Infrastructure Secrets Behind Cloud Data Centers

This article is a guest post from MSI-ECS, distributor of APC products.

Unveiling infrastructure secrets behind the cloud

How power and cooling reliability issues can be avoided in cloud data centers?

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Thinking about the cloud? If so, be ready to recognize how cloud environments can impact data center power and cooling infrastructure. Virtualization is the technology engine behind cloud computing. Although virtualization is well understood from an IT equipment perspective, the effects of virtualization / cloud computing on the data center physical infrastructure are less understood. Some clear challenges exist that can impact systems uptime. The good news is that these challenges can be addressed by Schneider Electric™ solutions that are available today.

Challenge #1: Increased power densities

Areas of high density pose heat removal challenges. In cloud environments, virtualized servers are grouped in ways that can create “hot spots”. As a physical host is loaded up with more and more virtual machines, its CPU utilization increases, which means that more heat is produced. If the existing heat removal system is inadequate, downtime becomes a bigger threat. One solution is to spread the high density servers throughout the data center floor. However, increased floor space consumption, higher cabling costs, reduced electrical efficiency related to uncontained air paths, and the perception that half-filled racks waste rack space all could pose problems. The preferred solution is to move higher density equipment to a specific rack or row, separate from lower density equipment. This high density “pod” with dedicated heat removal (row-based cooling) and containment enables higher efficiency (shorter air paths), more predictability, and maximum density per rack. Pods and row based cooling solutions are available from Schneider Electric.

Challenge #2: Worse PUE

Virtualization can result in a significant decrease in server energy consumption. However if the power and cooling infrastructure is left in its pre-virtualization state, then power usage effectiveness (PUE) worsens. Since power is consumed by the power and cooling systems regardless of what the IT load is, when the IT load goes down (as it often does in the initial stages of virtualization), the power and cooling systems have, in effect, become oversized and less efficient. Scalable power and cooling solutions, available from Schneider Electric, can significantly reduce these inefficiencies by “rightsizing” to the new load.

Challenge #3: Increased risk of downtime

Loads within cloud data centers can vary in both time and location. Compared to a non-virtualized data center, a highly virtualized cloud-based data center will tend to experience larger load swings. Unless the cloud data center is incredibly well-planned and managed, load swings could be large enough to cause capacity-related reliability issues. This issue becomes too complex for a human to manage. Predictive management tools are a safe way to maintain an efficient, lean data center in a cloud environment. Tools such as the Schneider Electric StruxureWare™ for Data Centers suite work in real time with virtual machine managers to assure that power and cooling capacity can efficiently accommodate the dynamic loads.

Challenge #4: Unnecessary levels of redundancy

Cloud data centers are operated with a high level of IT fault-tolerance and this may reduce the need for power and cooling infrastructure redundancy. Matching of physical infrastructure redundancy to the fault-tolerant nature of a virtualized cloud environment is a form of rightsizing to further reduce energy consumption, capital costs, and fixed losses all while improving the data center PUE. Understanding the challenges that cloud computing can impose on data center physical infrastructure is an important first step in achieving the goal of a reliable, efficient and flexible data center.

For more information about high density pods, scalable power and cooling, and predictive management tools, go to www.apc.com. APC is distributed in the Philippines by MSI-ECS. For more product information, please contact marketing@msi-ecs.com.ph or +63-2688-3181.

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Buffalo CloudStation (CloudStor) Powered by PogoPlug

Buffalo CloudStor and CloudStation. What\’s the difference? Actually, they are the same. Buffalo CloudStation is also known as Buffalo CloudStor in some regions like North American.

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This is the first PogoPlug powered storage solution that I came across locally so if you always wish that you could buy a PogoPlug device, here\’s your chance now.

There are many reasons why you want to create a private cloud storage –filesharing, backup, remote access, mobility and more.

Please note that to take advantage of these products you need the internet and supporting softwares as it is based entirely on the PogoPlug service.

CloudStation (Single Bay) 1 TB and 2 TB SRP is PhP9,270 and PhP11, 160, respectively while CloudStation Pro Duo 2TB and 4TB is PhP19,380 and PhP23,250, respectively.

