Funny Posts

November 24, 2011

Summer's Specialty: Truffle Mac and Cheese

Over half my time this year has been spent traveling around the US, Canada and Europe where I've shared the SoftLayer story with hundreds (if not thousands) of people. Since most of our trade shows are outside of the Dallas area, I frequently call a hotel room "home," so I really cherish my actual home. One of my favorite things to do while I am home is spend quality time in the kitchen with my husband and our mischievous 2 year old chocolate lab (who is usually close by waiting for food to fall off the counter), and in honor of Thanksgiving Day today, I thought I'd share a quick recipe for you if you're frantically looking for a dish to bring to a turkey day party.

Anyone that knows me well will tell you that I am not the greatest cook, but one thing I do make well is truffle mac and cheese. Since one of the goals on the SoftLayer Blog is to share the culture and expertise of our employees (and given the holiday timing), I thought my expertise in this area would be particularly valuable.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. dried macaroni pasta
  • 2 1/4 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. White truffle oil — Though I usually use more ... I am not–so-secretly obsessed with this stuff!
  • 1/3 cup garlic bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cook macaroni noodles in a pan according to directions on the container.
  2. Add the unsalted butter to a separate saucepan over medium heat until the butter begins to foam (constantly stir to make sure the butter does not burn).
  3. Add the flour to the foaming butter and stir for about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Carefully pour in the milk, whisking constantly until all the milk has been added. The sauce should begin to thicken. Make sure to whisk out any lumps. This should take around 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and begin to add in 2 cups of shredded Swiss cheese. Mix this until the cheese has completely melted.
  6. Add truffle oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Drain the water from the cooked macaroni noodles and add the cheese sauce to the noodles. Mix until the cheese has coated the noodles.
  8. Place the mac and cheese in a baking dish. Sprinkle the last 1/4 cup of shredded Swiss cheese and your 1/3 cup of garlic bread crumbs over the top.
  9. Place the dish in the oven on a high broil until the top is crispy and golden brown.

When you take it out of the oven and let it cool, you can load it into your car and whisk it away to your get-together to amaze all of your friends and family ... If you can manage to keep yourself from eating it on the way.

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Summer

November 8, 2011

PHIL's DC: SoftLayer Data Center Tour

When I was chosen by Lance to manage a "special project," I knew I had my work cut out for me. My mission is to redefine how data centers are built, so before I get too far in the creation of my data center facility, I thought it would be a good idea to get a quick refresher about how SoftLayer builds and runs its data centers:

You can disregard the references to Lance "requiring" me to go on the tour ... and the formality of Jon having to sign a note that said I successfully completed the tour. The references to those were just for dramatic effect since Lance and I are pretty much eye-to-eye about everything that needs to happen for PHIL's DC to succeed, and we both thought it would be good to have signed documentation that I went on a tour.

As I mentioned at the end of the tour, I didn't find the tour to be a complete waste of time because I was able to observe some of the biggest hurdles in building and maintaining a data center. Is redundancy really necessary ... or is it just redundant? What the heck did Jon say in the UPS room? How fast does a person have to run on a single treadmill for that treadmill to power 40,000 servers?

While I try to source my own "PHIL's DC" rack identifiers, my adoring public can take time to go through this video with a fine-toothed comb to suggest any potential data center innovations that you think I may have overlooked. I already have the most innovative and efficient data center designed in my head, but I'll consider crediting you if you share an idea ... even if (and by if, I mean "when") I've already thought of it.

I've got a hot lead on some slightly used hardware, so the next time you see me, the PHIL's DC inventory area should be fully stocked and ready for my own truck day.

-PHIL

October 30, 2011

Celebrating and Looking Forward

Inspired by Robert's NFL rival blog, I thought I'd contribute my own football-related post. Before I go any further, I should probably say, "PONY UP!" As a proud alumna of Southern Methodist University (SMU), I'm always happy to share where I sent to college, but when the SMU Mustangs take down our biggest rivals in football, you can bet that I'll talk about it. For the past century or so, SMU has battled the TCU Horned Frogs for "The Iron Skillet," and this season, that skillet headed back to Dallas (where it belongs).

In a HUGE upset, the Mustangs beat the Horned Frogs 40-33 in overtime to break a four-year losing streak. The past four years have been "rebuilding" years under June Jones, so this win over a quality, ranked opponent was even more significant ... Which is clear since I'm still talking about this game in particular a few weeks later. But this lingering buzz is nothing compared to the roar of attention to SoftLayer's international expansion.

We're not exactly the "underdog" anymore, but October marked a huge step in the growth of our company when our Singapore data center and network points of presence in Tokyo and Hong Kong went live. The SoftLayer passport is starting to fill its pages with stamps.

