Cloud datacentre Engineer virtualisation

We are in! – new Timico datacentre

Cisco blades are being used at the new Timico data centre in NewarkAt 10am this morning, 28th November 2011 we officially took delivery
Timico development engineers review progress so far at the new Data centre of a datacentre. Not quite the same impact as the ceremony that ended the first world war (10th hour of the 28th day doesn’t sound quite the same as 11th hour of the 11th day) but hey…

I’m not even sure there was a physical ceremony. If there was I wasn’t there but the new build is certainly buzzing with engineers doing their stuff.
EMC storage now in situ at new Timico data centre

Progress is going to be rapid now with the official launch/opening ceremony due on Wednesday 18th January. The box on the right is one of the EMC SANs I showed being delivered on Friday.

The initial environment will have Juniper in the core network with VMware running over Cisco Nexus and EMC. I’ll post more detail on this as we get nearer launch though if you urgently want to know more drop me a line at [email protected].

Timico is using Juniper in the core network of its new data centre in Newark

Cloud datacentre Engineer

Psst wanna buy a Storage Area Network? #SAN #EMC

EMC SAN arrives at Timico offices in Newark for installation into new datacentre

When a man in a white van turns up at your place offering you a good deal on a Storage Area Network what do you do? In our case we were expecting him to turn up though I suspect he had no idea what was in the boxes.

I wouldn’t normally bother writing about this but the delivery caused a flurry of excitement amongst the engineers in the office that I felt compelled to do so.

Also quite a few people at the LINX75 meeting mentioned they were following the progress of the data centre build so now that it is getting to the technically interesting bit it seems reasonable to post stuff as it happens.

I’ll put up some more photos when the kit is unboxed. Oh and also it won’t be long before I’ll be saying “Psst wanna buy some storage/virtualisation/hosting/colo etc etc”.

If you are interested in knowing more or want to use some of these services drop me a line at [email protected].

All the best.

datacentre Engineer

That first cup of tea is always the best #Timico #Datacentre #10GigE

Ian P Christian clenches his fist in a victory salute having installed the first server in the new Timico Data Centre in Newark, Notts

Tref pretends to greet visitors at reception of new Datacentre in Newark

First cup of tea in new Timico Datacentre in Newark

Two cups of tea in the kitchen of the new Timico Datacentre in Newark

First cups of tea in kitchen of new Timico data centre in NewarkSome more photographic action from the new data centre – we get the keys next week and today we have been in doing some preparation.

Firstly we installed a small server with some basic utilities to get us up and running when the meaty kit arrives on Monday.


Then we made a cup of tea – the first in the new kitchen – yay.Will Curtis installs a switch at the new Timico Datacentre

OK question for you.  How many engineers does it take to install a switch? Click on the photo of Will to find out.

Last but not least ever wondered what a 10Gig fibre connection looks like? Well prepare to be disappointed – see below.

10Gig fibre

Cloud datacentre Engineer

Where there is technology there is art

sign above entrance of new Timico data centre in NewarkI am often asked for updates on the progess of the new Timico data centre in tidy cabling at the new Timico data centre in NewarkNewark. This is most easily done in pictorial fashion.

It’s nearly done. We are moving kit in. No desks yet but there is now a steady stream of engineers popping over, doing stuff.

the desk in reception at the Timico data centre in Newark We have a reception desk. More like Tardis console without the bit in the middle going up and down. Obviously the reception area is still work in progress but first impressions are important and it aint looking bad.

Some of these photos have been chosen exclusively for their artistic qualities. The patch panel below for example is worthy of the Tate Modern though quality of the photography probably leaves a little to be desired – I’m not a trained photographer you know.patch panel or work of art? - the Tate Modern beckons The photo of the cold aisle is a development on the last one I did which didn’t have the enclosures and attracted comments about inefficiency. This one shows the door at one end and you can just about make out the fact that the aisle has a roof on it.cold aisle - a cool place to be at the Timico Newark Data centre

Two more pics to go. This first one is a bit of the coffee machine in the coffee machine, vacuum cleaner or missile component?first floor kitchen. It reminds me of the Graham Green novel “Our Man in Havana” who was supposed to be sending back photos of secret Cuban missile parts (or simlar) but which in reality were components of a vacuum cleaner. If you look at it from the right angle it could be a missile part (or a vacuum cleaner) 🙂 .

