They will have flash storage “architected into the system from the beginning”, directly in the server, Dell calling it tier zero. He talked of Dell’s Fluid Data Architecture extending across EqualLogic and Compellent, with tiering extended from HDD and flash in the array into the server, via technology from the RNA Networks acquisition.

He said these flash-based servers will run database queries sixty times faster, that’s right, 60X faster, than today.

He talked of data centre racks, single racks with 1,024 cores linked by 10GbitE to a Force 10 switch, and the switches talking 40GbitE to a core switch. The rack would contain 40TB of DRAM and 40TB of flash and run “more workloads per server than ever before”.

Hear from #Dell execs about IT innovation in this #DellWorld preview video- [Video] via @EnterpriseEff

We went from provisioning servers in days, to getting base virtual machines up and running in under 8 seconds. Want Service and Application images (for established products)? Add another 8 seconds or so. Want to roll it into production globally (changing global DNS/Load balancing/Security changes)? Lets call that another minute to roll out. We used Open Source products and added our own development glue into our own systems to make all this happen. I am incredibly proud of my Cloud teams here at AOL, because what they have been able to do in such a relatively short period of time is to roll out a world class cloud and service provisioning system that can be applied to new efforts and platforms or our older products. Better yet, the provisioning systems were built to be universal so that if required we can do the same thing with stand-alone physical boxes or virtual machines. No difference. Same system. This technology platform was recently recognized by the Uptime Institute at its last Symposium in California.


Another incredible aspect of this new data center facility and the technology deployed is our ability to Quick Launch Compute Capacity. The total time it took to go from idea inception (no data center) to delivering active capacity to our internal users was 90 days. In my mind this made even more incredible by the fact that this was the first time that all these work-streams came together including the unified operations deployment model and included all of the physical aspects of just getting iron to the floor. This time frame was made possible by a standardized / modular way to build out our compute capacity in logical segments based upon the the infrastructure cloud type being deployed (low tier, mid-tier, etc.). This approach has given us a predictability to speed of deployment and cost which in my opinion is unparalleled.


A quick word about different planes. In any system there are essentially three planes - the Data Plane, the Management Plane and the Control Plane. The Data Plane is where the traffic flows (whether it is a storage cloud or a transportation system). The Management Plane monitors and reports activities. The Control Plane is the set of knobs, the signals, the throttling, the metadata and configuration and so forth.


The current cloud architecture is scale-out, or add more non-redundant smaller machines to increase capacity. But this architecture does not relieve the architect of the responsibility of reliability and availability. What is happening is that the redundancy is moving from the data plane to the control plane and moving away from MTBF to MTTR. The responsibility to accommodate failures is the job of the designers and not the ops. In short, we know the components will fail, in fact fail in droves and so we expect the systems to be up and running in spite of the failures!

Apple iCloud may run on Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS

The Register first reported this story which has since been picked up by Apple Insider, VentureBeat, and Slashdot among others.

The net of things so far is that Apple’s iCloud service offering will be running on both Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS infrastructure when it launches this Fall.

Although neither Amazon or Microsoft are willing to comment, Apple Insider has suggested this will allow Apple “…to focus on it’s strength of building a consumer facing service rather than becoming a cloud provider.”

These articles are all good reading and it would be even more interesting to know how they fit in with the new mega data center Apple’s building in Maiden, NC.


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Intergate.Quincy is a 520,000 sf purpose-built data center campus under development in Quincy in North Central Washington. Ground breaking occurred in April, 2011 with completion of the core and shell of Building C expected in the Fall. The initial phase includes both Buildings A & C. Each will accommodate both multi-tenant and single tenant occupancies. Leasing is currently underway.

Building C offers a total of 139,000 sf of data center floor and support space divided into four modules. The flexible modular design delivers space and power as needed while maintaining a high degree of efficiency. Interiors will be designed to meet client specifications. Building A is approximately 189,000 sf and is under review for permit.

Intergate.Quincy is located in close proximity to several large enterprise data centers, including Microsoft, Intuit, Yahoo and Dell.

Systems management software and support is a huge market, but few, if any, legacy vendors have products and knowledge that easily translate into webscale environments. Facebook could stand to make a lot of money by consulting with customers on how to build their data centers and architect their applications, and then selling them the software tools to keep those apps up and running. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it did.