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Volume 29, Issue 1

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Jon Seals

Battery-Free, High Efficiency Design Makes CleanSource® HD UPS Ideal Solution for Sustainably-Designed Data Center

AUSTIN, Texas – To align with its sustainability initiatives and to help reduce costs for its customers, Hydro66 selected Active Power (NASDAQ: ACPW), a manufacturer of flywheel energy storage solutions for mission critical and renewable applications worldwide, to provide critical power protection to its new hydro-powered colocation data center in northern Sweden.

The British-based colocation provider deployed Active Power's CleanSource HD UPS system at its nearly 11,000 square foot data center in Boden, Sweden, located 50 miles from the Arctic Circle. The system conditions incoming power and protects the facility's IT infrastructure from electrical interruption. The enterprise hosting facility was built for eco-conscious customers, is powered entirely by renewable energy from a nearby hydroelectric dam and utilizes free-air cooling year-around.

"When designing our facility, we took a hard look at why data centers are so inefficient and then rewrote the rule book," said Christiaan Keet, Chief Technology Officer, at Hydro66. "We were very particular and deliberate about only selecting sustainable products, so we knew a UPS system with lead acid batteries was not in line with our green initiative. We selected Active Power's ultra-green UPS over others due to its high operating efficiencies and scalability."

"We're excited to be aligned with Hydro66 and what they offer to their customers -- colocation services optimized for cost, carbon footprint, security and connectivity," said RJ Adleman, Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing, at Active Power. "Our flywheel UPS product is an ideal solution for data centers and other mission critical operations that leverage carbon free electricity generation to power their facilities. The solution eliminates the environmental issues associated with conventional lead acid batteries, while providing superior reliability and a lower total cost of ownership."

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About Hydro66
Hydro66 is a company dedicated to offering disruptive colocation hosting services dramatically reducing the impact companies have on the environment whilst running power hungry IT services and simultaneously lowering their operational costs compared to traditional data centres in Europe, USA and Asia Pacific region. Offering wholesale and retail capacity in state-of-the-art data centres, that combine unrivalled power availability, free-air cooling for 350 days a year, coupled with diverse fibre connectivity, gives an ideal solution for mission critical hosting such as secure backup, second site disaster recovery, cloud based applications, HPC and multi-media rendering. Read more: www.hydro66.com.

About Active Power
Active Power (NASDAQ: ACPW) designs and manufactures flywheel uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, modular infrastructure solutions (MIS), and energy storage products for mission critical and renewable applications worldwide. The company's products deliver an unmatched combination of total cost of ownership, reliability and sustainability for leading organizations around the world. Customers are served via Austin and three regional operations centers located in the United Kingdom, Germany and China, that support the deployment of systems in more than 50 countries. For more information, visit www.activepower.com.

Active Power, CleanSource and Driven by Motion are registered trademarks of Active Power, Inc. The Active Power logo is a trademark of Active Power, Inc.

To be sustainable, organizations must prepare for crises that occur or risks that crystalize. General responses to those threats include alternative office sites, IT back-ups and communication protocols. As reality demonstrates over and over, it is critically important to have a strong leader in a crisis situation, be it the captain of a ship in a storm, the commanding officer of a platoon under fire or the CEO of a company in turmoil. A cacophony of contradicting orders or disintegration in the line of command is the surest way to increase a disaster’s impact and the time needed to recover.

Instead of creating a strong BCP landscape with clear lines of command and control, however, we more often see “balkanization,” or fragmentation of responsibilities. Business continuity planning, environmental health and safety, operational risk and IT disaster recovery are different teams with overlapping roles and responsibilities for crisis management.

The newest buzzword is resilience, which is discussed in a growing number of articles and lectures and defined as the “ability to bounce back to a normal operating status after a state of crisis.” There are also a number of overlapping areas with the aforementioned functions—and that is just on an intra-company level. The OECD has issued Guidelines for Resilience System Analysis, urging member states to set up resilience management on a country level basis.