Check out the press release below for details.

Buffalo Takes Your Files to Cloud 9

Buffalo Technology has launched a storage solution specially designed for smartphones and tablets. The Buffalo CloudStation provides a place to securely store and share data for all Android phones / tablets, PC’s and iPhones / iPads, allowing you to access photos, videos, music, or documents anywhere in the world.

A plug and play device, CloudStation comes with everything one needs to get started with. Installation is an easy two-step process that invites users to plug the storage device into any Wi-Fi router then access Buffalo CloudStation’s website and click ‘activate’ to register the device.

It leverages the PogoPlug streaming service for photos — indeed professional photographers will be the first to appreciate the combo of storage and uploading service that Buffalo has brought. Buffalo CloudStation does not need any software for installation.

Buffalo CloudStation enables users to decide what, where and when to share data stored on the appliance. Similar to a hard drive that operates inside the computer, Buffalo CloudStation is accessible from the pc, Mac computers as well as browser from smartphone. And with Pogoplug apps for mobile devices (Apple / Android), users are only seconds away from their valued content.

The CloudStation comes with a 3 year limited warranty and available in two models: CloudStation (Single Bay) and CloudStation Pro Duo (Two Bay). CloudStation (Single Bay) 1 TB and 2 TB SRP is PhP9,270 and PhP11, 160, respectively while CloudStation Pro Duo 2TB and 4TB is PhP19,380 and PhP23,250, respectively. Buffalo is distributed in the Philippines by MSI-ECS. For product availability, pricing and technical infos, please email marketing@msi-ecs.com.ph or call (02) 688-3180 to 83.

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Dell PowerEdge R710 – Virtualization Powerhouse

Every time I come across Dell PowerEdge servers, I always remember this fleeting memories with Dell PowerEdge way back in 2005. It was a side project back then and we purchased a Dell PowerEdge server only to refund it later because the business partner backed out. If the business partner didn\’t back out it\’s possible that we are still running that same server until now.

All of that was done remotely but if you are interested to buy one here in the Philippines, you\’re in luck because Dell PowerEdge R710 is  now available locally.

Dell PowerEdge R710 has enhanced virtualization capabilities, improved energy efficiency and innovative system management tools. If you are familiar with the naming convention, you\’ll know immediately what R710 offers. R means that it is rack-mountable, 7 means it has 2 sockets, 1 for Generation 11, and 0 means it has Intel processor.

Instead of regurgitating the product specs, I will just link the product brochure here.

For some reason Dell makes this seemingly normal rack-mountable server look sexy and masculine. Just look at the picture!

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Here is the press-release from MSI-ECS, the local distributor of R710.

Dell Introduces a Virtualization Powerhouse

The Dell™ PowerEdge™ R710 rack server is designed to be the building block of today’s virtualized enterprise. Engineered in response to input from IT professionals, it is the next-generation 2U rack server created to address any virtualized business application efficiently. The R710 features the high-performing Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series, a large memory capacity and I/O (input/output) bandwidth, and streamlined deployment with hypervisors from VMware®, Citrix® and Microsoft®, which help build a foundation for virtualization.

Virtualized I/O-intensive applications require a large pool of resources that scale effectively. IT managers must balance performance while trying to maintain current power envelopes. The Dell end-to-end solutions help customers build an efficient enterprise.

Reduce operating costs and energy usage with Dell Active Power Controller and with Intel Intelligent Power Technology, which proactively put your server into lower power states when demand decreases. Control cost without sacrificing performance — with industry-standard, efficient enterprise solutions from Dell.

Dell™ PowerEdge™ R710 is distributed by MSI-ECS. For product information and availability, please contact Kat Cac at kcac@msi-ecs.com.ph or +63-2688-3906.

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Fastest Firewall in the World: FortiGate 5140B

World\’s Fastest Firewall

Yesterday, BreakingPoint declared FortiGate 5140B firewall as the fastest firewall in the world. The test is a simulation on real-world network traffic using BreakingPoint FireStorm CTM (Cyber Tomography Machines).

