s start by talking about why this is even a topic for discussion. It all comes down to the desire to have successful data center outsourcing initiatives – whether you are looking to completely outsource your data center operations or just pieces of them. Nobody goes into a project expecting failure yet there are plenty of stories about best efforts that went wrong, sometimes very wrong, like Texas Ousts IBM, Takes New IT Outsourcing Tack. To be fair, the majority of organizations looking to outsource all or part of their mission-critical infrastructure won’t have to deal with the scale and complexity of the state of Texas. Where, as we know, everything is bigger. However, I think you would agree that your IT infrastructure is no less important…to you!

Let’s get back to what we mean by “experience-based”. In a nutshell we are talking about the key to a successful data center services provider relationship. Yes, we mean relationship. If you aren’t looking for a relationship with your data center services provider you will probably be looking for a new provider – sooner or later.

There are two key elements to “experience-based” that differentiate data center outsourcing service providers; technical experience and customer experience. Technical experience means the long track record of been-there-and-done-that level of competence that ensures the provider knows what they are doing. You can spot this by understanding the tenure of the people working for the provider, the maturity of their processes (especially on-boarding), as well as certifications like SSAE 16. The second element, customer experience is the level of customer satisfaction that indicates the provider is someone you want to do business with. You can spot this through customer references that speak to their level of satisfaction with the providers’ customer service and support. You can’t have one without the other, they are both required and are what set the best-in-class service providers apart from the masses.

The Bottom Line: “Experience-based” as defined above is important to ensure the success of any relationship you might have with your data center provider. You can identify the best-of-breed with a few pointed questions like: How long have you been in business? How many customers like me have you implemented? What is your churn rate? How frequently does ownership of the company change? Be careful of organizations that have changed ownership every few years, the chances are high that they haven’t been able to retain the experience needed to support the infrastructure you are betting your business on.

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