Improved regional preparation, response to coastal hazards top goal

Each project selected in the National Ocean Service's Coastal Resilience Grants Program reflects NOAA's commitment to building coastal resilience using science-based solutions and collaborative partnerships. (Credit: Think Stock Photos.com).

Each project selected in the National Ocean Service's Coastal Resilience Grants Program reflects NOAA's commitment to building coastal resilience using science-based solutions and collaborative partnerships. (Credit: Think Stock Photos.com)

NOAA’s National Ocean Service will award today $4.5 million in coastal resilience grants, with plans to award another $4.5 million in grants later this year. The local community grant recipients are required to add an additional $2.4 million in matching funds.

The projects selected are designed to help coastal communities improve their resilience to adverse events by improving their ability to prepare for and respond to a variety of coastal threats, including extreme weather events, climate hazards, and changing ocean conditions.

“We know that continued sea level rise and the storm surges associated with potential changes in hurricanes combined with increased coastal storm activity threaten to cause $35 billion annually in damages within the next 15 years,” said Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We need to reduce these impacts through better application of science-based knowledge. The six projects receiving funds today are designed to serve as models of the way forward to increasing the resilience of our coastal communities.”

The projects will address evolving economic, environmental, and social pressures on our ocean and coasts through approaches that cover land and ocean use, disaster preparedness, environmental restoration, hazard mitigation, and regional, state, and community planning efforts. (Credit: Think Stock Photos.com).

The projects will address evolving economic, environmental, and social pressures on our ocean and coasts through approaches that cover land and ocean use, disaster preparedness, environmental restoration, hazard mitigation, and regional, state, and community planning efforts. (Credit: Think Stock Photos.com)

The selected projects reflect the program’s regional focus — more than 100 communities are participating in these six projects. In response to its call for proposals last year, NOAA received 132 applications requesting more than $100 million. The proposals were reviewed by a panel of coastal management experts from around the United States that included representatives of government, academia and private industry.

NOAA is taking a multifaceted approach to building coastal resilience through two grant programs. NOAA National Ocean Service’s grant program, the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants, focuses on regional-scale projects that enhance the resilience of coastal communities and economies. Activities may include improving coastal risk assessment and communication, promoting collaborative approaches to resilience planning, and better informing science based decision making.

NOAA defines resilience as the ability of an ecosystem or community to absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events such as extreme weather or long-term changing environmental conditions, such as sea level rise. (Credit: Think Stock Photos.com).

NOAA defines resilience as the ability of an ecosystem or community to absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events such as extreme weather or long-term changing environmental conditions, such as sea level rise. (Credit: Think Stock Photos.com)

“We are all connected by the watershed we live in,” said Jeff Payne, Ph.D., acting director of NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management. “What happens in one community affects those downstream. It can be wide spread on regional and local infrastructure, economies and ecosystems. A piecemeal approach will not be effective. Only by working together can we solve these complex problems.”

NOAA Fisheries’ Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants program, a complementary resilience grant program, announced its FY 2015 grant awards December 1. The NOAA Fisheries program is focused on the development of healthy and sustainable coastal ecosystems through habitat restoration.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and our other social media channels.

Chris Selland is VP of Business Development, Big Data Platform, at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The act of publishing source code, in and of itself, doesn’t necessarily make a platform more useful. Making that source code extensible matters at least as much, especially in the era of open application programming interfaces (APIs), where many of the most useful apps are made so by other apps. Modern enterprises need both open source software and open architectures to take full advantage of Big Data.

This article will focus on how we reached this point, and provide a blueprint for CIOs who are evaluating open source and Big Data tools.



Thursday, 04 February 2016 00:00

DDoS Attacks Surging

HSBC UK’s online banking system was hit with a DDoS attack at the end of January. As of the writing of this blog post, officials didn’t know who was responsible or the reasons behind the attack. The bank’s mobile app was not technically hit by the DDoS attack, but because so many users turned to the app when the website went down, the volume overwhelmed the connection.