As we put the finishing touches on Amsterdam, we have Softlayer staff on three continents, so day-to-day operations get a little more complex in some areas of the business. As a member of the social media team, I've been watching the clock a lot more these days ... And that's not to suggest that I'm counting down every day until 5pm (which isn't really a "stop time" for me anyway since social media doesn't turn off at the end of our time zone's business day). What I mean by "watching the clock" is that I've had to start thinking about reaching customers on the other side of the world with relevant SoftLayer messages. I feel like I need five clocks above my desk like what you usually see in newsrooms.

When engaging in the world of social media, timing is everything. Whether it's a matter of coordinating with a press release, trying to reach people in a completely different time zone, or just responding to issues, being where you need to be when you need to be there is 90% of the battle. When you think about it, everything in life comes down to that!

Sometimes events can be planned like SoftLayer's global domination. Others catch you by surprise ... like the SMU Mustang victory. As I get close to my three-month mark as a SLayer, I'm glad I was in the right place at the right time to join the SoftLayer team. I'm excited to see how our business is going to grow, and I'm looking forward to having to invest in more time zone clocks to keep track of the local times in all of our new data center markets.

Oh, and GO MUSTANGS!!

-Rachel

October 29, 2011

Coworkers and Divisional Rivals: Football at SoftLayer

Cheering for the hometown team has always been interesting at SoftLayer. With U.S. data centers in Dallas, Houston, Washington DC, Seattle and San Jose, the "home team" varies throughout the organization. It's always fun to talk about games with fans when I'm not invested in the outcome of a game outside my favorite team's division ... And when it comes to the NBA (which no longer has a team in Seattle), it's easy to cheer for the teams that other SLayers are cheering for. When the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Championships, our Dallas techs were going crazy, and their enthusiasm was pretty contagious.

When it comes to NFL football, things are a little different. Prior to the launch of our San Jose facility, supporting each data center's home NFL team with some playful banter was normal. When San Jose came into the mix, that meant we'd have a lot of new employees (Yay!) who are probably going to be fans of my Seahawks' divisional rivals, the San Francisco 49ers (Booo! :-)). Now cheering for games gets a little trickier since we don't want a football-related civil war between offices.

In reality, I'm sure it'll never be an issue, since SLayers are like a big, diverse family ... That being said, I'm glad I wasn't in the office on the Monday after the Seahawks' opening game loss against the 49ers. My California peers would have probably been quick to chat about the game, and I probably wouldn't have wanted to talk about it. It's different for me to have coworkers who are die-hard fans of a rival team due to their geography (and not just because they are a bandwagon fan), and as we keep growing, I'm sure the football support between offices is going to keep getting more and more diverse ... My vote is that we avoid adding a data center in another NFC West rival's market, though.

The interoffice atmosphere is just another reason why I love working for SoftLayer. Our team is so different, but we're united by the common goal of making SoftLayer the best company in the world (for our customers and for our employees). For right now, I'm glad that there aren't as many soccer fans in our halls ... You don't want to see me in my soccer hooligan mode.

-Robert

October 21, 2011

SoftLayer, The Texas Rangers & The World Series

At the beginning of the baseball season, we gave away tickets for a lucky customer to see a Texas Rangers game, and as a result of that generosity, the Rangers thought it fitting to make it to the World Series. Well ... our little giveaway may not have had anything to do with their success, but we like to think our support helped a little.

Understanding that we have customers and employees who are die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fans, I don't want to turn anyone off with this blog post, but with all of the buzz in the air about the World Series coming back to Arlington this year, I started thinking about the Top 10 Ways SoftLayer is Like the Texas Rangers:

  1. Secret handshakes / fist bumps.
  2. Have a no "I" in "Team" mentality ... In fact, there are no I's in "Texas Rangers" or "SoftLayer."
  3. Teams' leaders (i.e. coach and the CEO) are ... um ... charismatic (to say the least).
  4. Come ready to play on any day that ends in "y."
  5. Strong lineups all the way through.
  6. Texas is home, but both teams do amazing jobs "on the road."
  7. Both have Michaels who like pink.*
  8. Both have Louisville Slugger bats ... The Rangers' bats do great things, while SoftLayer's bats are given to recognize employees that have done great things.
  9. Support is awesome from the customers (fans) to the back office to the team on the field making plays.
  10. Champions of the World, baby!!**

* Apologies to Michael Young, as this statement may not be true as applied to him. Each of my blogs to date has a veiled (or obvious) reference to our CFO, and it was very difficult to think of how to incorporate this reference in a blog dealing with the Texas Rangers, so I may have taken undue liberties for which I apologize.

** The aspirations associated with that last comparison may have strayed me from an unbiased comparison. :-)

-@badvizsla

October 20, 2011

Taking Multitasking to a New Level

Is it possible to be in three places at once? For SoftLayer it is! Last week was an extremely busy one for the SoftLayer team. SLayers from the marketing and sales teams were dispersed to cover three different trade shows in two separate cities where we'd meet a few thousand soon-to-be SoftLayer customers.

