Category Archives: data centre

Intel digs deep into wallet to buy its way into AI game

AI-Artificial-Intelligence-Machine-Learning-Cognitive-ComputingVirtual reality may well have been capturing the imagination of the industry in recent months, but Intel’s $400 million of AI start-up Nervana highlights it’s not all fun and games, reports Telecoms.com.

Having set its position as a leader in the data centre market and then largely missed out on the smartphone revolution, it would appear Intel is determined not to miss out on the burgeoning IoT segment, with the Nervana purchase added more firepower to the company’s efforts. The acquisition also highlights the importance of artificial intelligence to the development of the technology industry.

“Intel is a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices,” said Diane Bryant, GM of the Data Center Group at Intel. “Thanks to the pervasive reach of cloud computing, the ever decreasing cost of compute enabled by Moore’s Law, and the increasing availability of connectivity, these connected devices are generating millions of terabytes of data every single day. The ability to analyse and derive value from that data is one of the most exciting opportunities for us all. Central to that opportunity is artificial intelligence.”

The IoT revolution is coming whether we like it or not, and with it will come such vast amounts of data. Due to the volume, it will beyond comprehension for humans to develop insight from the information. Current data analytics tools and processes could be described (at best) as adequate, though this is before the surge in connected devices. Statista estimates the number of connected devices will grow from 18.2 billion in 2015, through to 50.2 billion in 2020. The devices themselves will also improve, increasing the amount of information which can be collected individually, which will lead to a tidal wave of data to be analysed.

If it is assumed to be immensely difficult or more likely impossible to analyse this data and turn it into actionable insight, what is the point in collecting it in the first place. This is the justification of artificial intelligence. Using such technologies to undertake more rudimentary decision making capabilities brought about through data analysis, or presenting insight to the more complex decisions to business leaders, is where the value of artificial intelligence will be felt. If cloud computing enables the IoT revolution, artificial intelligence will make sure it’s not a waste of time or money.

For a notable proportion of the population, AI is likened to Terminator or other such doomsday stories. But as Bryant notes below, the applications of AI will stretch throughout the life of a consumer, but perhaps more importantly, the business, manufacturing and services world.

“While artificial intelligence is often equated with great science fiction, it isn’t relegated to novels and movies,” said Bryant. “AI is all around us, from the commonplace (talk-to-text, photo tagging, and fraud detection) to the cutting edge (precision medicine, injury prediction, autonomous cars). Encompassing compute methods like advanced data analytics, computer vision, natural language processing and machine learning, artificial intelligence is transforming the way businesses operate and how people engage with the world.”

The acquisition does answer a question raised by Telecoms.com a couple of weeks ago. During early July, Intel announced a new initiative with BMW and Mobileye to drive forward the development of autonomous vehicles. The initiative showed potential, though should BMW are to supply the cars, Intel the chips and Mobileye the detection capabilities, have the body, the muscles and the eyes, but not the brain/AI to bring it all together. This Nervana acquisition in theory completes the circle and provides the intelligence aspect of the car.

Artificial intelligence has the potential to shape the technology industry moving forward, and it would appear this is a view which is shared by the major players. Google has acquired nine AI firms, including Deepmind for $625 million, Twitter has four major acquisitions, most recently Magic Pony for $150 million, Salesforce has acquired two AI start-ups already this year and Apple reported bought Turi for $200 million. The money being spent to gain the upper hand in this sub-sector is beginning to rival the early days of cloud computing.

Intel grows despite the PC continuing its slow decline

IntelIntel has reported 3% growth, including a 5% boost in its data centre business, though the client computing unit continues its slow decline, reports Telecoms.com.

The company’s efforts to redefine itself are seemingly beginning to pay dividends as a 3% year-on-year decline to $7.3 billion in the client computing business unit was offset by healthy performances elsewhere in the organization. The data centre unit brought in $4 billion in revenues, up 5%, whereas IoT accounted for $572 million, an increase in 2%, and the security portfolio grew 10% to $554 million for the quarter. The Programmable Solutions group also saw a 30% boost to $465 million. Overall quarterly earnings grew 3% to $13.5 billion.

“Our top line results for the quarter came in right in line with outlook, and profitability this quarter exceeded our expectations,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO. “Year-over-year growth this quarter was 3% overall, as we transform Intel into a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart connected devices. We continue to focus on growth in line with this transformation, as evidenced by results in the data centre, IoT, and Programmable Solutions business this quarter.”

