Category: cix

A carbon neutral data centre?

I honestly don’t know if this is possible or if it has been done anywhere but our aim in CIX is to try to build a carbon neutral data centre.

Carbon neutral means that the data centre doesn’t create greenhouse gases and add to the climate change problems the planet is experiencing.

Data centres are notorious for requiring vast amounts of electricity and as we are based in a nuclear-free country, it is difficult to use lots of electricity without producing significant quantities of CO2.

We have a strategy document on how we can achieve this but to get there we need other partners to buy into the idea.

How revolutionary do you think this idea is? Would you put your racks/servers into a carbon neutral data centre over and above a carbon producing one?

Site moved to new server

I moved this site onto a new server last night (since my former hosting company told me they no longer wanted my business).

I have to say, it seems to be far faster as a result (not really surprising – there are far fewer sites on this server). Let me know if you come across any problems.

The server is in the new CIX data centre in Cork. CIX is not finished yet but when it is, it will be Ireland’s first fully redundant data centre outside of Dublin

[Disclosure – I am a director or CIX Ltd.]

Just to clarify

I have heard it back that the reason for my recent posts about Blacknight is nothing to do with my poor customer service experience but rather because I am trying to bully Blacknight into becoming a customer of CIX!!!

In case anyone else has heard this ridiculous rumour and has put any stock in it let me address it quickly.

First off, anyone who knows Michele (MD of Blacknight), knows that any attempt to bully him into doing anything is definitely not going to work!

Secondly, how does this work anyway? Bully someone into buying something? Surely if I was chasing Michele as a customer for CIX, I would have been singing Blacknight and Michele’s praises on the blog. Not picking up on the failings of Blacknight’s customer service.

Finally, as far as I recall, I only spoke to Michele once about hosting in CIX. This was when I called him to inform him of our intention to build an N+1 data centre in Cork way back in July or August of last year. At the time Michele didn’t express much interest and said he wouldn’t commit to anything but that he may take a rack in the data centre when it had been in operation a year or so and had proven itself. I asked him to forward on any requirements he’d have from a data centre. He never did.

Not exactly a hot prospect so I didn’t think about him much more in relation to CIX as we had far larger prospects to chase.

Wikis for quality manual projects?

Wikis are great tools for documentation projects. Especially if the people creating the documents are dispersed geographically.

However, I am embarking on a project to write a quality manual for the CIX data centre (Cork’s first fully redundant data centre). Part of the process in creating a quality manual is that the various sections within it need to be reviewed and approved before they can be released.

Does anyone know of a wiki with that functionality built-in?

Busy couple of days

I have a busy couple of days ahead – expect light posting.
– today I have a couple of CIX-related sales meetings
– I have an it@cork pre-conference podcast with Eddie Hobbs to edit and publish
– tomorrow I have several meetings in Dublin followed by the Netvisionary Awards night
– Friday I have an early morning (6:50 am) flight to Brussels for the Microsoft Belgium gig followed by a blogger’s dinner in Belgium
– Saturday, I fly back to Cork (wohoo!) through Dublin (d’oh! – I despise Dublin airport)
– phew!

Online presentation software review

There is plenty of talk around the online Word processor space and the online Spreadsheet space but you don’t hear as much about the online Presentation space (think online PowerPoint). This is one plank currently missing from Google’s online Office offering.

The other CIX guys and I have a need to create a presentation and, as we are all based in different offices, an online Presentation tool seemed like the way to go.

I had a look through three of the online Presentation tools I am aware of – Thumbstacks, Zoho Show, and ThinkFree.

Because of the poor interface and the lack of support for Safari, I didn’t bother going much farther than the online demo with Thumbstacks.

The next was Zoho Show. To test this, I created a simple (28kb) 2 slide PowerPoint presentation using the builtin Blue Diagonal template. I uploaded it to Zoho Show only to have it appear as below. Ugh!

Zoho Show

Finally, I uploaded the same presentation to ThinkFree and it rendered perfectly.
ThinkFree

ThinkFree didn’t maintain the transitions between the slides but had no problems allowing me to edit the presentation adding slides and bullet points to my heart’s content.

ThinkFree is written in Java so it takes a long time to load, the first time you run it, but thereafter it loads faster. Its functionality is very comprehensive even allowing me to add transitions to slides (but I couldn’t find a way to add transitions to bullet points).

I was easily able to add collaborators (although I haven’t heard back from them yet to see what their impressions were).

Zoho Show has a 5mb upload limit whereas ThinkFree’s upload limit is 10mb. This is an important differentiator considering PowerPoint files are typically quite large.

I should mention that both Zoho and ThinkFree have other offerings like online Word Processors and Spreadsheets but I didn’t look into their functionality this time out.

So, the number of offerings in online Presentation space is limited and, so far, ThinkFree seems to be the best of them.

Cork's Data Centre – CIX

I have long bemoaned the lack of a real data centre in Cork. Having worked for several web application companies in the past, I know the value of having a professional data centre local to you. Sure, most server management can be done remotely, but there is no substitute for that nice warm feeling you have when you know your servers are no more than 20-30 minutes away, in the event of something going horribly wrong.

To that end, a group of three like-minded businessmen and myself have come together to build Cork’s first purpose-built, fully redundant, professional data centre, under the name Cork Internet eXchange (CIX).

The project is well underway. This week we ran a successful power load test on our backup diesel generator. The generator, which has a 650 litre diesel tank, came fully online within seconds of power being cut to the building – our substantial UPS bank ensured no power was lost during those seconds.

In the photo below, you can just make out the lid on the exhaust has lifted as the generator started.
Successful CIX diesel generator power test

The CIX data centre initiative was first announced at BarCamp Ireland.