I will say the NOC engineers are going to have to look out for caffeine overdoses because this dispenses the real mcoy in volumes and free of charge. There is also a tap for boiling water – no more frustrating queues Tref holding some cables at the Timico Newark data centre in the kitchen waiting for the kettle.

And finally a picture of me holding a bunch of cables. I’m not going to give you any clues about the cables because are goingto be plugged into something uber impressive and you will have to wait for that.

Oh and there is one more I forgot – no data centre is complete without it’s Dyson blade dryers and here they are in high speed action 🙂
Dyson blade driers in action at the new Timico data centre

There you go – a data centre update 🙂

Business Cloud virtualisation

Looking for a pre-sales engineer for data centre environment

If anyone knows a good pre sales engineer from a hosting/data centre background then I’d be grateful if you could put them in touch.

Skill sets are vmware, virtual desktops, Citrix, hosting – that kind of stuff. The job comes with lots of perks including being featured on this blog (probably) and if they can get in quick enough they can come to the xmas bash which is sold out and therefore a really hot ticket 🙂


PS a Timico mug goes to the person with a successful referral. Now there’s an incentive…

Business Cloud datacentre

Hey presto – we have a car park

car park at the new Timico data centreFunny how we get excited by little things. The other day I came into the office in the afternoon and they had started putting down the Tarmac for the carpark.  Like lightning I whipped out my trusty phone Galaxy S2 and took a photo.Car park at the new Timico data centre in Newark

Today I got up from our fortnightly management meeting and hey presto, someone had painted white lines on the Tarmac. It’s very odd but somehow this makes it all look real. Note no executive parking spots.  The early engineer gets the space nearest the door:)

To my knowledge this is also the first UK data centre to provide a kennel for the guard dogs. I am happy to be corrected here. This key piece of infrastructure arrives on 28th November and I’m sure there will be a photo shoot. Get down Shep!

Cloud datacentre Engineer

Data centre finishing touches featuring Tim and Neil

Timico Marketing Director Neil Armstrong savours a duck kebab in food tasting - prep for Timico Data Centre opening partyracks in the new Timico data centreIt won’t be long inside an empty rack in the Timico data centre now before we actually move in to the new data centre and start kitting it out. The racks are going in as I write and the header photo shows Marketing Director Neil Armstrong working his way through a full sample buffet in preparation for the big opening night in January. His attention to detail means that he has to taste every dish.  Hollow legs that man and not an inch of excess weight on him!

Pictured below is Timico chairman Tim Radford trying to find his way out of the maze of racks.

Tim Radford inspects a row of racks in the Timico data centre

Apps Cloud End User xaas

Computing As A Service – family bundle #CAAS #Tesco #Acer #Microsoft

I know I said I might well have bought my last laptop for the family but my wife’s 10 year old PC is spinning the last few thousand rotations of its hard drive and software is starting to malfunction.  So she is getting our daughter’s 7 year old perfectly good machine and we are buying the final year 6th form girl a laptop.

The Tesco website has an Acer 5742 for £399. It has an Intel Core i3, a 750gig hard drive and 4 gigs of RAM.  The crunch though is the copy of Microsoft Office 2010 home and business £204.22. She ain’t getting that.

It’s a graphic illustration that the money isn’t in the hardware but in the software. You do also have to wonder

Business Cloud datacentre

Timico data centre update

UPS batteries in the new Timico data centreNot long to go before we start kitting the new data centre out as a data centre so I’ve chosen some a local artisan finishes off the decorative touches of the interior design of the second floor of the new Timico building in Newarkartistic and tasteful photos for your delight. Of course they might not be to everyone’s taste but there is beauty in the modern day industrial infrastructure of the country – just as we now admire the steam the view from the fire escape of the new Timico data centre in Newarkengines and rows of red brick mills that were once associated with satanic darkness.