Looking forward, the team is forecasting Q3 will bring in revenues of roughly $14.9 billion, which would represent 3% year-on-year growth. Client computing is expected to continue its decline in the high single digits, while double-digit growth is anticipated in the data centre business, funded by cloud players in the second half of the year. CFO Stacy Smith believes growth in the IoT, data centre and memory businesses will counteract any negative impact of client computing.

While the data centre business continues to demonstrate growth for Intel, overnight trading saw share price decline by 3% following the earnings announcement. Investors were anticipating higher growth levels for the data centre group, as Intel forecasted double digit growth previously.

Intel’s efforts to redefine the focus and perception of the business has been ongoing for some time, as the personal computing market segment, Intel’s traditional cash cow, has continued to erode. Back in April, Krzanich outlined the company’s future focus on the company blog, which is split into five sections; cloud technology, IoT, memory and programmable solutions, 5G and developing new technologies under the concept of Moore’s law.

“Our strategy itself is about transforming Intel from a PC company to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices,” said Krzanich in the blog entry. “But what does that future look like? I want to outline how I see the future unfolding and how Intel will continue to lead and win as we power the next generation of technologies.

“There is a clear virtuous cycle here – the cloud and data centre, the Internet of Things, memory and FPGA’s are all bound together by connectivity and enhanced by the economics of Moore’s Law. This virtuous cycle fuels our business, and we are aligning every segment of our business to it.”

While the IoT business only grew 2% year-on-year, it would be worth noting this is off the back of a healthy Q1 which saw the unit grow 22%. Krzanich linked the Q2 performance, which was below the teams expectations, to an inventory burn following a strong performance in the first quarter. The team now anticipate double-digit growth through the remainder of 2016.

This was also the second consecutive quarter in which the security portfolio was listed as a separate business unit, previously being incorporated into the software and services unit. The group itself has demonstrated healthy growth over the course of 2016, but has been the topic of speculation surrounding a sale.

Only last month the team were rumoured to be considering a sale of its security business, which was created following the $7.6 billion acquisition of antivirus specialists McAfee in 2010. Although security is one of the larger sections of the Intel business, it was not specifically mentioned as a focus point for the future business strategy during Krzanich’s blog entry in April. While the prospective sale has not been confirmed by the Intel team, separating the unit in the financials could indicate it is attempting to provide a greater level of transparency for potential buyers.

Equinix makes $874m data centre deal to keep EC happy

Equinix has announced the sale of eight data centres across Europe to Digital Realty Trust for approximately $874 million, reports Telecoms.com.

The deal forms part of a trade-off with competition authorities, as part of the agreement to acquire Telecity which was completed in January. For the acquisition to be accepted by the European Commission, eight data centres had to be relinquished by Equinix, which have now been confirmed as:

Recently acquired Telecity assets:

  • Bonnington House (London)
  • Sovereign House (London)
  • Meridian Gate (London)
  • Oliver’s Yard (London)
  • Science Park (Amsterdam)
  • Amstel Business Park I (Amsterdam)
  • Lyonerstrasse (Frankfurt)

Existing Equinix assets:

  • West Drayton data centre in London

The $3.8 billion acquisition of Telecity added 34 data centres to the Equinix portfolio, and more than doubled the company’s footprint in Europe. Equinix claims it is now the largest retail colocation provider in Europe and globally. Through the deal, Equinix opened up new markets in Dublin, Helsinki, Istanbul, Manchester, Sofia, Stockholm, and Warsaw, now totalling 145 IBX data centre facilities in 40 markets worldwide.

“Equinix’s acquisition of TelecityGroup added critical network and cloud density to better serve our global customers,” said Steve Smith, CEO at Equinix. “Completing this last milestone in the acquisition process paves the way for us to focus fully on helping our enterprise customers leverage our highly interconnected, global data centers for accelerated business performance and innovation.

“Additionally, the purchase of the Paris facilities is an important step in managing our real estate portfolio and ensuring we have the ability to add more capacity in this key market in the future.”

Google’s trans-Pacific submarine cable enters into service today

GoogleA consortium of tech giants including Google and NEC has completed the construction and end-to-end testing of a new trans-Pacific submarine cable system, reports Telecoms.com.

