Data Foundry Blog

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.

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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.

Data Foundry Has Broken Ground!

The Data Foundry team is excited to share pictures and a complete video of the groundbreaking ceremony for our new 350,000 sq ft purpose-built Houston 2 Data Center.

On April 10th, Data Foundry staff and executives were joined by more than 100 esteemed guests for the two hour celebration. Upon arrival, guests were greeted by the Data Foundry team and an event space that showcased the capabilities of Houston 2. Distinguished speakers included Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Welcome Wilson Sr., Chairman of the GSL Welcome Group and Fred Welch, VP of Regional Development with the Greater Houston Partnership. The event concluded with a catered lunch by longtime Data Foundry client, Pappas Restaurants.

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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.

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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!

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Disaster Risks: Redrawing the Lines

Hurricane Sandy served as a stark reminder that we should always be prepared for the unexpected. Following this type of disaster, we are forced to reassess our understanding of how certain areas are affected by natural disasters. Red Cross, NOAA and NRC have developed a basic risk level for almost every part of the US. We commonly use the map below to illustrate how safe Austin, TX is for data center operations.

Austin Risk Assessment Map

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Understanding the Costs of Downtime

Texas 1 is designed to ensure continuous uptime and availability for your IT infrastructure. In our latest blog entry, we explore the costs of downtime.

A 2011 Ponemon Institute study, “Calculating the Cost of Data Center Outages”, analyzed costs at 41 data centers to try and identify the costs of downtime. Some of the more relevant facts include:

  • Average cost of data center downtime is $5,600 per minute.
  • The average reported incident length was 90 minutes, resulting in average cost per incident of approximately $505,500.
  • For a total data center outage, which had an average recovery time of 134 minutes, average costs were approximately $680,000.
  • For a partial data center outage, which averaged 59 minutes in length, average costs were approximately $258,000.

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The Importance of a Concrete-Encased, Underground Power Feed

Downed Power Lines

Downed Power Lines

According to the Edison Electric Institute, the top five causes of power outages in the United States are:

  1. Mother Nature – More than half of all power outages across the U.S. are caused by nature. High winds, lightning, ice and heavy rains can affect an aboveground power line directly or indirectly by causing trees or other debris to strike it. Overgrown vegetation can also short out aboveground equipment.
  2. Automobile Accidents – Over five percent of all power outages are caused by a vehicle striking an electrical pole or transformer.
  3. Wildlife – A smaller percentage of power outages is caused by animals coming in contact with the line or equipment, causing it to fail.
  4. Construction – Whether new construction or maintenance, cranes and dig-ins are another major threat to the power supply.
  5. Fire – Aboveground feeds are vulnerable to fire destroying equipment at any point along the line’s path.

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What Makes a Data Center “World-Class”?

When we started the process of designing Texas 1, we knew our customers expected a World-Class Data Center (WCDC). From the cooling, power and networking systems to the very ground on which Texas 1 sits, every detail was carefully considered when building this state-of-the-art facility. We consulted industry experts to ensure the highest quality product was produced….a World-Class Data Center.

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Power Outage at Candlestick Park

Just prior to the start of last night’s Monday Night Football game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, the country saw firsthand what happens when a utility transformer suddenly explodes. As the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers was set to start, a utility transformer supplying power to the stadium blew up causing a power outage and delayed the start of the game by 20 minutes.

What was witnessed last night is the reality of utility feeds. They fail. Sometimes spectacularly!

Had Candlestick Park been powered by a “True Dual Feed” like Data Foundry’s Texas 1 Data Center, last night’s game would have started without a hitch.

What is “True Dual Feed” power and is your data center configured in such a manner? Most data center operators will misuse the term “dual feed” when communicating the power configuration of their respective facilities. In reality, using the term “dual feed” does not always mean that the facility is receiving two independent power feeds from the utility company to the data center as it might imply. To help explain the typical power feed configurations, we have prepared a white paper that utilizes the following classification system;

  • Class 1 – Single Feed
  • Class 2 – Single Substation
  • Class 3 – Dual Substations
  • Class 4 – True Dual Feed

To find out if your data center is truly dual fed, learn The Truth about Dual Power Feeds by downloading a free copy of our white paper. Click here to download.

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