Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Rack Revolution

As I sit here in my cozy home on my comfy couch, I am bewildered and amazed at just how far things have come in the last decade.

Let's take a quick inventory of my immediate surroundings:

  • Laptop
  • WiFi
  • Smart Phone
  • HD TV
  • High Speed Internet
  • Server Farm

Hmm...that last one's a bit different from the old days. I used to have a nice collection of loudly humming, room-warming servers in my garage. As a telecommuter, I needed it. My blog was running on it, my email was running on it and my firewall was running on it.

What happened? Well, we all know the answer to that question: things consolidated into the "Cloud." Instead of under-the-table boxes running our local services, we now have providers doing the heavy (literally) lifting for us.

So what do they run on? Practically the same loudly humming room-warmers that we used to keep under our desks. However, in recent years, the move is being made to lower the operating costs of these rack farms into quiet, low-powered, self-cooling, maintainable animals.

As most places have tried to just tone down, or spread thin, some have been making the move to efficiency. Enter the reverse revolution of the CPU to something more applicable to today's computing needs. Instead of powering with high-wattage x86 chips, many are dipping their toes into the shallow end of the alternative-processor kiddy-pool.

And with that I introduce an amazing NEW and WILD CPU: PowerPC!

Oh, you've heard of it? It's legacy and old-hat, you say? I must be thinking of a different PowerPC CPU then. The company I've been gainfully employed with for the past 1.5 years seems to be using something quite different than your grandmother's Power chip. Not quite the behemoth of the IBM Power7 iron (in size nor noise), but not the wussy of your old PowerMac neither.

We're talking multiway SoCs with full floating-point running at a fraction of the wattage of just about anything else on the market. Add with it full hardware virtualization (via KVM), and you begin to see where in the market this is headed.

We've already been engaging multiple Linux and software vendors to give a complete and first rate experience on this new class of hardware. You'll have multiple choices when it comes to supporting and administrating, whether it's one system or a room full of racks filled.

So here's my not-so-humble way of introducing you to Servergy, Inc.. They've been around for 3 years, but expect to be hearing a lot more about us in the coming months. If you're going to be at a Linux or Cloud/Server related event in the near future, chances are you will run into one of us. I'll actually be at Ubuntu's UDS-r in Copenhagen at the end of October. I'm hoping to have a live demonstration while I'm there.


NOTE: In this article I am speaking solely on my behalf. None of what I've said can be taken as a statement by the company I work for: Servergy, Inc.


  1. While in general, I like this concept, I am also cynical enough to believe that companies want your data for their own nefarious purposes. Like determining your tastes/preferences, tracking you, and so forth.

    The other issue I have is that very few of these companies in the cloud deploy their offerings in what I would consider a secure manner. The number of sites getting their databases popped and put on pastebin grows every week, because they don't properly store their password files. In addition, you occasionally see bombshells dropped such as Dropbox using the same key to encrypt user data.

    Finally, there is the whole government interference thing. I saw an article about an OWS member being arrested for a misdemeanor for being on the Brooklyn Bridge during a protest. The judge subpoenaed his Twitter records, and threatened Twitter with a contempt charge if they didn't turn them over. Normally, this type of data requires a warrant, but the judge did not do this. So Twitter is being coerced into turning over data illegally.

    It comes down to once it leaves your perimeter, your data is not your own any more. With some things, I'm okay with that, but others, not so much.

  2. @Brad While I understand your concerns and worries, that's more of an issue with cloud managing companies having safer and more secure practices. Not something that Servergy directly deals with.

    That being said, however, our systems offer some hardware based security features that I can't delve into at this time, but they do allow for more secure partitioning of virtual machines and accelerated crypto. This can always aid in making the cloud more secure.

  3. I understand, Ben, and I wasn't making an indictment of Servergy by any means. I was more looking at the state of the industry in general. It's more about implementation of security controls, which is in the realm of the cloud operators, not the backend systems.

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