The 9,000km FASTER Cable System enters into service today (30 June), and is claimed to be the first cable system designed from the outset to support digital coherent transmission technology, using optimized fibers throughout the submarine portion. The cable system lands in Oregon in the United States and two landing points in Japan, Chiba and Mie. The team claim the cable will be able to deliver 60 Terabits per second (Tbps) of bandwidth across the Pacific.

“From the very beginning of the project, we repeatedly said to each other, ‘faster, Faster and FASTER,’ and at one point it became the project name, and today it becomes a reality,” said Hiromitsu Todokoro, Chairman of the FASTER Management Committee. “This is the outcome of six members’ collaborative contribution and expertise together with NEC’s support.”

The consortium includes China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, Google, KDDI and Singtel, of which Google has been one of the most vocal. On the official blog, Google said the new cable will help the team launch a new Google Cloud Platform East Asia region in Tokyo.

The new data centre in Tokyo is part of Google’s ambitions to dominate cloud computing and other enterprise service offerings. While it is generally considered to be ranked third in the public cloud stakes, with AWS and Microsoft Azure out ahead, it has been making strides in recent months. Alongside the Tokyo data centre launch, another was opened in Oregon, and there are plans for a further ten over the course of 2017.

Google has been investing in submarine cables since 2008, initially with the 7.68Tb trans-Pacific Unity cable, which came online in 2010. The completion of the project now takes the number of Google-owned undersea cables up to four, though there are likely to be more added in the coming years.

“Today, Google’s latest investment in long-haul undersea fibre optic cabling comes online: the FASTER Cable System gives Google access to up to 10Tbps (Terabits per second) of the cable’s total 60Tbps bandwidth between the US and Japan,” said Alan Chin-Lun Cheung, a Google Submarine Networking Infrastructure.

“We’ll use this capacity to support our users, including Google Apps and Cloud Platform customers. This is the highest-capacity undersea cable ever built — about ten million times faster than your average cable modem — and we’re beaming light through it starting today.”

AWS expands footprint in India with new data centre

Location India. Red pin on the map.AWS has expanded its reach in the Asia Pacific region, opening two new Availability Zones in Mumbai, taking the total globally to 35.

The company already has 75,000 customers in the country, which is one of the fastest growing economies worldwide. According to the CIA World Factbook, India is listed as the 12th fastest growing nation with a 7.3% real GDP growth rate, as well as a population growth rate of 1.22% per annum. The new region will support numerous services including Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), as well Elastic Block Store (EBS), Virtual Private Cloud, Auto Scaling, and Elastic Load Balancing.

“Indian start-ups and enterprises have been using AWS for many years – with most Indian technology start-ups building their entire businesses on AWS, and numerous enterprises running mission-critical, core applications on AWS,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS. “These same 75,000 Indian customers, along with others anxious to start using AWS, have asked for an AWS India Region so they can move their applications that require low latency and data sovereignty.

“We’re excited to make this available today, with the same pay-as-you-go pricing, ability to get started immediately without having to negotiate enterprise agreements or wait days for access, and unmatched functionality that customers enjoy in AWS Regions worldwide – all of which allows customers to go from idea to launch faster than ever before was possible.”

Although India is one of the company’s fastest growing markets worldwide, AWS have been slower to market than its competitors. Last year, Microsoft has brought online three cloud data centres in India for its Azure offering, and IBM opened its first data centre in Chennai for Softlayer. Google is yet to gain traction in the market.

Making the announcement through the official blog, the team also announced numerous local partners ranging from Managed Service Providers such as Spruha Technologies and Consulting Partners including HCL, Tata Consulting Services, and Wipro.

Iliad undercuts Microsoft, Google and AWS in cloud storage wars

Online.netFrench telco Iliad has challenged the cloud storage market through its Online.net subsidiary, undercutting the standing players in the market, reports Telecoms.com.

The new product offering, C14, was launched under the radar as the team has not made a public announcement to date, but simply added a new page onto its website. C14 targets the long-term storage market, aiming to engage customers who do not need immediate access to data and will be aiming to use the service for years, if not decades.

“C14 is designed to store huge volume of data for long term, like digital archiving, digital long term preservation, logs storage, pictures, videos, backups, disaster recovery plan… Why not backup all your Hadoop cluster for a few euros?” the company states on the website.