DDoS attacks happen all the time, with varying levels of damage, yet they are sometimes overshadowed by breaches and other types of cyberattacks. I mention the HSBC DDoS attack in part because of its scale (HSBC is one of the largest banks in the world) and in part as a segue to discuss the changing scale of DDoS attacks.

According to Kaspersky Lab’s 2015 4th Quarter Report, the bad guys are finding new channels to conduct DDoS attacks:



Observations from the National Capital Region


Emergency managers and public information officers across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast proactively informed their communities as Winter Storm Jonas covered many areas with record-setting snowfall. In the National Capital Region, where eighteen counties, cities, and the District of Columbia are using Everbridge’s mass notification platform, the highest recorded snowfall was 34.2 inches (reported in Leesburg, Virginia).

Across the region, government officials sent 12,261 notifications to residents and government employees over a 7-day period—an average of one notification every 1.2 minutes. Many residents and employees received numerous notifications via multiple methods (e.g., email, SMS text messages, phone calls, the mobile app), which totaled 16.1 million messages sent to the region.

“People in this region regularly travel across jurisdictional boundaries, and regardless of where they are or where they’re going, all jurisdictions try to ensure our communities get timely and accurate information in ways that are convenient for them—email, text, the ContactBridge app, phone calls and more,” explained Sulayman Brown, Assistant Coordinator and Manager of Operations and Outreach at Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management. “We coordinate messages with neighboring jurisdictions to ensure consistency and deliver sound advice to the public. For example, several jurisdictions sent the same ‘stay off the roads’ notice to their residents to make it clear that it was unsafe to drive,”



In many engagements, upper and middle management ask: “How do we fix our testing (QC) process? The team is just not catching the defects.”

When managers ask this question I usually asked these managers a question in return: “Why focus on fixing your testing processes first; shouldn’t you first focus on fixing the development process, since they write the code?”

This usually starts a vigorous discussion about where the problem really lies in the organization, which is exactly the kind of soul searching an organization needs to do when they ask to fix the testing.



Just like IT systems are moving away from monolithic big-bang style releases to agile increments, so it seems is life in related areas. Business continuity, enterprise computing, information security, and the major business systems that are affected by them – notably supply chains – seemed to have less thunder and lightning in 2015, and more trending cloudiness (or was it cloudy trendiness?).

Granted, there were a few exceptions, even in the continually spreading, scaling world of cloud computing. AWS (Amazon Web Services) reputedly became profitable. This was an interesting development for a group (Amazon) as a whole that has spent years navigating through negative results. Meanwhile, Google suffered two outages of its public cloud services, one from lightning (yes, really) and one from DNS changes. Otherwise, cloud continued to score points for resilience and associated aspects such as disaster recovery and DRaaS. Overall, cloud computing seemed to be stabilizing into an oligopoly, a little like the mainframe market of 50 years ago. Maybe history, like the weather, really does repeat itself.



A big driving factor in the search for the perfect biometric security app is the wish to stop using current user ID and password access methods. The biometric body-part solutions typically have the advantage of being unique (unforgettable) and impossible for a user to forget, because of course his or her fingerprints, etc. are always to hand. Here’s a rundown of some of the contenders:



I do enjoy the (sometimes irreverent!) perspectives of some articles on data center in the UK publication “The Register“, and the story of how a data center change went wrong made me laugh, cringe and cry at the same time – the change being when an electrician cut the wrong wire and brought down a 25,000 square feet data center!!!

Let’s have a look at what went wrong here, and then I’ll relate this to one of our more fundamental services, that of “change support”. Some may call this a “boring” service option, however “fundamental” is much more appropriate, as the following story will show.  Finally, I’ll point you to a free white paper to illustrate the cost benefits.

If you’ve worked in IT for any length of time, you’ll know that configuration changes and (incorrect) cable cuts are some of the biggest sources of network and data center unplanned downtime – that is, outages.  However, even in 2016, it’s amazing  how the lack of stringent change control processes is all too common a source of outages and service downtime.  Let’s look at a real life example.