Twitter Data Center Meltdown, AWS Rockfish Update, and More

Last updated on by Christian Koch

Hey Friends,

Happy Monday and welcome to another Weekly Briefing.

There’s a lot of focus on energy right now, and not only because of the crisis in Europe, which we’ve touched on at several points throughout the last year. In the further reading section of today’s newsletter you’ll find a few links to stories about Meta, Amazon, and Google on energy storage, decarbonization, and renewables. Big tech has deep pockets and incentive to push the limits on anything that is critical to their business and I believe that’s who we’re going to see true innovation come from when it comes to data centers and the future of energy. In fact, this is essentially already true, just take a look back at early Microsoft or AWS presentations and papers. I love to see it.

Let's get into this week's update.

Your Weekly Briefing

Cloud Infrastructure

Cloudflare wants to “Build a Better Internet” or so they claim. I believe Cloudflare has been doing quite a lot to improve the internet for both those companies than run their business on it, and those who use it. I also think that Cloudflare has a lot of difficult decisions to make in order to live up to this tagline, which I also believe they have single-handedly created for themselves. I recently noticed this statement from NS1 which got me thinking about this—Cloudflare’s failed response to Kiwi Farms—again. While I do admire the grandiose vision of making the internet better—safer for everyone, I also believe there is a line, and as a private business you’re not a government or law enforcement agency, and if you have customers doing bad shit, you have every right to prevent customers from crossing that line. No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service. I also know the internet is a complicated place, but if your mission is to “Build a Better Internet” and you can’t even take a stand to keep the internet safe, maybe its’ time for a new tagline.

I’m a big Cloudflare fan, and I’f you’ve been reading the newsletter for at least a few months, you can probably see that they get a lot of positive airtime here (see below), and rightfully so. But that doesn’t mean they’re free from criticism from time to time.

I've also had a few more offline confirmations about Cloudflare using Seagate and Oracle for R2, but after repeated email's to their PR team have gone unanswered, silence says all we need to know.

This week is also the beginning of another Cloudflare innovation week, which is a concept I absolutely love. It's GA week, so expect a bunch of products and features moving into general availability. And next week is Cloudflare's 12th birthday, which means yet another innovation week full of new products and features.

News

  • Vultr expanded its cloud infrastructure platform to Bangalore and Delhi NCR, giving the cloud provider 3 locations across India and bringing its total reach to 27 locations globally. Link
  • Microsoft announced three updates to its Azure Orbital program; 1) Azure Orbital Cloud Access, which will enable connectivity from SpaceX Starlink and other Azure edge devices to Azure cloud services as well as native integration with Juniper SD-WAN products, 2) General Availability of Azure Orbital Ground Station, and 3) Working with SES to virtualize satellite communications ground networks and more. Link
  • Cloudflare shared details about Pingora, the proxy service it developed in-house to replace NGINX, which acts as the front door to Cloudflare services. Link

Connectivity

Jeff Storey Says Goodbye

Lumen announced that its current Chief Executive Jeff Story has decided it’s time to retire, and if you’ve worked in the industry for any amount of time, you likely know who Jeff is. Godspeed Mr. Storey.

Maybe you know him as the guy who became the CEO of WilTel after Williams Communications emerged from bankruptcy, or maybe you know him as the executive who led Level 3’s acquisition of Global Crossing in 2011, later becoming the Chief Executive of Level 3 after Jim Crowe moved on. And, if neither of these ring a bell, maybe you remember Jeff from when CenturyLink acquired Level 3 and he became CEO following Glen Post's retirement, going on to rename the company to Lumen and then disposing of a lot of old and dusty, ILEC infrastructure along with some fiber and data centers to Apollo Global and Stonepeak, all while moving to re-position the company as a technology company.

The company also announced its new CEO will be Kate Johnson, former President of Microsoft US Sales, with prior roles at GE, Oracle, and Red Hat. The question is does Lumen really want to be a tech company or does it want to become a tech company because of the potential upside if it can convince the market it’s actually a tech company.

News

  • Verizon says it has connected ~48% of its cell towers with its own fiber and is on-target to reach its goal of 50%, moving away from third-party connectivity. Link
  • US Signal has been acquired by Igneo Infrastructure Partners, an infrastructure fund operated by Australian investor, First Sentier. Link
  • NILE, a new startup from former Cisco execs has launched with funding from ICONIQ, 8VC and others to bring their fully managed network infrastructure solution to the market. Link

Data Centers

Twitter’s Data Center Meltdown is being reported by CNN after big heatwaves descended upon California (yes, it sucked, I live in San Francisco and AC is foreign to this city), and more specifically, Sacramento, where one of the data centers Twitter uses is located. The dats center is operated by telecom giant NTT according to PeeringDB and several media outlets over the years that have corroborated  this information. In an odd twist, however, NTT Global Data Centers posted this on Linkedin not long after CNN’s original report to praise its teams for transferring 33MW of power from the grid to generators without any outages or disruptions to customers.

NTT Statement

“We are incredibly proud of our teams at CA2, CA3 and SV1 for the work they did last week during the record-setting temperatures in California. Each day, our teams worked closely with the  California Energy Commission  and local municipalities to determine how we could help alleviate demand on the power grid. We moved 33MW of power to our generators during peak periods every day – enough to power nearly 33,000 homes - while maintaining 100% uptime and availability. There were no outages or disruptions to our clients. Thank you to our teams for being good stewards in our communities.”

Well, thats conflicting isn't it.

News

  • EdgeConnex added a Microsoft ExpressRoute on-ramp in Portland. Link
  • Evocative acquired nine used data centers from INAP spread across Boston, New Jersey, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles (2), Silicon Valley (2), and Seattle, while also sunsetting the VPLS brand. Link
  • Cyxtera plans to convert to REIT by January 1, 2023 after Board approval. Link
  • AWS is reportedly buying up land in Dallas, TX, and the latest news references a small project in De Soto (South Dallas) estimated to cost $6M and involves public funds/land. The Data Center being built is reported to be 30K SFT, which sounds more like more of a purpose-build telecom facility than anything. Although, a us-central cloud region probably makes sense.
  • Last year it was reported that another Texas project called AWS Rockfish was underway in San Antonio. After revisiting the project its clear this is either ADC—ADC is Amazon Dedicated Cloud & Data Centers for government entities, serving unclassified, secret and top-secret workloads, or a new Gov Cloud region (or maybe both) considering proximity (click for map) to NSA facilities incl. an old data center that appears to have been demolished, managed by COPT.

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Further Reading

Energy storage boosts grid reliability and reduces emissions - Meta

A new clean energy purchasing model to drive decarbonization - Google Cloud

How Amazon Became World’s Largest Buyer of Renewable Energy | Time

From “Network Neutrality” to “Sender Pays”, the Principles Remain Much the Same

Cloud adoption will fail because of the skills gap | CloudPundit: Massive-Scale Computing

Google Loon Technology Lives On at Aalyria Technologies - Bloomberg

NIST and Google to Create New Supply of Chips for Researchers and Tech Startups | NIST

Securing 5G Open RAN Architecture from Cybersecurity Risks | CISA

SDWAN Sunsets and ZTE Emerges

Why IoT Networking is a Mess | Digits to Dollars

Latest Research Notes

Is MVE the Answer? - A Closer Look at Megaport's FY22 Results

Cloudflare, Fastly 2Q22 Highlights

Equinix 2Q22 Product & Interconnection Highlights

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