During the 1960s, computers were large mainframes stored in rooms– what we call a “data center” today. They were costly and businesses could rent out space on the mainframe to fulfill specific functions. During the 1980s, the computer industry experienced the boom of the microcomputer era and computers were being widely used in the office. When the dot-com bubble occurred in the 1990s, so did the boom of data centers. Businesses needed a quick way to establish presence on the Internet and companies like Rackspace were fulfilling that need by opening up data centers. Check out this infographic to see how data centers have evolved over time.
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Prior to 1960 (1945), the Army developed a huge machine called ENIAC (Electronic Numerator, Integrator, Analyzer, and Computer):
• Weighed 30 tons
• Took up 1,800 sq ft of floor space
• Required 6 full-time technicians to keep it running
• Did 5000 operations per second
Up until the early 1960s, computers were primarily used by government agencies. They were large mainframes stored in rooms– what we call a “datacenter” today.
Starting in 1960, computers converted from vacuum tube to solid state devices such as the transistor, which last much longer, are smaller, more efficient, more reliable, and cheaper than equivalent vacuum tube devices.
In the early 1960s many computers cost about $5 million each and time on one of these computers could be rented for $17,000 per month.
By the mid 1960s, computer use developed commercially and was shared by multiple parties.
American Airlines and IBM teamed up to develop a reservation program termed the Sabre® system. It was installed on 2 IBM 7090 computers, located in a specially designed computer center in Briarcliff Manor, New York. The system processed 84,000 telephone calls per day.
Computer memory slowly moved away from magnetic core devices to solid-state static and dynamic semiconductor memory, which greatly reduced the cost, size and power consumption of computing devices.
In 1971, Intel released the world’s first commercial microprocessor: the 4004.
Datacenters in the US began documenting formal disaster recovery plans in 1973. If disaster did strike, it wouldn’t necessarily affect business operations, as most functions handled by computers were after-the-fact bookkeeping duties. These functions were batch operations and not complex in nature.
In 1978, SunGuard™ developed the first commercial disaster recovery business, a leased 30,000 square feet of space at 401 Broad Street, where they’re still located.
In 1973, the minicomputer Xerox Alto was a landmark step in the development of personal computers because of its graphical user interface, bit-mapped high-resolution screen, large internal and external memory storage, mouse, and special software.
In 1977, the world’s first commercially available local area network, ARCnet was first put into service at Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, as a beta-site. It was the simplest, and least expensive type of local area network using token-ring architecture, supporting data rates of 2.5 Mbps, and connecting up to 255 computers.
Mainframes required special cooling and in the late 1970s, air-cooled computers moved into offices. Consequently, datacenters died.
During the 1980s, the computer industry experienced the boom of the microcomputer era thanks to the birth of the IBM Personal Computer (PC).
Computers were installed everywhere, and little thought was given to the specific environmental and operating requirements of the machines.
Starting in 1985, IBM provided more than $30 million in products and support over the course of 5 years to a supercomputer facility established at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
In 1988, IBM introduces the IBM Application System/400 (AS/400), and quickly becomes one of the world’s most popular business computing systems.
As information technology operations started to grow in complexity, companies grew aware of the need to control IT resources.
Microcomputers (now called “servers”) started to find their places in the old computer rooms and were being called “data centers.”
Companies were putting up server rooms inside their company walls with the availability of inexpensive networking equipment.
The boom of data centers came during the dot-com bubble. Companies needed fast Internet connectivity and nonstop operation to deploy systems and establish a presence on the Internet.
Many companies started building very large facilities to provide businesses with a range of solutions for systems deployment and operation.
Rackspace Hosting opened their first datacenter to businesses in 1999.
As of 2007, the average datacenter consumes as much energy as 25,000 homes.
There are 5.75 million new servers deployed every year.
The number of government data centers has gone from 432 in 1999 to 1,100+ today.
Data centers account for 1.5% of US energy consumption and demand is growing 10% per year.