I attended Web 2.0 Expo in NYC – a great event where I was able to once again demystify the SoftLayer Switch Ball and explain the awesomeness of SoftLayer. Nothing too crazy to report from the expo floor, but we did have one interesting experience outside of the event where we witnessed a man sleep while standing up. We don't know how he was able to sleep for over two hours without falling over, but his execution was impressive:

NYC Sleeper

While I was in New York City, cPanel Bootcamp was happening closer to home in Austin, Texas. From what I hear, a second annual rocket war broke out, and our booth was rushed by attendees looking to stock up on ammo.

Just down the street from the cPanel conference, GDC Online was up and running in the Austin Convention Center. This was another awesome event for SoftLayer and once again the Server Challenge was a huge hit:

Congrats to Anthony Pecorella for winning with a time of 1:00.84! We know you'll enjoy your new iPad.

After both show floors closed, attendees from both cPanel Bootcamp and GDC Online joined us for some drinks, food and retro games at Maggie Mae's on Sixth Street. Notable attendees included Mario, Princess Peach and our very own Jeff Reinis who happens to be a 1983 Pac-Man record holder!

If you didn't have a chance to join SoftLayer, CoreSite and TeliaSonera at the Time Warp Retro Gaming Party, you can live vicariously via Flickr:

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make sure these three events went off without a hitch, and thanks to all of you who stopped by and said hi! We hope to see you all soon at one of our upcoming events: http://www.softlayer.com/Media/event-schedule

-Summer

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October 17, 2011

New Data Centers, Barbara Streisand & "Da Bobby G"

Dealing with jet lag, unfamiliar surroundings, foreign currencies and different languages just begins to describe my hectic life over the past two months. We've been in overdrive, building out SoftLayer's Singapore and Amsterdam data centers in weeks (rather than months).

Our "Go Live Crew" of 16 dedicated SLayers has been working 'round the clock to make sure everything is up and running on time. The biggest challenge has been building out both data centers simultaneously ... With the "Go big or go home" mindset, when we decided to go international, we went all in. Our growing customer base of 23,000 won't stand still, so we need to deliver, whether it be through innovation or expansion. In less than 60 days we've been able to add 31,000+ servers to our network platform, bringing our unique cloud, dedicated and managed hosting solutions closer to our customers around the world.

This accomplishment has been something of a "miracle," and I really need to shout out to my team members on the GLC. Putting in 16-hour days and working weekends while still finding time to go out on the weekends (Jägermeister and Red Bull have been sampled at many a fine pub) has made us a pretty close-knit family. The old "work hard, play hard" saying is an understatement when it comes to the SoftLayer team.

If we're ever dragging a bit in the morning, we can always rely on Duck Sauce to get our pulses racing again by the time we get to the data center. With such a full work schedule, we become creatures of habit, and "Barbara Streisand" is only one example of a staple for the crew. Our daily consistency has even carried over into meal time: My favorite luncheon spot in Amsterdam even named a sandwich after me – Da Bobby G Meat Sandwich. Apparently the combination of meatballs, salami, ham and (a smothering of) ketchup on a bun is not a common order at this establishment, so my innovation needed to be recognized. Nutritional considerations aside, this is one fine sandwich:

Da Bobby G

I've been on the road for a while now, and these are just a few memories I'm taking with me. Jumping around between three continents has definitely had its challenges, but with a great team of focused SLayers, we've been getting the job done. I'm proud to have had a hand in making our international aspirations a reality, and I know that even though this has already been an unbelievable adventure, we're just getting started.

-Robert

October 15, 2011

Lower Latency: Neutrino Network?

SoftLayer is on the "bleeding edge" of technology, and that's right where I'm comfortable. I love being a part of something new and relevant. I also love science fiction and find that it's mixing together with reality more and more these days. Yay for me and my nerdyness! Beam me up Luke Skywalker! (I wonder how many nerds cringed at that statement!)

In a recent post from New Scientist, a test showed neutrino particles being clocked faster than the speed of light, and a dimension-hop might be the reason. Rather than go into the nerdy parts of the article that I'm sure you read before continuing to this sentence, I want to compare how SoftLayer would use this to our (and more importantly our customers') advantage: A neutrino network! We could have the fastest network in the world, and we could use the technology for faster motherboards and components too. Because that's how we roll.

