4 Green Data Center Certifications to Think About

certifiedWith U.S. President Obama’s recent decree about better business practices to address climate change, more companies are thinking green.

Sure, software defined data center technologies are hot right now, but data center education needs more than just knowing how to deploy another virtual machine. We anticipate that green data centers are going to continue to trend upward as the cost of energy goes up and further legislation makes old energy hog switches a thing of the past.

You may already know about the best green data center conferences, but green certifications could help further distinguish your data center and employees from others in the market place.  Here are some of the prominent green certifications to consider for your data center personnel.

Six Sigma – There are a several levels of Six Sigma certifications – from dabblers to full indoctrinators and Master Black Belts. These certifications are especially useful for IT data center management positions and/or executives in a very large data-centric organization.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Building Operation and Maintenance: Data Centers – This certification address the specific “needs of high density computing equipment such as server racks, used for data storage and processes.” As new data centers go up in the wake of big data, qualified data center professionals will further differentiate your employees.

Schneider Electric Data Center Certified Associate (DCCA) – There are loads of vendor-specific data center certifications out there, but the DCCA focuses on the physical realities of the data center infrastructures – we’re talking power and cooling, racks, cabling and management. The free training courses from Schneider Electric can be completed in about 15 hours, and the single exam only costs about $250, which makes it the best bargain on this list. Schneider also offers the Professional Energy Manager (PEM) which is geared toward energy auditing and increasing efficiency of existing facilities – which is another $250 exam.

Certified Data Centre Energy Professional (CDCEP) — While you’ve undoubtedly heard of CNet’s Certified Data Centre Management Professional (CDCMP) cert, the CDCEP aims specifically at energy efficiency within the data center in order to both reduce carbon emissions and save the almighty dollar (or Euro, as the case may be). It stays current on the latest EU Code of Conduct on Data Centres’ Energy Efficiency. It’s a pretty hefty time and money investment in the beginning and requires recertification every three years, but it remains a highly sought cert that could set you apart from other data center executives.

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Strong Q2 Reports Continue Coming in Fro

Strong Q2 Reports Continue Coming in From U.S. Data Center REITs | Data Center Knowledge http://ow.ly/A3SBi

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Egnyte’s offers up its cloudy capabilities to EMC storage boxes

emc-storage-boxes-bob-mical-flickrEgnyte, a startup with software for storing and sharing documents in public clouds and in companies’ own data centers, has cooked up technology that lets EMC’s widely adopted storage hardware throw data up and out to the cloud.

Egnyte announced the news today after working for months with EMC engineering and product teams. Egynte has previously offered a similar product for NetApp’s storage hardware, but EMC is bigger.

The new offering, called Storage Sync for EMC’s VNX product line, could help Egnyte continue to pull in serious revenue and stay visible even as companies like Google and Microsoft buy storage infrastructure at scale and let people use it through the cloud for cheap.

And the new service can give Egnyte another way to stand out from cloud-only file-sharing services likeBox and Dropbox.

“We’re saying the model is shifting. On-premise and cloud both have an equally important role to play,” Vineet Jain, chief executive and a co-founder of Egnyte, said in an interview with VentureBeat.

More generally, Egnyte wants to expand its market. No longer does it want to exclusively provide technology for syncing and sharing. It’s also eager to offer its wares to enable cross-site collaboration and replication, cloud tiering and archiving, and as a cloud file server, Jain said. That shift acknowledges the commoditization in the cloud-only file sharing business.

The offering should appeal to companies that have shelled out for EMC gear but might run into capacity issues.

Egnyte can provide to such companies an “unlimited disk in the sky,” Jain said.

And it can do so without forcing companies to buy dedicated “cloud gateway” hardware for shipping data to the cloud. It’s all software. Not that such technology isn’t interesting to EMC, which bought cloud-gateway company TwinStrata recently, or Microsoft, which bought StorSimple in 2012, for that matter.

But such products view the public cloud as a passive place to store stuff, Jain said.

“In our case,” he said, “cloud is active. It’s almost a philosophical point.”

Egnyte announced a $29.5 million round in December.

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CenturyLink chosen by CoinTerra as Data Center Provider

bitcoinCenturyLink announced Wednesday that it has signed a multimegawatt data center deal to host CoinTerra Inc.’s rapidly growing Bitcoin-mining operations in CenturyLink data centers.

CoinTerra designs, produces and operates best-in-class hardware and software that power the Bitcoin blockchain ecosystem. Bitcoin is a “crypto-currency” that operates on a user-powered, peer-to-peer payment network. The company estimates that more than 15 percent of the total Bitcoin network runs using CoinTerra hardware.