This time around the jobs created will be highly skilled and professional at a  time when we could do with some good news in the local economy.

We are in the process of hiring for the extended shifts that will be necessitated by the 24×7 operational nature of the  expanded Network Operations Centre.

Last week we ok’d the purchase of a wall of monitor screens for electrical switch gear in one of the new data halls at the Timico data centre in Newarkthe operations room itself. I’m quite excited about this as it will have a high visibility impact on the place –  all controlled by an iPad or similar (I asked what they would be using for a remote control for all those TVs – more on this in due course).  As I said not long now.

part of the fire suppression system for the new Timico data centre in Newark

part of the cooling system - only expected to be used 4 months of hte year due to free air cooling that adds to the green credentials of the Timico newark data centre

view of Timico HQ building across the car park of the data centre It will also be worth talking about our expanded sales structure as we move in to 2012 and I will do this as some important new hires come on board.

Bye for now.

Business Cloud datacentre

We Want #ITIL Service…And We Want It Now!

New Timico helpdesk ServiceNowMany years ago I worked at Marconi Electronic Devices in Lincoln. The purchasing manager there, a canny Scotsman,  had a certain approach when it came to the acquisition of software. His opening bid in a negotiation would be the cost of the physical tape required to carry the software to our premises.

These days software doesn’t come on a tape. In fact it often doesn’t come at all but resides somewhere remote and fluffy in “the cloud”. What’s more it can’t even be described as software – more a set of APIs and capabilities. When it comes to estimating a value for such an entity it has to be in terms of the benefit to your business.

It wasn’t so long ago that Timico was a small ISP. The company has been growing quickly to the point that

Apps chromebook Cloud End User

An Everyday Story of a Family, its Clunky Old Computer, and Cloud Based Services

My wife’s PC has nearly ended it’s useful life. It was bought for our oldest son at the age of 10. He is now about to start his second year at university and is already on his second laptop.

During the intervening ten or so years the PC has been flattened and rebuilt a couple of times. For a few years it was the “family” computer and thus had every kind of game added and removed and goodness knows what other software.

Now it is clunky, takes ages to boot up and a source of frustration for the love of my life. To make things worse last weekend my daughter did something to it and now Microsoft Office does not work. The original CD was lost some time ago. Doesn’t sound good.

Last night I went all cloud based services on the dodgy old thing.

I set Mrs Davies up with a

Cloud Engineer servers

This networking kit is good enough for Jehovah

Timico,data center,Juniper,MX80,SRX 3400The word Juniper always makes me think back to the Monty Python and The Life of Brian movie where a hermit has been living on juniper berries for years and Brian’s followers trample all over his bush.

Juniper has a totally different connotation these days, at least when we talk networking. Clicking on the header photo will reveal some equipment we are currently playing with in the lab before it goes live in the new data center core network.

Timico’s core network actually encompasses multiple vendor equipment but there are a few neat things

Business Cloud mobile connectivity security

Mobile Working Report — CoIT and BYOD Trends

mobile,working,report,CoIT,Consumersiation,IT,BYOD,Bring,Your,Own,Device,TimicoThe mobile communications market has for years been characterised as a commodity space. Selling mobile services was largely a matter of who offers the best price.  The rise of the smart phone and the pursuant growth in mobile data is changing this.

Price is still important but these devices are so expensive that the amount of hard cash people (consumers) are willing to spend on their mobile contract has grown considerably. I know this from first hand experience having a 19 year old student son who spends not an insubstantial amount of his monthly budget on an iPhone4 contract.

This in turn is a source of angst for businesses who have not traditionally provided the bulk of their staff with top of the range handsets. Unless you have been in a media vacuum over the last six months you will know that this has led to a phenomenon known as Consumerisation of IT and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolution.