“Your important data are encrypted AES-256 and replicated many times then stored in our 25 meters deep underground fallout shelter, located in Paris, with no known natural, technological and military risks. We offer a very high software and physical security and comes with 8 compliance certifications and can be used for medical, military and bank data and fit all requirements of disaster recovery plan needs.”

While the storage market is a congested arena for the moment, the Online.net team have seemingly pinned hope of success on price as opposed to a unique selling point. The team claim C14 offers the lowest TCO on the market, undercutting the likes of AWS’ Glacier offering, OVH PCA Object Storage and also GoogleCloud Nearline. Only the Blackblaze enterprise offering is cheaper than C14, assuming all the figures are accurate.

Singapore tests out its green finger on data centres

Location Singapore. Green pin on the map.Singapore has continued its drive towards becoming the worlds’ smartest nation by announcing trials for a Tropical Data Centre (TDC), which could potentially reduce energy consumption in data centres by up to 40%.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the government body responsible for the development and growth of the infocomm sector, will conduct the PoC with the aim of creating a data centre which can operate in up to 38 degrees Celsius, and humidity levels of up to 90%. Data centres are generally cooled to temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius, and operate efficiently in humidity of between 50-60%. The PoC will be conducted with simulated data, creating various different ‘live’ conditions such as peak surges or transferring of data.

The trial is part of the IDA’s Green Data Centre Programme which was launched in 2014 and aims to create a more energy efficient data centre, as well as guidelines for more sustainable computing, through the implementation of emerging technologies. Partners of the programme include Dell, ERS, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Intel, Keppel Data Centres, The Green Grid, and Nanyang Technological University.

“With Singapore’s continued growth as a premium hub for data centres, we want to develop new technologies and standards that allow us to operate advanced data centres in the most energy efficient way in a tropical climate,” said Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive of the IDA. “New ideas and approaches, such as raising either the ambient temperature or humidity, will be tested to see if these can greatly increase our energy efficiency, with insignificant impact on the critical data centre operations.

“To create new value in our Smart Nation journey, we need to embrace an attitude of experimentation, to be willing to develop new ideas together, and test the feasibility of progressive and positive technological advancements that has a good possibility to enhance our industry’s competitiveness.”

The IDA has run a number of initiatives over recent years in its quest for Singapore to be named as the world’s first ‘Smart Nation’. The country already received an impressive number of accolades including world’s fastest broadband nation by Ookla and the top and fastest-changing digital economy, according to Tufts University. Singapore is currently being impacted by a number of global trends including population growth, emissions and mobility, which are driving the efforts towards a smart nation.

Singapore is one of the most densely populated nations in the world, with nearly 8,000 people per square kilometre, with these number expected to rise. This is having a substantial impact on the emission levels, traffic, mobility, employment and energy demands on the city state. Singapore’s response has been to create a nation state which is driven by big data and analytics technologies, and next-generation connected and sensor networks. The new initiatives have seemingly had a positive impact on innovation within the city as the number of start-ups has increased from 24,000 in 2005, to 55,000 in 2014.

Netsuite localizes services in Asian markets

The globe close up, Asia pastNetsuite has continued efforts to localize services worldwide, announcing a number of new partnerships at CXO Summit in Singapore, as well as new product launches.

The company launched NetSuite OneWorld for companies based in Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as multinationals specifically doing business across Asia. The NetSuite OneWorld solution provides companies with multi-subsidiary management and global financial capabilities to run business operations in the region in a two tier model. Netsuite suite can be implemented in the cloud at subsidiary level, while maintaining legacy, on-premise systems at the company’s headquarters. The offering is also localised to meet the business, regulatory and tax compliance needs of regional businesses.

“Our long history in Southeast Asia and the dynamic business environment that has emerged in recent years, make expansion in the region a strategic imperative in NetSuite’s next phase of international growth,” said NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson. “Our announcements today demonstrate the success we’ve seen already and our deep level of commitment moving forward.”

Having launched its presence in Singapore in 2005, the company has made healthy gains in recent years, boasting a client list of 212 enterprises and subsidiaries in the city state alone. The new partnerships and product offerings appear to demonstrate Netsuite’s intentions in the region. Netsuite recently reported healthy growth over the course of the last 12 months, Q1 revenues were reported at $216.6 million, up 31% year-over-year, and since that point, Nelson has seemingly indicated the Asia market as a priority.