Facebook launched the OpenCompute Project, providing specifications to their Prineville, Oregon data center that uses 38% less energy to do the same work as their other facilities, while costing 24% less.
As the growth of online data grows exponentially, there is opportunity (and a need) to run more efficient data centers.
The key to organizing a Rackspace Startup Program event is working with a plethora of people with specific roles in the planning process. How nice would it be to organize everything for your upcoming event to allow your team to focus on creating value for your guests and being responsive to speakers, suppliers, and support personnel? Welcu.com helps manage high-end, unique events by providing an end-to-end self-service solution for event planners.
High-end events are all about knowing your guests and precisely where they are coming from. Welcu.com can integrate with your current website to pull your guests in by allowing them to connect their current networks and take advantage of that by connecting people. It’s an easy way to manage your guests by providing simple but powerful lists that you can share with your partners and embed in all involved parties’ sites.
Take a tour of Welcu.com
Welcu.com started its event planning business in Santiago, Chile. In March of 2011, Nico Orellana, Founder & CEO of Welcu.com and his team moved to Silicon Valley. The move was two-fold – first, to establish a U.S. address for the company and secondly, to prepare for the 500 Startups accelerator experience. “We’re very excited about our next steps (post Demo Day at 500 Startups). We’re launching a new version of the product and we want to start testing pricing. We want to be a real SaaS solution for event planners,” says Orellana, and “we want to keep our technology base in Chile.”
“We’ve been geeks and event planners for the last four years putting on the biggest tech conferences for entrepreneurs in Latin America and we’ve discovered that the biggest pain for event planners is to work with multiple tools because it sucks…too much to manage, too much money and time wasted.” Nico goes on to say “We decided to change this and build our own technology and then companies like Coca-Cola, (worldwide advertising agency network) BBDO, Xerox and others started to call us. They love how simple it is to manage their events end-to-end using our platform.”
“We saved a lot of time and money, and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending Welcu.com to others”
- Yerka Yukich, Managing Director, Interactive Advertising Bureau, Chile.
Welcu.com is striving to have a solid customer base and disrupt the way event planners manage their events today. The disruption for the event planner is technology and taking it out of their way allows them to be focused on putting on a great event. Very similar to the way that the Rackspace Startup Program is striving to build a solid foundation for the startup and disrupt the way entrepreneurs focus on their business by helping them out with their technology worries. Contact the Space Cowboy’s today for help with your startup tech needs.
This is a guest post written and contributed by Brad Johnson, VP Product & Channel Marketing at SOASTA, a Rackspace Cloud Tools Partner. SOASTA provides load and performance testing solutions available as on-demand cloud service.
What is CloudTest, and what is Cloud Testing? These are questions we’re pretty used to answering at SOASTA, an original Rackspace Cloud Tools partner, offering both since the rise of cloud computing.
CloudTest is SOASTA’s performance testing platform built to use public or private cloud resources to assure any web or mobile application won’t fail under peak user traffic.
Cloud Testing is a new approach to quickly and affordably prepare web and mobile sites for daily and peak traffic that tests using cloud-based resources, capitalizing on the low costs, high scalability, and rapid setup and tear-down of the cloud.
In neither of these cases does the app being testing need to be in the cloud – we’re a cloud application using the cloud to test the web apps wherever they reside.
Examples usually work best, so here are a few:
1) Rackspace as a SOASTA customer uses CloudTest to prepare Rackspace.com for peak load events
2) SOASTA as a Rackspace Cloud customer uses Rackspace Cloud Servers to simulate up to millions of web users for testing our customers’ web and mobile sites
3) Rackspace Critical Sites hosting customers utilize CloudTest as a service to validate their application performance readiness for new deployments, updates and to prepare for large-scale events and promotions
As the pioneer in cloud testing, we’ve found that more than 75% of the companies we meet are not testing their websites for peak performance, so every test we run saves reputation and revenue. What we also found is that what web teams lack is a simple, low cost way of testing websites everyday that can be scaled to millions of users when needed. So we just delivered CloudTest Lite to address this gap.