I have written about this before. As a provider of mobile services

Business Cloud datacentre

The Cloud — Now is the Time to Invest

cloud,investment,datacenter,Timico,NewarkI attended a “Cloud Computing – security, market development and prospects for the G Cloud” forum in Whitehall yesterday morning. It’s a big topic and there were lots of messages to take away.

The G Cloud programme is the government’s effort to move away from an expensive and silo’d server centric estate that in 2009 comprised 90,000 components in central government alone. We, the UK, are after cost savings and an agility that will allow us the flexibility to take advantage of market and technological developments whilst creating a secure platform that will facilitate new and productive uses of data held by our masters on our behalf. Bit of a mouthful. My words really but also my interpretation of what I’m sure is an elongated brief.

Transport for London’s API that allows train locations to be published on Google maps is a good example of the use of public data made available through an API.

Business Cloud gadgets

PC Market Gartner slashes PC market forecast – my wife would agree

Research firm gartner has cut its PC Market forecast citing a move away from traditional computing towards tablets. I think we are not far off the tipping point. My 11 year old son’s laptop may well be the last PC we buy for the family.

My wife, whose PC is about 8 years old, keeps asking to borrow my iPad. She uses it primarily to look up recipes for family meals and sometimes has it propped up in the kitchen when she is cooking.

Her only other uses for a PC are email, banking and sites such as eBay where she is an avid participant. If the browser was reliable enough, which it isn’t on the iPad without support for flash, a tablet with keypad would be all she needed.

Cloud datacentre End User

Samsung 1TB hard drive for £54!

Samsung1TB external hard driveMy recent post on the pocket cloud was a joke. Today I have taken delivery of a real pocket cloud. It’s a Samsung 2.5inch portable external hard drive and it cost 54 quid! My aging laptop has a 232Gig hard drive that is almost full. That apart it is a perfectly good laptop and I didn’t see the point of getting a new one. I also didn’t want to delete anything and likely start the faff that would be the periodic decision making process on which files to ditch and which to keep.

Problem solved. I am now just moving my least used files onto the external drive.  They will be mostly photos and videos that are also backed up elsewhere.  It is certainly arguable that many of these files are not work related but it is difficult to separate the two lives.  Consumerisation entering the workplace again.

Storage is now so cheap that there is almost no reason for anything to be thrown away ever. Also I think I have become a Samsung fan 🙂view of construction of new Timico datacentre

On a different note our carpark is almost full today. A sure sign that the summer holidays are well and truly behind us. It won’t be long before we are overflowing into the new carpark behind the new data centre build.

Photo is a perspective from the first floor of the Timico HQ building.

PS any bets on when I will fill the TB drive?

Apps Business Cloud social networking

Customer Service Twitter Style

albelli customer serviceLast night my wife was trying to upload some photos to to generate a hardcopy album. She  wanted to take advantage  an offer from the Daily Telegraph that ran out at midnight.

The uploading did take some time but I guess the albelli servers were busy because of the promo deadline. Fair  enough. Shortly after 11pm she tried to complete the order but the discount that came with the offer no longer seemed to apply. One unhappy wife pulled the plug on the deal.

I tweeted this and had a response from a follower who had the same problem. It looks as if the set up on the server had the offer timing out at 11pm instead of midnight. Not good but mistakes do happen.

This morning I got a response from @albelli_UK with apologies for the problem and asking for more details.  By 9.40am they had sorted it out and my wife is now very happy with their service.

This is a great example of how Twitter can be used as a customer service tool.  Albelli has turned the situation from having negative PR to positive one and won over a customer. Note they will still have to offer a competitively priced service – my wife can very easily find out what the competition is up to on the wild wild web 🙂

PS yes this is the same telegraph that was hit by a DNS hack last night – as far as I can see the problem is still there at 11am on Monday morning.