According to the South China Morning Post, Netsuite will be aiming to establish a number of data centres in the region, with Hong Kong and Singapore noted as possible locations. Netsuite’s tendency in entering new regions has been to open up multiple locations as a fail-safe, which could be seen during the company’s expansion in Europe last year. The company opened data centres in Dublin and Amsterdam within a short period of time during the expansion efforts.

While Hong Kong and Singapore represent healthy opportunities for the company to drive revenues, Netsuite has outlined China as a long-term target, with a Hong Kong platform offering a solid gateway due to its trade and political ties. “Businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore are already reaping the rewards of open trade and global expansion,” said Zakir Ahmed, GM of NetSuite Asia. “NetSuite OneWorld is giving these businesses the flexibility and agility to fully capitalise on the current cycle of growth.”

In terms of local partnerships, the announcement detailed new collaborations with 3PL Total Technology, a cloud warehouse management solutions company,, CuriousRubik, a previous Netsuite partner, and Doji Media, a company which helps local customers expand their remit to international markets.

Salesforce to run some core services on AWS

Salesforce 1Salesforce has announced it will run some of its core services on AWS in various international markets, as well as continuing investments into its own data centres.

The announcement comes two weeks after the company experiences a database failure on the NA14 instance, which caused a service outage which lasted for 12 hours for a number of customers in North America.

“With today’s announcement, Salesforce will use AWS to help bring new infrastructure online more quickly and efficiently. The company will also continue to invest in its own data centres,” said Parker Harris, on the company’s blog. “Customers can expect that Salesforce will continue to deliver the same secure, trusted, reliable and available cloud computing services to customers, regardless of the underlying infrastructure.”

While Salesforce would not have appeared to have suffered any serious negative impact from the outage in recent weeks, the move could be seen as a means to rebuild trust in its robustness, leaning on AWS’ brand credibility to provide assurances. The move would also give the Salesforce team options should another outage occur within its own data centres. The geographies this announcement will apply to have not been announced at the time of writing.

Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, App Cloud, Community Cloud and Analytics Cloud (amongst others) will now be available on AWS, though the move does not mean Salesforce is moving away from their own data centres. Investment will continue as this appears to be a failsafe for the business. In fact, Heroku, Marketing Cloud Social Studio, SalesforceIQ and IoT cloud already run on AWS.

“We are excited to expand our strategic relationship with Amazon as our preferred public cloud infrastructure provider,” said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. “There is no public cloud infrastructure provider that is more sophisticated or has more robust enterprise capabilities for supporting the needs of our growing global customer base.”

Dropbox opens Hamburg office to reduce US/EU data concerns

Dropbox GermanyDropbox has announced the opening of its latest European office, branching into the German market ahead of plans to open a new data centre in Europe latter in the year.

The company has answered concerns from European customers regarding the transmission of data across the Atlantic by committing to hosting their data within the EU; a region which the company claims is generating the majority of recent growth. This commitment has also been backed up with the company opening new offices in Dublin, London, Paris and Amsterdam, in addition to Hamburg.

Data residency has been an issue for European customers for a number of months since the Court of Justice of the European Union declared Safe Harbour void last October. Since then, there have been a number of efforts to sooth the relationship between the US and the EU, though the issue still remains contentious and newer drafts Safe Harbour have been criticized by various European quarters.

As Europe represents a healthy growth region for the Dropbox, it would appear the team are not prepared to wait for the EU/US data storm to blow over. Opening a new data centre in Germany has the potential for Dropbox to avoid the repercussions of the long-standing dispute.

“From manufacturing to professional services to healthcare, industries in Europe and around the world are discovering the benefits of increased collaboration on Dropbox,” said Thomas Hansen, Global VP of Revenue at Dropbox. “And the opening of our Hamburg office is just a part of our European commitment.

“From co-working spaces to corporations, people bring Dropbox to work, and adoption in Germany has been phenomenal. The top three cities in terms of Dropbox signups are also the largest: Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. But Karlsruhe and Dresden are the real hotspots when measuring users per capita.”

As with other freemium business models Dropbox has reportedly found difficulties in upgrading customers to the paid-for services. The company launched a new relationship with Adyen last year to offer localized payment models in 12 European countries, build around a direct debit payment mechanism, a more popular model in the European markets, as opposed to PayPal or credit card models.