With CloudTest Lite, web teams are empowered with a FREE full-function test platform to test for everyday web traffic needs. Then, when ready, the same tests may be run at any scale by contacting the SOASTA team to leverage the full power of the Rackspace Cloud to simulate peak capacity and beyond.
Equip yourself or your team with CloudTest Lite and join us in the cloud testing revolution!
Cameron Nouri, from the Rackspace Business Development team, is your connection to the Rackspace Cloud Tools Partner Ecosystem. If you have developed solutions or services that makes life easier for people to take advantage of the cloud he would like to talk to you! You can contact Cameron any time to learn more about this unique program and the benefits for your business.
Imagine you’re the mayor of a small town where population grows from zero to the size of a small city in under two years. We faced this challenging, yet exciting, reality with Rackspace Archiving. Our user base grew phenomenally in a short time forcing us to find innovative ways to keep up with growth effectively and efficiently.
Rackspace Archiving Enters the Cloud
Accommodating the rapid growth required a whole new way of thinking about software-as-a-service. While other archiving providers still run on limited servers, we rebuilt our search infrastructure and moved it onto the cloud. This allows our system to scale accordingly whether 5,000 or 100,000 users are searching their archive.
As a result, Rackspace Archiving Version 2 provides our customers a better overall experience with more stability and speed. This is absolutely groundbreaking. Wouldn’t it be nice if the highway system scaled that way to automatically create new lanes when traffic becomes congested?
What’s New in Version 2?
Not only did we rebuild much of our infrastructure with innovation, but we also added new features. We know that search is the key element of an archiving system. To make it easier for our users to find that one email out of possibly millions, we added new search features:
We also know that users want to quickly and confidently export their email data. Users can now export up to 15,000 messages or up to 3.5GB of data right from their archive. For users who need to export large volumes of data, we also offer a bulk export to hard drive option.
Many more new features, plus updated support materials, are available to further enhance your experience. Give Rackspace Archiving a try now. If you have questions or feedback, as the Product Manager for Rackspace Archiving, I want to hear from you! Send me an email at email@example.com.
For years now those of us who talk Cloud on a daily basis have used variations on a triangle shape as a way to articulate what Cloud actually is and how the various services that make up Cloud can be differentiated.
Traditional thinking (if one can have traditional thinking in a space as young as Cloud) is that Cloud is made up of three distinct parts. At the bottom of the triangle you have Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) essentially the move from physical hardware to virtualized hardware (let’s not argue the definition at this point). Next up in the middle layer of the triangle is Platform as a Service (PaaS) – an even more confusing acronym that is generally accepted to mean some kind of scalable and automated development environment.
At the top of the triangle we have what is probably the most easily understood part of Cloud, perhaps because of the work that early vendors like salesforce and NetSuite did. Software as a Service (SaaS) is the delivery of software built for the web – scalable, browser based, pay per use or variations on those themes.
We even have our own version of the triangle – in our case we developed this one for our Cloud Stack report for CloudU (see below);
This way of describing the Cloud has been a useful tool – it’s simple, is reasonably understood and compartmentalizes things nicely for a non technical audience. Recently however this triangle metaphor has been questioned a little. A number of innovations have made a simple three level stack a little too simple;
- IaaS vendors have started adding more automated and “platform-like” services into what they do
- PaaS has become a little fragmented from automated application deployment options at one end, to high level declarative environments for creating business applications on the other
- Even SaaS, arguably the simplest of the three to understand, has been extended with extremely rich customization options that see it nudge downwards into PaaS’ space
At the recent Structure conference in San Francisco, Werner Vogels of suggested in his ”State of the Cloud” address that the stack model is now outdated and should be left behind. Rather there is a notion of a service-based architecture with containerized services and applications that are interconnected.
It’s an interesting notion – the difficulty I have with it however is that no matter how ragged the triangle metaphor becomes, it is still a highly effective tool for communicating to non-technical audiences the different aspects of Cloud. For this reason, I’ll be continuing to talk about triangles – in all their imperfect glory. Read more about what Cloud can offer small and medium businesses at CloudU.
