New Opportunities in the Government Sector: Part 1

Across the world there are new opportunities for data center and IT consulting companies to capitalize on the consolidation projects being launched in the Government sector.  Like commercial enterprises, governments focusing on governance (no pun intended) of IT see the benefits of consolidation of the data processing footprint.  Also like commercial enterprises, governments have business silos (perhaps even more so than commercial enterprises), with duplication of functions and roles, overlapping systems and technology, as well as lots and lots of waste.  Consolidation portends cost savings through elimination of non-beneficial redundancies, and better application of good governance processes to the holistic IT environment.

In the government sector, these projects are big.  Really big.  In a series of posts, we’ll cover several countries around the globe in which the government is planning large scale data center consolidations.

Part 1:  United States of America

In the United States (my home country), the federal government has embarked upon a six-month planning cycle to address data center sprawl.  Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, instructed federal agency CIO’s to embark on a broad consolidation initiative to bring control to the government’s data center sprawl (now counting over 1,000 data centers).  Goals of the initiative include:

New Tier Models, and The Uptime Institute Tier Ratings for Data Centers

Uptime Institute Tier III Data Center SchematicBob Landstrom, CGEIT, CISSP, CDCDP

The Tier Model for Mission Critical Facilities, created and governed by The Uptime Institute (TUI), is the most pervasively referenced data center tier model.  It is not the only multi-level model describing the quality of data center facilities, but it by far enjoys the majority of mindshare in this regard.

The four-tier model from The Uptime Institute was developed through thoughtful analysis and extensive empirical data from facilities of member organizations.  Quality control over interpretation and accreditation of tier ratings to facilities is closely guarded by TUI.  Awarding a tier level to a facility can only be done through designated professional services suppliers sanctioned by TUI.  Self proclaimed use of a tier rating by any company without TUI involvement exposes the firm to legal action by TUI.  Even so, misuse and misappropriation by enterprises world-wide is prolific.

Cloud Cloudiness

Confusion Persists

Through several posts on this blog, we discussed the many aspects of confusion around the term, “Cloud Computing.”¬† After attending this year’s Cloud Expo in New York City and seeing the same three-layer stack (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) slide in fifty half of the presentations, I have to conclude that confusion still exists in the minds of the IT community trying to come to terms with the ongoing commotion over “Cloud.”¬† In this writer’s humble opinion, there is very little new food for thought that’s emerged from the Cloud conversation over the past year.*¬† ¬†The proliferation of genuine commercially available cloud services, and the proliferation of conferences and articles on cloud computing seemingly have not improved the understanding of those who are confused about what is and what isn’t cloud computing.¬† ¬†In this article, we will touch upon those old misunderstandings and some of the new ones.

Data Privacy in the Cloud

We’ve just wrapped up day-one of this year’s Cloud Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.¬† You know, it’s been nearly a year since I attended Cloud World in San Francisco, and over that period of time it surprises me how little new anyone is saying about cloud computing.¬† It borders on raining sophistry here at the cloud show, and definitions (and redefinitions) of IaaS, Paas, and SaaS are still being drilled into attendee’s heads.¬† Maybe the abundance of attendance is to be attributed to the possibility that the IT community is still sorting out architectural rationalization of cloud computing, but in my humble opinion it’s high time to move on to meatier food for thought.

It is notable to observe the number of businesses emerging to capitalize on the nuts and bolts issues that arise when an enterprise takes those first steps into a formal cloud computing scenario.¬† In that regard, one of the few “wow, now that’s cool” moments for me in the conference so far was an introduction to a company called Perspecsys.

Solar Power Incentives from US Government

We’ve talked about wind power for data centers and mission critical facilities, and often the subject of solar power comes up in those same conversations.¬† Dedicated commercial solar installations generating more than a megawatt are rare, and as such have very limited contribution as an energy alternative for data centers.¬† There is growing interest though, in the implementation of solar generating capacity for a slightly different reason.

Top Issues and Trends in the Financial Services Vertical

TelX hosted a financial services roundtable event at their Financial Business Exchange (FBX) data center in Clifton, New Jersey. The panel of industry experts (and TelX customers) was moderated by the TABB Group’s Kevin McPartland, and introduced by TelX CEO Eric Shepcaro.

Mr. Shepcaro introduced the event by giving his own personal background about why we find ourselves hosting and attending an event like this. In other words, what is it that has created this focus on the financial services vertical by so many data center providers with property in locations such as New York City, Chicago, Toronto, and London? One issue clearly is the drive toward automation (of trading and other financial transactions). Electronic automation that is commonplace today was not thought of as recently as ten years ago, even as consumer-focused online trading services were emerging. Changes in technology are also driving this interest. Technology changes at the network level, server level, and even at the silicon level are impacting what is happening within this vertical and within the data center itself. Changes from the regulatory perspective are also in play, and of course the rebounding of the global economy is fueling momentum in the financial services vertical.

What?…A Verizon Wireless iPhone?

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will be releasing a CDMA version of the iPhone, opening the door for service by Verizon Wireless.

Many in the industry view Verizon Wireless as having the best network of the leading carriers, but AT&T’s lock on the iPhone has been a real ace in the hole.¬† If Verizon is able to sell the iPhone along with AT&T, this parity in device availability may tilt users in favor of Verizon because of the popular sentiment about network superiority.¬† Indeed this morning’s Market Watch shows Verizon Wireless’ share price increasing on this news.

Availability of the iPhone through Verizon Wireless is reported to be sometime this Summer.

Top 5 Data Center Issues for the Enterprise IT Executive

A quick perusal of a typical contemporary IT project portfolio will show a strong representation of projects dependent upon, or directly related to the data center.  Changes in the growth and scale of data processing, applications, content storage, data communications, risk, compliance, and maturity of IT governance are all in some way connected to the data center facility and operational framework supporting the IT environment.

We collected data from the field and from discussions with enterprise leaders, to examine the breadth of issues involving the data center that are causing the IT executive to lose sleep.   While there were a multitude of issues revealed, and articulated from several perspectives, we consolidated the information into five categories and share those with you here.

Green Data Centers: Some things are easier than others

When recently interviewed for a magazine article, I was asked about Green initiatives by data center operators.  There are lots of innovative techniques for reducing power consumption in data centers, and lots of ways to apply renewable resources.  The fact of the matter is that for the data center operator, some of the options are compelling, some are possible but not very compelling, and others are compelling but not reasonably possible.