Posts Tagged 'Web Hosting'

July 1, 2011

PHIL's DC: Fine-Tuning the Idea

When Lance opened the floor for SoftLayer employees to present their ideas for "innovative" approaches to the Internet, I put together a pretty ambitious proposal. As it turns out, the idea wasn't as fully baked as I may have wanted it to be, but I came to the decision to change gears a little and take a different approach.

Completely unrelated to that personal decision to adjust the direction of the project, I had a nice little chat with Lance on the phone. We decided that the world was underready for a revolution and that a more traditional nontraditional approach was in order:

The Internet needs data centers to hold all of your pictures. SoftLayer does a great job at being a data center, but I feel like there's still an opportunity for a revolution in data center design. I have a few ideas about how the world of web hosting can be completely redefined, and with the unique resources Lance has put at my disposal, I'm fairly confident that I'll be able to create a stellar hosting platform with an unbeatable discount price structure. PHIL's DC is the future of web hosting.

- PHIL

April 28, 2008

Everybody Knows Sevens and Nines Don't Figure

Through the virtue of me having young parents, at age nine my own son Taylor has the fortune of not just having grandparents, but great grandparents alive and well. On my mother’s side in particular, I have a grandfather (after who I am named), who is still quite the traveler at age 72. While he lives in Ohio he frequently “pops in” on my son and me. Despite his inability to call and let me know he is coming or how long he will stay, once I get over the initial shock of discovering he is waiting in the driveway for me to come home from work and welcome him into my home, we usually do have a nice visit. (Though he has yet to convince me to give him his own garage door opener despite asking on more than one occasion!)

My son especially likes having his great-grandfather around. My grandfather, as I am sure do most grandfathers, has seventy plus years worth of stories and opinions and riddles he has collected over a remarkably varied life. And if there is one thing that my grandfather is not, it is shy; so my son finds his great grandpa immensely entertaining--as did I at age nine. (Although between you and me I really thought by the time I was nine I had stopped falling for the old pull-my-finger trick that still sends my grandfather and my son into fits of laughter visit after visit.)

The last time my grandfather came out to visit, Taylor had a lot of homework. So after dinner my grandfather settled onto the couch to watch wrestling, (pronounced WRAST’lin), and Taylor and I went about trying to do his homework. The assignment was geared at reinforcing multiplication tables. Something my son struggled with for a bit. So we were working on it for a while. Long enough that my grandfather decided either the school was passing out too much homework, or I was explaining it wrong. So like any concerned great grandparent would do my grandfather clicked off the TV, walked into the kitchen, and pulled up a chair intent on showing us the error of our ways.

Grandpa asked Taylor to explain the assignment--which my son did. Without warning Grandpa then plucked the page and pencil from my son’s hands and proceeded to stare over a multiplication problem for some time. The page stared back at him.

128 x 69 =

Taylor and I watched with growing fascination as grandpa proceeded to scribble nearly as many figures on the page as there were problems. At last he grunted and wrote his answer.

8960

Now I am by no means a mathematical giant, but something seemed a bit peculiar about his answer. So I did a quick computation and came up with 8,832. And while I was still trying to politely figure out how to tell my grandpa “thanks but no thanks”, my son didn’t show any such discretion.

“That’s wrong Great Grandpa!” he exclaimed.

My grandfather took the page back, made some more of his calculations in the margin, then looked up in all seriousness and said to my son:

“Taylor, you are old enough to know the truth.”

I have to tell you at this moment I was pretty shocked. While I was not sure what great personal revelation my grandfather intended to make, I was sure it was to be a difficult one. Every father and grandfather and great grandfather wants the children in his life to see him as a giant, a genius, a god. I could only imagine how difficult this was going to be for my grandfather to explain to my son that times had changed, things had changed, and maybe he wasn’t as sharp as he once was. My grandfather said none of those things. Instead he continued:

“Taylor, your teachers and your school and your principal aren’t going to tell you this, but the truth is when it comes to arithmetic, and I mean real world arithmetic, not the stuff they have picked out for you and put into those books, well the truth is 7’s and 9’s don’t figure. The answer to your homework will never come out right because one of the numbers ends with a 9. So I did the only thing you can do, in real life I mean, I rounded the 9 up to a 10. Sure you can round a 7 or 9 down as well if you want to low-ball it, but I figured this would be easier for you to follow.”

