Chris J Powell

IT Evolution…thanks to the Cloud

The age old dictum of adapt or die is sitting upon the doorstep of every IT Professional out there.  You may have heard of this thing called the Cloud…well just like the weather…you just need to wait 5 minutes and it will change.  The Cloud means so many different things to so many different people it is hard to narrow down a single definition that can place the proper focus on the “Next Big Thing” but for IT to maintain any relevance to the Enterprise, they must get in front of the push to the Cloud and prepare for the rewards that it potentially can provide to the business.


The one thing that amazes me about the Cloud is that it is a grand equalizer and makes it possible for the smallest of companies to be truly competitive with the largest Corporations.  The scalability and pay as you “grow” nature of services like Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and even new options and opportunities like Desktop-as-a-Service and Communications-as-a-Service provide a low entry barrier to super computing that was never available out side of the largest Data Centers (usually funded by Billion Dollar companies).

The grand scale that a Cloud Provider can build is something that all but the largest of companies can only dream of.  The grand and sprawling Data Center’s of Google, Microsoft and Apple in the Pacific Northwest actually pale in comparison to what has been billed the largest Data Center in the world.  Built by Switch Communications the SuperNAP is truly built to meet the demands of today and tomorrow without living in the past and adhering to anything even close to what we would expect a Data Center to be.

Built in the Nevada Desert which at the outset seems a bit strange but when I took a look at their provided logic:


To provide some insights to this map there are few areas of the United States that could be considered to be immune to most Natural Disasters and the Grey area that is included in the U.S. Safety Zone that runs over Nevada, Arizona and Utah make this area a perfect area for either migration or disaster recovery relocation.

The SuperNAP facility currently sits at over 400,000 square feet and has a current power requirement of 100 MegaWatts (to put this into perspective…this is enough electricity to power 100,000 homes which is quite impressive but because of the density in which they have designed the facility and have achieved a PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) of 1.24.

Just like pinpointing a single definition of the Cloud…finding a true “average” Data Center PUE rating is difficult but it would appear that it ranges from 1.9-2.2:

The average PUE has been a subject of some debate in the industry. The Uptime Institute, which tracks the operations of a group of enterprise data centers, has previously said that the average PUE was around 2.5. Others cite an average of 2.0, and the EPA’s Energy Star program reported a 1.91 average PUE in 2009 data it collected more than 100 data centers.

The move to the cloud is no longer about a wait and see, IT is quickly becoming a business process and must act accordingly.  The support and development of other business processes has become part of the role of a modern IT Department and as IT transitions to less of a break fix environment to more of a business partner we will see the fact that traditional application designs and infrastructure architectures are quickly becoming irrelevant.

Adapt or Die…are you ready for the coming Evolution?


Chris J Powell

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