“As the Bitcoin ecosystem continues to flourish, CoinTerra’s continuously expanding mining operations require reliable power and extremely high levels of availability to ensure peak performance,” said CoinTerra CEO Ravi Iyengar. “CenturyLink’s expertise, operational efficiency and immense data center presence provide us with the ability to safely and securely operate truly powerful and reliable Bitcoin mining on an enterprise scale.”

With CenturyLink, CoinTerra’s growing Bitcoin mining operations are currently housed across multiple data centers, with additional locations scheduled to be brought online in the coming months.

“CoinTerra started its search for a co-location provider by looking for commodity power, but quickly learned how CenturyLink’s capabilities — from our data center operations to cooling systems that keep infrastructure operating efficiently — would provide an even greater return on investment to keep the company on a path for rapid growth and future success,” said David Meredith, senior vice president and general manager, CenturyLink Technology Solutions. “We make life easier for CoinTerra, allowing them to focus on what they do best — developing and operating Bitcoin-mining processors and systems — while we ensure the security and reliability of their expanding infrastructure.”

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Bitcoin Infrastructure May Grow by $600M

Bitcoin Infrastructure May Grow by $600M in Second Half of 2014 http://ow.ly/zaUCy

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Montgomery County MD steps up tax incentives with $12M for ByteGrid Data Center tenants

Montgomery County MD has agreed to give tenants of ByteGrid’s Silver Spring data center up to $12 million in property tax breaks over 12 years, the first such move for a county looking to foster a competitive data center cluster and fend off competing jurisdictions.

The package of tax breaks applies to customers of ByteGrid, which operates — and leases space in — two facilities totaling 91,000 square feet on its main Silver Spring campus. “Given the extraordinarily high personal property investment for IT infrastructure by the tenants of these centers, the easiest way for us to level the playing field is to offset some of those infrastructure costs over a 12 year period of time,” said Montgomery County Economic Development Director Steve Silverman.

When Silverman says “level the playing field” (and he did say this several times), he’s referring to the patchwork of tax initiatives that state and local governments have passed in recent years. Oregon, for example, has passed a series of tax breaks aimed at attracting and retaining Google’s and Facebook’s server farms. Virginia, which boasts one of the country’s largest data center hubs in Loudoun County, has passed measures of its own.

Many jurisdictions, including Montgomery County, have opted to focus their data center incentives around personal property taxes, which can present a particularly big burden to an equipment-heavy business.

The MoCo measure doesn’t, however, mean the county will get no tax revenue from incoming ByteGrid tenants. Under the county’s predictions, those tenants will spend the amount of money that would normally (assuming no incentives) produce $36 million in local tax revenue over a dozen years. With the tax package, “We end up, out of every dollar that would be generated by new tenants coming to ByteGrid’s data center, we will get 67 cents,” Silverman said.

Bill Flook covers technology, biotech and venture capital.

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Avere raises $20M to make its storage boxes a hit for high performance at scale

Avere Systemsavere_fxt_edgefiler, a company that sells data center storage hardware containing fast solid-state drives and more traditional hard disk drives, announced today $20 million in fresh funding. The deal should have the effect of making Avere a bigger name in storage land.

A big-name investor led the new round: Western Digital Capital, the investment arm of storage giant Western Digital.

“They’re looking for new and interesting places to put their drives, and really just extend the applications where their drives makes sense to use,” Ron Bianchini, president and chief executive of the startup, said in an interview with VentureBeat.

Avere sells some all-flash boxes, but it also has models that pack in a blend of disk and flash.

Public markets have jumped on companies selling all-flash or hybrid storage boxes. Violin Memory and Nimble Storage have both gone public in the past year. Meanwhile venture firms have backed startups like Nutanix and Tintri.

A big goal at Avere is to use flash in such a way that companies don’t run into performance lag if they keep some data in the cloud. Microsoft and more recently EMC have bought their way in to the market of storage boxes that negotiate the divide between on-premises data centers and public clouds, but Avere stands out from cloud gateways by cutting out the latency that stems from grabbing data in a cloud, said Bianchini, one of Avere’s founders. “Think of our box as a gateway plus the performance part of a NAS [network-attached storage],” he said.

The company has shown how its gear can work in association with object-storage services from companies like Amplidata and Cleversafe, as well as public clouds like Amazon Web Services.

“Our basic roadmap is to certify us in front of more and more of the different repositories,” Bianchini said.

To date Avere has raised $72 million, including a $17 million round in 2010 and a $15 million round a year before that.

In addition to Western Digital Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners and Tenaya Capital also participated in the new round. Much of the new money will go toward sales and marketing.

Avere started in 2008 and is based in Pittsburgh. About 100 people work for the company now, and in a year or so, that number should increase to around 130, Bianchini said.

The company now has hundreds of customers, including ION Geophysical, Rising Sun Pictures, and Turner Broadcasting.

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