Cloud Engineer virtualisation

It’s All About Storage – datadomain #VMware

datadomain storage

Nice bit of lab kit we have just installed downstairs. This is a datadomain DD630 backup storage device.  You can see that it has 12 x 1TeraByte hard drives – that’s quite a chunk of storage compared to your laptop or desktop PC.  The box above it is running test servers using VMware (click on the header photo to see it all).

This is all lab work being done in preparation for the new data centre when it opens in January. The twelve 1TB drives result in around 9TB of useful space once RAID, hot spare and storage of the OS are taken into consideration.

The beauty of this though is that we are likely to be able to store far more than 9TB of real data once it has been “deduped”  – for example identical copies of operating systems removed. In our trials we are backing up some VMs and are seeing 2TB of data being compressed and deduplicated down to only 140GB on the datadomain. We won’t necessarily get the same savings when the system scales up but it is easy to see that it is an attractive piece of kit.

One of the nice features is that if you lose your primary VM server then the system allows you to boot from this backup whilst it rebuilds the original server in the background.  This can save a couple of hours of work – very valuable in  a problem situation.

As we start building out the virtualisation platform I’ll do some more update posts. The inset photo is the same kit with the front cover on.

broadband Business Cloud virtualisation

EFM Growing at 53% Year-on-Year Driven By Need to Access Cloud

Rhossili beach far away in time

These days I back up all my family photos on both an external hard drive and online on Google+ (it’s free and so far I haven’t hit a limit).

In August I had two holidays. From surfing on the Gower I brought back 2GBytes of photos (not including those I took on the Galaxy S2 which automatically upload when in range of a wifi and most of which had done so before I got home).  Wild camping on the Isle of Mull generated 2.4Gigs of media including video.

That’s not only a lot of storage for one month’s activity but it is also a lot of bandwidth used to upload the photos to Google+. Assuming my home ADSL does 1Mbps upload speed, which it doesn’t, and assuming no packet headers, which there will be, it would take me around 10 hours to upload that lot.

In the office I have a 100Mbps connection and the whole of August can be uploaded in the the background in a fairly short time. The bottleneck is probably the Google+ server at the other end though I am not familiar with Google’s i/o speeds for a given account if they have any.

With cloud services the upload speed, long ignored as secondary by the ISP community, is becoming a critical factor. At Timico our ADSL sales into the business sector are still increasing but at nowhere near the rate of Ethernet. Although an Ethernet circuit is of much higher value than an ADSL (or FTTC) line the number of lines is growing nicely.

The first 8 months of this year have seen an increase in Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) activity levels of 53% over the same period in 2010.

This is happening for a number of reasons. Firstly EFM is more reliable than ADSL and carries a Service Level Agreement. Secondly is the symmetrical performance – EFM can have up to 10Mbps upload as well as download. This combination is important because companies are increasingly using resources in the cloud as part of the day to day running of their business and many of these online resources, such as VoIP, are mission critical.

Large businesses have been using Ethernet for years – they were traditionally the only ones that could afford the cost. They also have the distributed systems and resources that requires the reliability and speed. Now SMBs are moving into the cloud – 48% of those in the UK according to VMware.

This means that there are going to be a lot more customers out there looking for higher upload speeds. At 10Mbps FTTC does bring faster upload but the FTTC footprint is still under construction. In the meantime there are over 2,000 EFM POPs out there (BT and TalkTalk) which probably cover a fairly high proportion of UK businesses.

Coming back to the photos the average size of jpg from my Canon Powershot is roughly 3MBytes – some more some less. This is for a 12Megapixel camera. Looking back 5 years I had a 4 Megapixel camera that produced 1MB jpgs. This suggests to me that in 2016 I will be taking 36Megapixel photos using 9 or 10MB of storage. My 4.4GB August family photo album would be more like 14GB which would still take 3 1/2 hours to upload even if I had a 10Mbps uplink speed.

It is easy to imagine that in 5 years time 10Mbps upload won’t be good enough for home use let alone business and that everyone will be looking for the next level up. It is also easy to imagine that people will find it hard to remember what the world was like before they lived in the cloud.