BanzaiEnter science fiction. Let's say neutrinos were indeed using another dimension to travel. Like, say, the 8th dimension as referred to in "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension." This dimension also happens to be a prison used by the Lectroids of Planet 10 to store criminals. Go figure, right? Obstacles always come up, so if our neutrino network was targeted by those Lectroids, Dody Lira and the abuse team would have no problems taking them down ... After all, Lectroid's fiddling with data can be bad for business (Not to mention the possibility of Lectroid's using our network to come back to this dimension, wreak havoc, and eat all our junk food). Dody would have to upgrade some of the tools his team uses, like a Jet Car with an "Oscillation Overthruster" (which looks eerily similar to the Flux Capacitor) to travel in and out of the 8th dimension to hunt down those pesky Lectroids that won't comply.

Then, after Dody and crew wrangle the Lectroids (as I'm sure they would), we could offer the Lectroids email and Internet service. Bam! More customers on top of a supernatural network!

Coming back to reality (a bit), we have an interesting world ahead of us. Technologies we have only seen in movies and some we haven't even imagined yet are becoming reality! If they fall into the usable realm of SoftLayer, you can bet we'll be one of the first to share them with the world. But not before we get all the bugs (and Lectroids) out.

-Brad

October 2, 2011

SoftLayer is Coming to Town

As many of you know SoftLayer is going global. Our Singapore DC goes live TOMORROW, and Amsterdam will follow suit shortly, so we put together a little "jingle" that I think you might know. It might be September, but if the stores are already putting out holiday items, Christmas songs should be fair game in October ... And since we are entering that last stretch of work before those great end-of-the-year national holidays that give us a few days off, we can use a classic tune to help us power through.

To those of you who love the song, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," you may not want to play the video below. To those who want to rubberneck at our goofiness and join us in a little fun ... play away:

If you want to sing along at home (because who wouldn't?), here are the lyrics for your karaoke pleasure:

SoftLayer is Coming to Town

You better watch out!
Competitors cry!
They're gonna pout
I'm telling you why,
SoftLayer is comin' to town

We're setting up racks
and hiring staff
We're gonna open up our Singapore branch
SoftLayer is comin to town

We're not only in Asia
We'll be in Europe too
We know that you've been waiting for this
So don't miss our big debut.

You better watch out!
Competitors cry!
They're gonna pout
I'm telling you why,
SoftLayer is comin' to town.

With two data centers and two network PoPs
Shiny new servers and cables wired up
SoftLayer is comin' to town.

DC CRAC Units that condition and cool,
Power and network in the SoftLayer Pods too.
SoftLayer is comin' to town.

The SLayers and our clients
will have to celebrate.
We're expanding SoftLayer's footprint,
Far beyond the United States.

You better watch out!
Competitors cry!
They're gonna pout,
I'm telling you why,
SoftLayer is coming to town.

Shout-outs go to all the SLayers who indulged us in this little song. We hope it's less embarrassing than you expected ... And if it's more embarrassing, we hope it's as terrible and catchy as "Friday."

Tip: If the song is stuck in your head now, one great way to distract yourself from it is to go and order a server in Singapore!

-@SKinman454

October 1, 2011

Spam All Day, Bacon All Night

As the "abuse guy," I deal with all kinds of abuse issues, and as you would imagine, SPAM is the primary point of concern. You'd probably think that dealing with spam ALLLLLL day every day would make most meat products sound unappealing, but there's one that'll never get on my bad side.

Bacon ... wrapped around random slices of meat.

Bacon Blog

Now, I could draw a comparison with bacon and a server and tell you that bacon is a mandatory component of any good breakfast, the way memory is to a server is key, but I won't. I'd rather get right to my point: Bacon, make everything better!

And when its wrapped around another piece of meat, it's like it marries the meat and they combine during the grilling process and make some sort of new flavorful offspring full of taste, combining the amazing taste of bacon with the inferior yet still good taste of the meat it's wrapped around!

But wait, there's more. Bacon also wraps nicely around chicken and cheese stuffed jalapenos, bringing a unique taste of crunchy jalapeno, melted cheese, moist chicken, and of course MORE BACON.

You should really try this at your next party. It's not hard to do. You need (1) Bacon, (2) Something to wrap it around and (3) Toothpicks. I usually cook the "wrappee" to the point where it's almost ready to eat before adding the wrapper so the bacon is perfectly cooked at the same time the internal meat is ready to eat.*

The best thing about bacon is there are sooo many choices, from kinds of bacon to available brands. Some bacon is thin, and some is thick. Some bacon is cured and some is smoked. The choice is really yours. And you can't go wrong! (Well, if you don't know what you're getting into, you might go wrong with tofu bacon and other types of fake bacon -aka- facon)

- Dody

*One note to keep in mind and this is VERY important. Bacon tends to be greasy and fatty and if you're grilling bacon over an open flame, the chances that the grease from the bacon will drip down and catch the area it lands in on fire are very ... no EXTREMELY likely and dangerous. The result could be the loss of a lot of arm hair.

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