The U.S. doesn’t have an exclusive on this whole startup thing and there are few places where that are more evident than Canada. The country might be known for its fixation on hockey and gravy covered French fries, but it’s not all fun and games for our neighbors to the north. Due in part to the ongoing efforts of individuals like Alistair Croll, the heart of Montreal, Canada is fast becoming an epicenter for the country’s burgeoning startup scene.
Croll’s resume reads like one from a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, but he did it in an area not traditionally known from its technologies or its entrepreneurialism. This goes to show that, while environments might be an enabling factor, an environment can just as easily be enabled by individuals.
This isn’t to say that Croll is personally responsible for startup Montreal — he’s not — it’s just difficult to discuss Montreal tech without correlating his presence in the area. More than anything, his participation undercuts the regional necessity for dedicated local ambassadors. Those whose vested interests in a location extends beyond simply vesting in a location’s equity, are most often the ones most capable of putting a place on the map.
It was through Croll’s persistence that the Rackspace Startup Program first landed in Canada for the International Startup Festival. During the event, we met a number of startups, like the traveling band behind Dishcrawl, as well as FounderFuel, a Canadian-centric startup accelerator run by Ian Jeffrey.
The Real Ventures backed accelerator is running out of Montreal’s much lauded collaborative workspace, the Notman House. FounderFuel just rounded out its first week of operations and has revealed its first batch of startups to the world at a mentor dating event, where Rackspace Startup Program was excited to participate as a partner.
The FounderFuel startups are an impressively diverse group complete with everything from the straight B2B SAS web monitoring tool like the excellent Blame Stella (seriously, it’s awesome) to the personal investment utility Vuru.
All of the FounderFuel companies have not yet publicly launched, so we’re refraining from posting a full list of those involved, but here are the startups that you can try today:
Wavo (Apply for the beta alpha!)
Brad Feld of Foundry Group and, Rackspace Startup Program partner, TechStars recently said of Montreal to TechCrunch, “I think I’ve got a read of the place and a good sense of the vibe… I’ve got to tell you, in terms of the dynamics for entrepreneurship, it’s a powerful place….” We’re inclined to agree with Feld’s thoughts and the Rackspace Startup Program is looking forward to geeking out over the companies emerging from the great white north.
OpenStack has gained tremendous momentum in the last year, nearing 1,400 registered developers and more than 100 participating companies. As companies are eager to deploy and operate OpenStack clouds, they are looking to experts in the community for training and support. Rackspace Cloud Builders is now providing hands-on training courses for OpenStack developers and administrators covering the fundamentals of setting up, administering and troubleshooting OpenStack clouds via real-world situations in a training lab environment.
The initial five-day training course, Fundamentals Training for OpenStack, should allow students to walk away with the experience and knowledge to install, run and operate an OpenStack system in production. Two days of the fundamentals course will focus on OpenStack Object Storage, open source software that can create petabytes of distributed, reliable storage, and three days will focus on OpenStack Compute, open source software used to provision and manage large networks of virtual machines. Because the classes provide lab-based training, registration is limited to ensure a strong teacher to student ratio.
Peter Krey, Founder & President of Krey Associates, attended a Rackspace Training for OpenStack pilot class this summer and he says:
“Having direct access to OpenStack core developers and people who have implemented OpenStack in production was a unique and valuable experience. Unlike homogenized classes with stale video and static slides, the practical, hands-on approach made it highly relevant. I am very impressed that they incorporate attendee feedback and are committed to continuous improvement of the curriculum.”
- The first confirmed course will be offered right before the OpenStack Design Summit in Boston, Sept 26 – 30.
- The second course in London, Oct 10 – 14, will be held at Rackspace facilities,
- and the third will be at the Dell campus in Austin, Oct 24-28.
More dates and locations will be announced shortly, including San Antonio and San Francisco.