Apps Business Cloud virtualisation

UCAS should have a cloud based virtual system that can scale with demand

The A Level results were released just before I went on holiday. For me the noticeable bit was the fact that the UCAS system failed to cope with the demand for people wanting to see how they got on. Someone from UCAS came on BBC Radio to discuss this and mentioned the fact that due to next year’s University course fee hikes they had planned for a huge increase in visits but in the end the capacity was still inadequate.

This is clearly an example where a cloud based implementation would get by the problem. UCAS would have been able to increase the resources available just for the period of high demand which is of course only for a few days in a year. Lets hope they get their act together for next year when kid #2 goes through it all.

PS I’m back – didn’t have time to write this in the mad rush before going on holiday.

PPS It’s good to be back 🙂

Cloud End User surveillance & privacy travel

Fancy popping down to the library for a coffee?

British Library with St Pancras Station in the background

Popped in to the British Library for a coffee yesterday en route to a meeting. It’s handily placed next to Kings Cross Station and I had only been there once before when I gave a talk on the likely impact of the DEAct on public intermediaries such as libraries and universities.

I was very pleasantly surprised with the place but it did make me think what will happen when all books are available electronically? In theory people will have much less reason to visit a library, other than for a quick coffee and, in the case of the British library to view some “ancient treasures”. This potentially must go down as a great source of sadness.

I’m probably not a good example though since I don’t usually like to borrow books from a library or anywhere else.  This is because, for those of you unfamiliar with the system, you have to give them back. I’m sorry but online doesn’t cut it for me either. I have to have bookcase lined walls where I can identify old favourites by the colour of the spine. I have kindle on my iPad but have only ever downloaded free, “out of copyright” books – Darwin, Marx, Plato et al. Good stuff I know but they are a better read on paper.

So how will our behaviour towards books change when everything is online? Will an online librarian ask you to turn the music down, or the TV? Ssshhh for kindle’s sake.  Or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

Apps Cloud Engineer virtualisation

PCoIP over VMWare View (for Keeping Up with the #Cricket Wherever You Are)

PCoIP thin client technology in use
I’ve been trying out thin client software at the office, specifically PCoIP running over VMware View.

It’s going very well. The station I sat at had just a keyboard, mouse and screen with a small connector box hooking me up with the network. I was running a virtual instance of Windows with the actual application running on a virtual machine in our data centre.

You wouldn’t know that there was no PC in a box underneath the desk.  The beauty of this technology is the fact that I can install a virtual client on my PC at home (or anywhere else) that will allow me to log in and replicate my work environment. It consumes much less power and also makes management of the whole estate much easier.  New users can be provisioned in seconds – the process of building a PC can take a day.

EVGA PD02The experience is great – in fact I didn’t know I wasn’t sat at a PC when I started using it. The header photo shows the workstation set up (a bit untidy – click to see more) and the inset photo (right)  is of the EVEA connector box. You can have up to 4 monitors using a DVI splitter plug – something our geeks really like.

The box is an EVGA PD02. They retail at around £216 plus VAT. When you add the costs of the licenses the individual per unit cost is roughly the same as a fully loaded new PC so the cost saving is in the management – IT staff headcount I guess if you were looking at a large estate.

Note England are doing well in the cricket against India which is why I sat at the workstation in the first place – I wanted an update of the score 🙂 . Invitations to the Oval test gratefully accepted.


Business Cloud competitions

Announcing the Timico fairy cake champion

Timico fairy cake competition

At Timico we now have a champion fairy cake maker to add to the long list of other cake making honours within theTimico fairy cake competition company.

This time the winner is engineer Stephen Burdock who spends his days sorting out  customer problems and clearly must spend some of his evenings practising his baking skills.

As usual the standard of entries was top notch and the produce is available to purchase at £1 each – all moneys to charity.

Thanks to the judges, including Powernet’s marketing manager John Heritage and to all the other entrants who put so much effort into the competition.

