Category Archives: Uncategorized

Announcing: SwiftWater Edge Tool Works, blade and tool sharpening and repair.

Vern Burke, SwiftWater Telecom
Biddeford Maine

I’m going to part from our usual blog topics today to welcome the newest member of the SwiftWater Biddeford Companies, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works is based in Biddeford Maine and provides saw, tool, and blade sharpening, straightening, repair, and tool restoration services. If it has an edge, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works can sharpen it!

  • Home, Farm, Commercial, Industrial
  • Hand saws, circular saws, 1 and 2 man crosscut saws
  • Household and commercial knives
  • Chisels, plane irons, planer knives
  • Chain saws, axes
  • Mowing machine knives, Bush Hog blades
  • Lawn and garden
  • Straightening and handle replacement

If you don’t see your edge listed, just ask!


Monday data center tidbits: solar powering the data center, cleaning up after yourself virtually

Vern Burke, SwiftWater Telecom
Biddeford, Maine

First up today is a piece about solar power efficiency and whether it is practical to run a data center from 100% solar (it’s worth noting that all of the “100% solar” data centers that I’ve seen are very tiny). It’s going to take a long time before photovoltaic solar power is efficient enough to run a large load like a data center but any load you can shed is a benefit to the bottom line, not to mention shading the data center roof to cut down cooling costs.

Next up is the piece about virtual machine ghosts in the data center. There’s no substitute for paying attention and keeping control of what you’re doing, this isn’t rocket science. These people would have to do exactly the same thing with physical servers, why is it such an awful strain to do it with virtual ones?

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for green data center services today.

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The top 5 things Steve Jobs will say about the iPhone 4 antenna tomorrow.

Ok, I’m going to step out of the data center for a moment, this is too much fun to resist :).

5. “Sorry, we optimized the antenna tuning for signals from Mars.”

4. “It’s the fault of the Pentium floating point math bug! Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

3. “Don’t be such a cheapskate and buy the damn Bumper!”

2. “You think this is bad, wait till you see what the NEXT iPhone makes you do to get a signal! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

1. “What antenna.”

I couldn’t resist 🙂

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for cloud computing services now with CentOS, Debian, and Ubuntu!


#datacenter failures and restoring a cloud #cloudcomputing

I’ve been reading lately about the multiple recent failures that have plagued Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing service (4 in one week!). I’m not going to address the ongoing power reliability problems (I was amuse to see a recent YouTube video touting how reliable Amazon is) but I’m going to talk about cloud failure recovery.

The failure modes in a cloud computing system can include inadvertant virtual machine shutdown, partial failure of connectivity or operation of the cloud (likely due to data center failures such as Amazon’s power failures), or total failure of the entire cloud (the smoking hole disaster). Failures will always happen but taking 7 hours to restore customer virtual machines (as Amazon has done) is pathetic.

In our own cloud, based on the excellent Xen Cloud Platform, we’ve created a fully automated front end package called Xen Cloud Control System. As part of XCCS, we’ve included 3 pieces that automate the response to these type of cloud failures.

The virtual machine watchdog finds and restarts virtual machines that get unintentionally shut down, automatically, without any need for a report from the customer. Remember, detecting and resolving a failure before the customer squawks is the best policy.

The host watchdog detects and clears failed host servers so that the virtual machine watchdog can restart the virtual machines. This gets the virtual machines restarted on another running host, instead of waiting for the failed host to be repaired as Amazon seems to require.

The final piece of the puzzle is the load balancer. The load balancer automatically readjusts the cloud, compensating for failures.

These 3 pieces not only keep the cloud running as smoothly as possible, they insure the maximum time to restore customer virtual machines is 15 minutes as long as any of the cloud is still running. This is also all done automatically, no operator intervention required.

I have no idea what the heck Amazon is doing, but if the worst happens, 15 minutes to restore service on a cloud beats the stuffing out of 7 hours.


Monday data center tidbits:PUE, HUE, alphabet soup, wind power to hydro

First up today, we have yet another whack at producing a better data center efficiency metric than PUE, HUE and RPHE. The idea is that the percentage of data center power being used for servers times the theoretical max CPU performance of the server gives the efficiency of generating CPU cycles, then HUE indicates how efficiently you’re using the CPU cycles. The problem is that this totally ignores IT equipment that isn’t a server (like all your networking equipment) and ignores the substantial power consumption of the disk storage. So close, black flagged on the last lap.

Next up is the piece about Washington and Oregon wind farms for renewable energy. Obviously, one of the problems with wind for data center powering is the uneven nature of the power output. What I take away from this piece is the absolutely brilliant idea of using wind power to pump water between two reservoirs and use the water to produce nice even hydro power out. I can’t imagine it would require $2B to do this though.

Ask me about our new data center space, now available, with green DC power and free air cooling!


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Annoucement: our #datacenter is growing!

I’m pleased to announce a new 1000 sq ft expansion to our data center facilities at 22 Pearl St, Biddeford Maine! This new data center space will support our cloud computing services, as well as customer co-location services with energy saving green features.

Our 22 Pearl St locations include:

Full loading dock and freight elevator

3 phase power

Green 48VDC and 130VDC power

Free air cooling

600 lb/sq ft floor load capacity

Extensive data center security

Extensive building security

Close proximity to train and airport

Extremely reliable power, close proximity to 2 major generating stations

Only 1 1/2 hours from Boston

Partial and full cabinets to 42U available or co-locate your own.

Email or call me at 207-399-7108 for more information or visit our site at to order!


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Thursday data center tidbits: #cloudcomputing definition (again), stinky math, and more!

First up today is a piece asking if cloud computing could get any more confusing. Sure, if you keep over complicating it. Self provisioning, metered service, an insistence that cloud services can only be provisioned uniformly and not customized (take it or leave it), may be found in cloud computing variants but are NOT required parts of cloud computing.

So what is cloud computing in a nutshell. Virtualization, with the capability to integrate and manage a pool of physical and virtual resources as if they were one rather than many and multitenant use of the same physical resources. That’s it. Any argument over cloud billing or service models being “cloudier” than others is foolish.

Next up is the claim from Mike Manos that carbon regulation is going to be disruptive to data centers. Um, yup, we already knew that (why do you think data centers are working like the devil to reduce their carbon footprints?)(besides lower costs). I do have to say that comparing this to Y2K is questionable, since Y2K resulted in a miniscule number of problems, well out of proportion to the Armageddon hype.

Finally, there’s some math to consider on the HP study about using manure to power a data center. 10,000 cows=1000 servers. That’s less than half of one data center server container. 25,000 cows=1 data center server container. How many containers in Microsoft’s giant Chicago container data center? Not exactly the most practical idea in the world.

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for cloud computing services.


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