Rackspace Cloud Builders can also deliver a custom, on-site program for your organization. For more information, to see the full schedule or register for an upcoming course, please visit: www.rackspace.com/cloudbuilders
Are you still saying that the cloud is fine for tiny startups, but not for large enterprises? Here are five good reasons why the cloud is ready for your enterprise.
Many enterprises find that using the cloud helps them save costs and roll out new apps to employees and customers faster and with less risk. All these benefits mean that any enterprise using the cloud gains a proven competitive edge.
The same security issues apply to an enterprise data center or on-premise application as to the cloud. Everyone must be vigilant about security, no matter where their data is stored. Staying out of the cloud will not necessarily prevent problems.
“Traditional on-premise systems with local client storage on company laptops are even more vulnerable to attack or other threats than cloud-based systems,” writes one software expert. “Most organizations will actually benefit by leveraging the added security skills and resources which SaaS and cloud computing service providers have.”
For example, many cloud service providers feature SAS 70-certified data centers (including Rackspace), meaning their operations have passed an exhaustive security audit. These providers follow best practices learned in hosting hundreds of different companies, giving them a far broader experience than any single enterprise.
The Internet has always run on open source software like HTML, Java, PHP, and the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl). Today, there are even more open source offerings for every layer of the cloud, from data centers to SaaS apps.
On the hardware level, the Open Compute project from Facebook has created lower-cost, lower-energy designs for servers and data centers and placed them in the public domain.
There are many developments in open source software for the cloud:
- Cisco, Dell, NASA, Rackspace and 50+ other organizations have created the cloud OS OpenStack.This includes open source software to build scalable data storage, access virtual disk images, and build private and public clouds.
- Cloud Foundry is an open source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for developing and deploying cloud apps with development tools like Java, Ruby on Rails, and MySQL.
An open source stack from OS through development tools to apps is good news for any budget-conscious CIO, since it means lower costs and no vendor lock-in at any layer.
What’s more, any necessary fixes tend to arrive faster for open source. A recent survey by Accenture of 300 executives from large enterprises showed that 76% count “quality” as the key benefit of open source code, while over 70% agree that open source is more secure and reliable.
Fortunately, no one has to bet the company on moving to the cloud. Most CIOs do this in small steps, learning as they go.
One approach is to segment a company’s portfolio of applications into three groups:
- Those that make sense to move to the cloud now
- Those you can leave for later
- Core apps you prefer to run in-house for the foreseeable future
This “hybrid” approach enables an enterprise to move less critical apps to the cloud, while keeping sensitive business functions on premises.
This strategy has other advantages. When older servers reach end of life, they can be retired and their workload moved to the cloud instead of buying new hardware to replace them. New mobile or collaborative apps designed for remote access can be rolled out in the cloud from day one.
In this way, a CIO can use the cloud to complement and extend their existing infrastructure rather than replace it overnight.
In 2010, a worldwide survey from Gartner showed that the average IT department spends 67% of its budget on maintenance and only 33% building new systems to grow and transform the enterprise.Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite of what C-level executives want.
“Business leaders reveal an insatiable desire to make their processes leaner, faster, and more agile and they expect to use cloud business services to do it,” concluded a recent global survey of 1,050 executives done by the London School of Economics.
These executives want IT to be more nimble, to cut lag times between conception and delivery, and to do more with less. To be effective, a CIO needs to do more than simply “keep the lights on.”
Instead, a CIO needs to make thoughtful use of new technologies like the cloud to deliver more strategic services that truly benefit the enterprise. Using the cloud can elevate IT to a more strategic level and foster a new partnership between CIOs, CFOs, and CEOs that gives IT a stronger voice.
The cloud gives a proven competitive edge, with equal or better security, and a growing stack of reliable open source software. A CIO can use the cloud in a step-by-step strategy to complement and extend the existing infrastructure and move to a more strategic level in the enterprise. For all these reasons, the cloud is truly ready for the enterprise.