The picture on the right is a cross section of the winning cake before being demolished by the judges. It’s nice to see blokes winning these competitions:)

Business Cloud datacentre

Hot off the Hollywood press – new video of the Timico Newark data center in progress

The video stars Timico Technology Group Chairman Tim Radford talking about the plans for the data center business.

Business Cloud datacentre

Timico Data Center Build Update – The Inside Story

Timico HQ

Progress is rapid with the new data center build. In fact I was to some extent lulled into a false sense of pace (if that’s the right way of putting it) because the photo I take every day from the same spot didn’t seem to be changing much.
rear view of new Timico data center build
Casting my photographic net on the other side of the building however gave a completely different picture and on Friday afternoon I wandered down, hard hat and all to take a look. I’ve take a few shots that give quite a good feel for what is going to be delivered in the new build. This first photo is a ground floor view of the rear.

The generators have not been delivered yet but one will go on concrete plinths either side of the central column.

front view of new Timico data centerMoving round the front there is still a big hole in the middle. They are still moving a lot of materials in. This should be covered up within the next couple of weeks.

The big central opening on the top floor will be where the Timico board room is going to be.

Moving inside we have a plant room and views of the first data hall. This will house 72 x 4KW racks using cold aisle containment and free air cooling – this should mean that for substantial parts of the year we don’t need to power the air conditioning.

Timico Data center plant roomTimico data center data hall 1

Were the facility to be exclusively used for hosting virtualised services then the capacity of each rack
can be as high as 100TeraBytes.

In reality the capacity is very much dependent on the mix of resources you have in the rack – high speed/expensive drives versus bigger. This is very much dependent on the application.

under the floor of the new Timico data centerTimico data centre data hall 2 under construction

The shot on the left here shows the flooring under construction. The floor tiles are heavy duty as the floor has to support a considerable weight of the fully loaded racks above.

You don’t wanbt to move a full rack if you can help it, at least not without the use of a fork lift truck.

first floor engineering offices in new Timico Data center NOC at Timico data center under construction

Upstairs on the first floor we have the development engineering offices (left) and the Network Operations Centre.

You can see the raised floor again in the NOC though this does not need to be as heavy duty as in the data halls on the ground floor. The end wall will be flat and covered in monitoring screens.

To finish off here are a couple of photos of me with a view of the existing Timico HQ building from the top floor of the new and one stood on the actual floor of the data hall to give some perspective.

Trefor Davies in the new Timico data center buildingTrefor Davies stood next to the raised floor of a data center hall

There are a few more photos below including ones I consider to be quite arty 🙂 if you are interested.

Cloud End User security

The Pocket Cloud (Innovation #1259) – Security Issues Answered

The Pocket Cloud…business critical data storage in a secure USB-connected non-wireless device.

the pocket cloud

the pocket cloud

The fiendishly clever engineers at my place of work have come up with a new innovation, The Pocket Cloud (pat pending TM applied for etc), a highly innovative means of storing important business critical content in a totally secure manner.

Built in security features include an USB connection – this is a totally wireless free device which completely eliminates drive by data theft.

The Pocket Cloud comes with “uber” portability as it fits neatly into your pocket and can easily be removed from an office location whenever there is a flood/fire/earthquake (delete as appropriate – other forms of disaster are available). It should be incorporated into every Disaster Recovery plan.

At times of Disaster The Pocket Cloud also has a secondary role as a cloud based stress ball thereby satisfying Health and Safety requirements as well as those of IT.

If you have any questions or are desirious of acquiring a Pocket Cloud please get in touch.

Business Cloud online safety Regs

The Google View of the Forthcoming UK Comms Regulatory Landscape #deappg

Google’s Sarah Hunter impresses at the Communications Bill Forum.

Google’s Head of UK Public Policy, Sarah Hunter was a breath of fresh air at last week’s Communications Bill Forum.  Firstly she was one of the few speaking without just reading out a prepared speech. It can get boring listening to someone reading out their notes.

