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Reporter's notebook on AFCOM Data Center World: Day two

Mark Fontecchio
Vincent Biddlecombe, the chief technology officer at Transplace, a transportation management company, decided to split his company's two physical data centers into four virtual data centers.

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For more on AFCOM's Data Center World:
Data center cabling management: Mind over matter

Notes from AFSCOM Data Center World: Day one

Message to data center managers; Speak up!

Biddlecombe told AFCOM attendees how he created virtual centers "that are completely separate from one another. I can lose a whole virtual data center within the physical data center and still continue to run."

The project was done largely using technology from VMware and NetApp. To minimize costs, Biddlecombe clustered like applications in a limited number of servers. For example, he kept all Oracle WebLogic applications in one cluster.

"I told Oracle, 'I will pay you for these servers, and I can have as many VMs as I want on them,'" he said.

Biddlecombe's presentation was called "Extreme Makeover: Data Center Edition." Fortunately for everyone, Ty Pennington wasn't there with a bullhorn to start the session off.

Considering modular power infrastructure
Andy Hungria, an application engineer at Eaton Corp., told attendees about the possibility of keeping their data center power infrastructure modular.

The benefits are that a data center can grow its power capacity as need demands it, rather than buying a big uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and having a lot of wasted capacity early on.

"Expansion can be done quickly and easily," he said. "There is no need to overbuild or overpay today."

Hungria said he often gets the question from end users regarding reliability. Because it's a modular system, there are often more pieces that come with more UPSes. So does it affect reliability?

"Not necessarily," Hungria said. It was an answer that – for many end users -- may have sounded a little too much like "probably."

AFCOM miscellany
Attendance at the AFCOM show was sizable. AFCOM President Jill Eckhaus told attendees before the keynote that they had a chance to network with "600 of your peers."

That number is fewer than the spring show, but the fall event tends to be a smaller. Also, one of the conference tracks was "case studies," of which there were six . It was good to see AFCOM make a concerted effort to get user-led sessions.

Finally, I learned my lesson regarding Orlando conferences: Stay at the host hotel. I stayed less than a half-mile away, assuming I could easily walk. But since Orlando is one of the world's most pedestrian-unfriendly cities, walking a half-mile involved racing across three freeways and hiking in shin-high grass alongside little green lizards and an old drainage culvert. All this in the approximate 130% humidity of Orlando. I took taxis for the rest of my trip.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Mark Fontecchio, News Writer. Also, check out our blogs: Data Center Facilities Pro, Mainframe Propeller Head, and Server Farming.


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