Frustrated with trying to buy tickets for a show or sporting event online? The Rackspace Startup Program has a solution for your online ticket buying blues. Introducing SeatGeek, an online ticket search engine founded by Jack Groetzinger and Russ D’Souza at DreamIt Ventures, an accelerator program in Philadelphia.
“We are consumer advocates. SeatGeek was founded out of our own frustrations buying tickets online. We build features with the motivation of making the experience of buying tickets online easier and more delightful,” says Groetzinger. “For example, 99% of ticket sites online charge fees that don’t get added into the price until the buyer is in the checkout. That’s confusing. So all the prices we show on SeatGeek are ‘all-in prices’ including the base price plus the seller fees so that the consumer can compare tickets apples-to-apples so that they aren’t surprised when they get to the checkout.”
SeatGeek is a ticket search engine. Sports, concert and theater tickets are aggregated from across the web so that users see all inventories in one place. It has a powerful data engine that uses several tools to help consumers identify the best ticket deals for each event. “We saw two flaws in the ticket market, a lack of data and poor user experiences. We think that data, used properly, can empower consumers and help folks save money. Seldom does a ticket buyer feel like they got the best deal. SeatGeek is 100% free for consumers,” says Jack.
The New York City based company has recently added another money saving feature to SeatGeek called Deal Score, a metric that rates whether a ticket is a good deal on a scale from 0-100. It takes into account where a seat is within a venue in addition to its price. SeatGeek has just announced a partnership with Yahoo Sports and Rivals.com as well. They are powering pages across both properties with ticket links to help their users seamlessly find sporting event tickets.
Groetzinger closes with “Our goal is to be America’s gateway for live entertainment. Just as Facebook has become the dashboard that people visit daily to monitor their social lives, we aim to be the dashboard that people visit daily to figure out how they’ll be entertained.” And we congratulate SeatGeek for making the experience of buying tickets online easier and more delightful for consumers. Just as SeatGeek is becoming the dashboard that people visit daily to be entertained, the Rackspace Startup Program is becoming the dashboard that entrepreneurs visit daily to launch their startup ventures. Get the rocket fuel you need for your startup by contacting the Space Cowboys at Rackspace.
In my travels running CloudCamps all over the place, I’m always surprised how often the “how do you define Cloud” question comes up. Spending so much time in the rarefied atmosphere of the twitterverse, it’s easy to just assume that everyone else “gets it” and that we can leave behind such base level definitional discussions as this.
The truth is somewhat different – the vast majority of people out there are still coming to terms with using Internet banking or Facebook. For them Cloud is an unheard of concept and unexplained territory.
This fact was driven home to me a couple of months ago when, at a function I bumped into a Cabinet Minister from here in New Zealand. Now this is a powerful guy who one would have expected would have his fingers well and truly on the pulse of innovation. When I was introduced to him as a well respected Cloud Computing commentator, said Minister asked me if that had something to do with Meteorology! Trying hard to not choke on my croissant, I gave him a quick definition of Cloud… and went home pondering the need for simplification in this area.
You see the definition most people use currently is that provided by NIST, the National Institute of Science and technology. The NIST runs several hundred words and while undeniably comprehensive, no one could ever accuse it of being brief or easily read. It’s for this reason that I’ve recently started using a definition devised by none other than Dave Nielsen, one of the founders of CloudCamp and a really nice guy who does a huge amount for the Cloud community. Dave has the following pithy definition that (in my mind anyway) does much to remove the mystery surrounding Cloud and articulates it in ways that anyone can understand.
Under Dave’s definition, Cloud is OSSM, meaning that Cloud Computing is a computing resource that is;
In testing the acronym with a bunch of people – both from a technology and a non-technology background, the response has been the same across the board. People really connect with the definition and, most importantly, see it as something understandable and non-threatening. That’s a good things for all of us, after all the Cloud truly is awesome, OSSM helps people understand that.
We’re covering all things Cloud at CloudU, our Cloud Computing educational series. We’d love you to sign up to receive whitepapers and webinar invitations.