Secondly she offered a perspective based on a platform as opposed to most of the other speakers who were largely either content providers or  pipes.

  1. The government should not make policies that favour specific industries without considering the wider impact elsewhere.
  2. Open platforms should be protected – both content and pipes need them and they are expensive to build and maintain
  3. Keep a sensible approach to data protection. In other words allow targeted advertising.  The direction the EU is going is not good in this respect.
  4. Encourage and promote investment in computer science and engineering – engineers are taking over the world.
  5. Concentrate on consumer education – digital literacy and consumer empowerment. In other words keep kids safe online by education (and not mandatory web filtering – my words).
As always we have to strike a balance and how well the government does this will greatly influence how UK industry thrives online Her first point was a reference to the proportionality of the Digital Economy Act.
The data protection issue is a difficult one.  Whether they like it or not I get the feeling that the long term future of revenue generating for businesses operating online, certainly for content providers, is going to be substantially driven by advertising.
If this is the case then the advertising model needs to be one that works for all parties, including consumers and this either means we accept the degree of “intrusion” being sought by the likes of Google, Phorm et al or we very carefully define what is and isn’t permissible. Not the subject of a short blog post but perhaps one that might usefully be covered in a 2 year debate running up to the next Communications Bill.
datacentre End User phones

Smartphones: Samsung Galaxy S2 vs. HTC Desire HD

HTC Desire HDPeople who know suggested I should move phone operations from HTC Desire HD to Samsung Galaxy S2 so I have. My main motivation (and you have to take this as read) is not to just have the latest and greatest gadget. Things are moving so quickly in the tech world that I need to stay in touch with the art of the possible. It would also be a good exercise in seeing how easy it was to do the migration.

In reading this post you have to consider that I am not a gadget freak and I don’t spend my life understanding the nuances of different versions of OS or processor hardware specifications. I may therefore make mistakes in setting up a new phone that the geek would not but in this I can’t be any different to most people. My other criterion for success is that I shouldn’t have to rtfm, ie have to look something up in the online support.

I have two benchmarks for comparison – the HTC Desire HD and the iPad both of which broke new ground for me.  iPad was very easy to set up but has clear deficiencies and the HTC represented a learning curve in smartphone tech.

The features I use most on the HTC are Tweetdeck, Dropbox, camera, voice recorder, internet and gallery, mail, calendar, sms and foursquare with a smattering of Bambuser,and ESPN (seasonally) thrown in. I use the internet rather than plugins to access Facebook (keep in touch with my kids) and LinkedIn (rarely) as I haven’t found these plug ins to be much cop. For some reason I don’t use the phone for Empire Avenue and I’m actually currently struggling to get my brain round why I might want to access that particular network.

So in moving from HTC Android to Samsung Android it would be useful for me to see how seamless

Business Cloud datacentre

Datacenter update

Thought it was about time you had a progress update on the new Timico datacenter build. It is currently very much on schedule. Nice bit of cladding going on as you can see. The bricked up windows are going to be cosmetic – datacenters don’t need windows.  It will also have cold aisle cooling. This is an improvement on the traditional hot aisle where the hot air is contained between racks.  If you think about it it can’t be efficient to have people walking about in cold air warming it up with their body heat. There is still a lot of work to be done but so far so good. Opening night party invites will be sent out in the autumn.

Business Cloud internet

The Website, the Little Boy and The Cloud – Part 1

A modern day parable, well-told and deserving of a sequel.

an original picture of a cloud

In the beginning there was a website.  People saw that it was good and wanted one.  The website became so popular that soon hundreds of millions of people had one and it was used for many different things.

The website was kept on a special computer called a server that was shared with other websites. As the website became ever more popular the other websites on the server didn’t like all the attention it was getting so they asked it to go away and use a server of its own.

In time the amazing popularity of the website meant that it would be kept on two or more servers, often a long distance apart so that if one server stopped working the website would still be available elsewhere. This too, in the eyes of the people, was good.