CTM is to networks as CT-scan is to humans. It is a creative marketing term for precisely detecting weaknesses and vulnerabilities in networks, network devices, and data centers. Just like in CT-scan, BreakingPoint FireStorm CTM pinpoints where the weakest link of the network is.

Five (5) BreakingPoint FireStorm CTM was able to push a total of 526 Gbps of real-world traffic from applications such as Facebook, Pandora radio and AOL Instant Messenger through the FortiGate-5140B firewall. The result is an astounding 559 Gbps of UDP traffic which is three times faster than any competitor\’s published results.

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In real world scenario that means FortiGate-5140B can inspect 10,000 downloaded iTunes songs every second. Beat that Juniper and Cisco.

Fortinet is so proud of Fortigate 5140B that the company created worldsfastestfirewall.com website to celebrate the achievement.

Read the press release from MSI-ECS, the Philippines distributor of Fortinet, and watch the quick peak of the test below:

BreakingPoint Names FortiGate 5001B with 5140B Fastest Firewall in the World!

Fortinet has again capitalized on its foundation of speed and security–performance and protection and has passed numerous tests to be declared “The Fastest Firewall in the World”!

In a recent 3rd party high performance throughput test, Fortinet successfully processed and protected 559 Gbps of real-world firewall traffic. With application control technology active, it performed at 526 Gbps -managing simultaneous web applications of Facebook, Farmville, AOL Instant Messaging, Pandora Radio, and other popular web traffic. It was also able to process in FortiGate 5140 with FortiGate the mid-high hundreds (to millions depending on test) of 5001B Blades at BreakingPoint connections per second!

In a secondary test, the Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) was tested with HTTP 64K real-world application traffic – and it surpassed 122 Gbps with over 219K connections per second. This means that in high demand environments where large volume of data, people, and devices need connectivity, Fortinet is the optimal solution. Financial services environments of processing trading data, e-commerce sites transacting in web sales and search requests, retail data centers certifying credit cards and other businesses where data security is paramount, can all rest assured they are empowering their business while also protecting their environment and customers.

Fortinet is very proud of this landmark achievement! The foundation of multi-threat security based on high performance, purpose built appliances transcends across all Fortinet products. So whether a customer is using a single appliance, managing a highly distributed environment or hosting a robust datacenter, they can be confident that Fortinet is delivering the highest quality security for their needs.

Fortinet is distributed in the Philippines by MSI-ECS. For more product information, please contact Marie Cristhabelle Chua of the Commercial Technology Division at bchua@msi-ecs.com.ph or +63-2688-3709/ +63-9209-651-332.

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Make JPEG Smaller Up to 5x Without Visible Quality Loss

JPEGmini

I just discovered this new start-up company called JPEGmini. You can make JPEG smaller up to 5x on average. JPEGmini\’s unique algorithm produces less bytes with the same perceivable image quality.

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JPEGmini is not is not a new file format. It just a photo optimization technology that reduces the file size of the photo using a unique recompression technology. It claims that at times it can produce JPEG files that are smaller than other  newer formats like JPEG2000, JPEG-XR or WebP.

Less Bytes, Same Quality?

Most users can\’t tell the difference between the original picture and the picture that was optimized with JPEGmini although some people with keen eyes have reported slight blurring of photo. So is the marketing for \”less bytes, same quality\” true? Partly. Your eyes can easily fool you with bigger pictures. If you zoom in really close you can still see slight difference with the picture quality but you really have to look hard to see it. For the average person, there is no visible quality loss.

When you are resizing pictures take note that JPEGmini achieves the highest file size reduction for photos created by digital cameras. If you already used a photo editing software like Photoshop to optimize those pictures you may get lower file size reduction because those images were already optimized.

Will you delete your original JPEG photos if you can reduce the JPEG file sizes? I don\’t think so. JPEG is a lossy format and as much as possible you need the finest image you can get if you want to preserve your pictures in its highest quality. As a photography enthusiast I store a backup of my photos in RAW. Some people may think it is too much but I think that is what most professionals do.