I stared for a moment, incredulous, not sure if my son was believing this, if my grandfather was believing it. I had no earthly idea what to say. Then I thought about my grandfather who in his day had worked as a machinist, who built the die and tool that was used to punch the first removable soda-pop top. Remember, (or maybe you don’t), those first aluminum soda cans that had the tab you just pulled off of the can entirely and chucked it onto the ground? Obviously that was before “give a hoot—don’t pollute” and those pull tabs littered highways everywhere until someone got the idea to make the tab a part of the larger can. Still, discounting the negative environmental aspect, in its day the pop-top was an ingenious piece of engineering. A technological leap and my grandfather was a part of it.

Then I considered how much computers have changed, from the time when I was an 11 year old boy banging out BASIC on my TRS-80, to now when the processor in my wristwatch has more memory and operating capacity than some of the machines that were remarkably once labeled “personal computers”. Day in and day out at the office, I see the technological envelope pushed here at SoftLayer. We offer our customers the latest and greatest from integrated remote out of band management, to high speed fault tolerant digital backups. I am an integral part of one of the most exciting and talked about technology ventures in the history of webhosting. Yet will there come a day when I am sitting at the table with my own son’s children wondering how it happened that I can’t manage to come up with the correct answer for an elementary school problem?

“Well for now,” I said trying to sound authoritative, “I guess we better do it the way your teacher wants—the way the book explains it. You have quite a while to go before you are out in the real-world and by then I bet you have figured out how things work all on your own.” Taylor shrugged and wrote down 8,832. Grandpa started to speak, hesitated, and then held up his index finger. “Does this look crooked to you Taylor?” he asked. “Say maybe you could help me straighten it out by giving it a little pull?” Laughter ensued.

-William

Categories: 
October 19, 2007

A Well Designed Infrastructure Makes Everyone Green

As we all know there is an incredible amount of attention being paid to the “greening” of IT. Most people in the hosting industry regard this as the responsibility of the datacenter, as they can make the largest impact with their large-scale deployments of energy-efficient power supplies and processors, efficient physical layouts, cooling practices, and recycling.

Outside of the hosting industry the options become more varied—namely the ability to save massive amounts of power by turning off unneeded infrastructure during non-peak times. A great example would be a call center that operates 9-5 and shuts their workstations down when not in use, or an accounting firm that turns off their billing servers when they go home for the day. This is far from a common practice currently, but it is a very logical and easy step to conserving power. The gotcha here is that unless you can physically walk over to the infrastructure and power it back on, you are going to have to call someone to do it for you. Then wait for them to do it for you. Then hope that they don't forget. This leaves many businesses with infrastructure in an outsourced datacenter throwing their hands in the air, because it's frankly just too risky to not have their resources available at 9:00am when their day starts—might as well just leave everything on.

The story is a little different here at SoftLayer. Using our innovative network design and remote power control, our customers are redefining the way that IT is deployed in an outsourced datacenter. They run their web and mail servers here, pretty normal stuff. But utilizing the SSL to private backend network feature (allowing them to completely disable connectivity to the public network), they are also deploying their domain controllers here. And their office file servers. And their central servers to which their local thin clients connect. They are getting them out of the closet in the back of the office and into a datacenter on enterprise-grade hardware. And you know what they do at the end of the day? They turn them off. The next morning, a click on the power control in the SoftLayer Portal brings them instantly back online anytime, day or night. No phone call to support needed, no waiting for someone else to do it for you. The impact of technology designed to give you optimal control of your IT environment is staggering, especially when you see so many companies utilizing it.

So not only can you choose to deploy your operations in a datacenter that is making enormous strides in green infrastructure, but you can also deploy in one that provides you with the ability to control your own impact as well.

And just like that, everyone gets to be green. And sorry, envy doesn't count.

-Joshua

Subscribe to web-hosting