Lawyer Bait

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Did the Cloud Rain on SiCortex?

SiCortex, a six-year-old startup building energy-efficient supercomputers in Maynard, MA, has shut its doors. The company ran out of working capital and was unable to raise more from its venture investors, according to a report that surfaced yesterday in HPC Wire, a trade publication in the high-performance computing industry.

Xconomy obtained confirmation of the shutdown news from John Mucci, the founding CEO of SiCortex, who was replaced 10 months ago by current CEO Christopher Stone. Stone himself was not immediately available for comment.

“It is a sad day for all… less competition, unemployed seventy some workers…” Mucci said in an e-mail.

SiCortex had raised $42 million in venture capital, including a $21 million Series A round in 2004 contributed by lead investor Polaris Venture Partners and syndicate members Flagship Ventures, JK&B Capital, and Prism Venture Partners. All of those investors returned for the company’s $21 million Series B round in 2006, with the addition of new lead investor Chevron Technology Ventures. Bob Metcalfe, a Polaris partner frequently quoted about SiCortex in the past, said this morning he had no comment about the shutdown.

According to the HPC Wire report, which was based on information from an anonymous source close to the company, most of the company’s employees have been let go, and a sale of the company’s assets is underway.

It's about the power...

This article today finally backed up what I have been blogging about which is that Blades (heavily used in Virtualization deployments) are power hogs. So while you just freed up 5,000 sq feet in your data center, you doubled your draw and D'oh! you ran out of power and can't cool the shiny new virtualized environment.

The closing quote in the article:

If new blade servers crash because the data center overheats, that's not very efficient, is it?

Is the least of my worries. How to Justfy a 7 or 8 figure purchase that you can't light up and run key apps on is a bigger problem, no matter how efficient it makes IT.

Glad to see someone else paying attention to this...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dell's Fortuna - A web hosters dream?

I met with Drew last week and he had alluded to this being available soon. This could be a great way for the managed services providers to maximize revenue per square foot.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The New Twitter

Are you Green? Are you REC-less?

I have been looking into renewable energy sources for data centers a lot lately. Why? Because it is responsible, necessary and a way to stimulate the changes that must occur in the nation's electricity grid that is up to 100 years old in places.

The whole Virtualization movement got me thinking about this a couple of years ago, because I noticed that when my customers deployed blades and other high density solutions to support virtualization a funny thing happened - electricity draw to the cabinets almost doubled.

So the footprint shrinks but the electricity (and cooling) goes up dramatically. So I asked the next question which was - if I double my energy draw and that energy is not green (wind, biomass, nuclear, etc.) how am I reducing carbon? Hmmmm. Maybe I'm not. Oh but wait, my utility lets be purchase RECs - Renewable Energy Certificates so I am all set.

Next question - aren't REC's like putting a 'save the earth' sticker on a Hummer? It's feel good green - not measureable green.

So What is the answer? How do you get truly green? How do you move beyond the 'we print on both sides of the paper' and 'we turn off the lights at the diesel refinery' feel good green into actual, 'I am doing something that is not only measurable but so green it's almost black' when looking at our IT infrastructure?

Stay tuned for more. There is a way, using 'off the shelf ' technology and sources of power to do this. And it will save you roughly $6,000/year per cabinet/rack on electricity alone, let alone what the carbon reduction is. Can you say FAT bonus?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Data Center Inventory - storm on the horizon?

I have had several discussions the past 7 days about data center real estateand I am beginning to wonder if a storm is brewing just over the horizon.

A lot of new construction projects got mothballed or slowed this year because the money we gave to the banks apparently had to go to bonuses first instead of funding data center builds to house the infrastructure they will need when people start making and depositing money again, and they have to start processing checks to pay back the US Taxpayer. I digress...

In my daily Tier 1 email I have noticed a lot of small data center announcements - 1,500 sq.feet here, 2,000 there and I say 'OK, that's some but what about the 5 MW or 30MW sites?' I haven't seen one of those announcements in some time.

What gets me is that there are now 12 megapixel cameras on the market and my guess is by Christmas they'll be a 30 megapixel camera for those of us who want to see past the red eye down to the retinal pattern in the back of the subject's eye. There is also the legislation working its way through the US Government about being more green and ultimately more digitally centric. So what?

That means there is more data being produced. Bigger files that will be moved, copied, stored in multiple locations, shared, viewed, and even printed (great news for loggers). The production of data never rests so the need to store it, manage it, secure it, back it up, share it and consume it grows every second of every day. All of the capacity planning we did 18 months ago evaporates - sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.

Long story short - I believe there is an impending shortage of data center inventory out there.

Available data center inventory - the multi megawatt kind. Not the kind in Ashburn VA where Digital Realty Trust is digging up ground to expand and will need the utility company to run conduit to the facility before it is lit, not the kind in Boston where CRG West has 100K square feet and a dozen megawatts of space and power but it's I beams and concrete today an it'll be January before it is finished off. Not the kind of data center space like Dupont Fabros has but their financials are suspect if not downright shaky right down to their flywheels making it hard to attract the customers who worry about financial condition.

Shop smart and buy now - get a sublet clause in the lease as well. This has great opportunity for those of us who get it...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Interesting app for those of us looking to go green...

I just spoke to a friend of mine and we were catching up on life. The conversation turned to what are you doing to be more green (I am a far cry from a tree hugger) and have I see a cool application at I don't think solar has the potential for data centers yet, but for all the computing horsepower at the house, maybe.

Having spent just 5 minutes on the site and looking at my house and what the solar potential was, he got my attention. Take a look or check out the widget on the bottom virtualizationstuff. It may get you through your next conference call...