Alternative to JPEGmini

I am using smush.it in my blog for a long time already and it can optimize JPEG by removing unnecessary bytes from image files. It is a \”lossless\” tool, which means you can make JPEG smaller without changing their look or visual quality. I believe it\’s better because it can process not only JPG but also GIF and PNG image files.

 

 

 

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iTunes Pirated Music: Will It Benefit Labels and Publishers?

iTunes 10.5.1

Apple released a new version of  iTunes that enables you to  store songs ripped from music CDs into iCloud–Apple calls it iTunes Match.

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iTunes Match

With iTunes Match you can play your songs anytime, anywhere: on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and even PC! You only need iOS 5.0.1 on iPhone 3GS or later, iPod touch (3rd and up), iPad, iPad 2, Mac or PC with iTunes 10.5.1. Right now you are limited to sync 25,000 songs that are not bought from iTunes but there is no limit with songs purchased from iTunes. You\’re also limited to access songs up to 10 devices only but that should be more than generous. All these are included for only $24.99 a year.

What\’s good about iTunes Match is it\’s relatively cheap to get your music stored in the cloud. With iTunes Match, iTunes determines which songs in your collection are available in the iTunes Store and iTunes will simply match your songs in the library that are in the iTunes Store. There are 20 million songs in iTunes Store already so there is  a very big change it is already there. If the music is not available there, that\’s the only time iTunes has to upload any song.

So, if all your songs are available in iTunes Store, iTunes Match will not upload anything at all and will simply give you access to high quality songs.

iTunes Pirated Music

The problem with this system is that it doesn\’t matter where you got your music from. You can download songs from P2P file sharing  programs, ThePirateBay or RapidShare; your music will sync in iCloud just fine.

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You can argue that iTunes Match might give way to more iTunes pirated music but according to Fast Company, iTunes Match will help get people back in the habit of paying for music even if the label is not charging consumers for the music itself.

Apple will reportedly pay labels royalty-style installments every time one of their tracks gets moved through the iTunes Match system. And since it appears that Apple is not going to distinguish between authorized and unauthorized tunes, the music industry might finally earn some money on illegally downloaded tunes that were previously pure loss.

Indeed, if Apple is really paying royalties to any music synced in iCloud with iTunes Match, iTunes pirated music will benefit the labels and publishers because this is the first time they can get something out of pirated music.

If this sounds too good to be true, it is. Apple have done something that is almost equivalent to piracy amnesty.

While iTunes Match is only available in the US at this time it will play a big role in the music industry because it will make people pay for the music again. Apple should make it available worldwide because piracy is more prevalent outside USA. We will find out if the service becomes successful if Apple is able to convince more labels to strike a deal with them.

You can download iTunes 10.5.1 from Apple website and subscribe to iTunes Match service.

 

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Philippines Internet Speed Less Than Half The World Average

My wife teaches Korean kids every day and her students keep on telling her that the Philippines internet speed is painfully slow. Can we blame our internet service providers?

Before seeing the infographics below, I thought that the fastest internet speed is somewhere in Europe but I\’m wrong. The fastest is in Asia, led by South Korea with average speed of  17.62 Mbps (2,202 KBps). That is  faster than the download speed of Great Britain, Turkey, Spain and Australia combined!

The world average download speed is 4.64 Mbps (580 KBps).  How does the Philippines download speed stack against the world?

You can\’t find it in the infographics but according to this related report, the average download speed in the Philippines is only 1.70 Mbps (213 KBps).  To make you not feel bad, it is just a bit slower than China which has average download speed of 1.9 Mbps (245 KBps).

The study didn\’t show the speed of our neighboring countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand but in my experience, I\’m almost sure they have faster internet speed.

According to Pando networks, the fastest city is Seocho, South Korea with average speed of 33.50 Mbps (4,187 KBps) while the slowest city is Palembang, Indonesia with speed of just 0.58 Mbps (73 KBps).

More than the average internet speed, I believe that it is also important to check for the quality of the service and the availability of the service. While the Philippines is not in the top 10 fastest internet speed, the increasing demand of internet will continue to push ISPs to build better infrastructure to support continuous growth.
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via Mashable

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