Seth Aaron Pendley was arrested on Thursday and charged with plotting to blow up an Amazon data center in Virginia, prosecutors said.
As the military seized power again, the generals moved quickly to take the country offline, criminalize online dissent and block social media.
Developers and investors see more opportunities in commercial real estate as businesses and consumers gobble up more data.
Amazon’s cloud computing business and Apple’s Macs are increasingly using the companies’ homegrown chips.
Microsoft has concluded a years-long experiment involving use of a shipping container-sized underwater data center, placed on the sea floor off the cost of Scotland’s Orkney Islands. The company pulled its ‘Project Natick’ underwater data warehouse up out of the water earlier this year at the beginning of the summer, and spent that last few months studying the datacenter, and the air it contained, to determine the model’s viability.
The results not only showed that using these offshore submerged data centers seems to work well in terms of performance, but also revealed that the servers contained within the data center proved to be up to eight times more reliable than their dry land counterparts. Researchers will be looking into exactly what was responsible for this greater reliability rate, in the hopes of also translating those advantages to land-based server farms for increase performance and efficiency across the board.
Other advantages included being able to operate with greater power efficiency, especially in regions where the grid on land is not considered reliable enough for sustained operation. That’s due in part to the decreased need for artificial cooling for the servers located within the data farm, because of the conditions at the sea floor. The Orkney Island area is covered by a 100% renewable grid supplied by both wind and solar, and while variances in the availability of both power sources would’ve proven a challenge for the infrastructure power requirements of a traditional, overland data center in the same region, the grid was more than sufficient for the same size operation underwater.
Microsoft’s Natick experiment was meant to show that portable, flexible data center deployments in coastal areas around the world could prove a modular way to scale up data center needs while keeping energy and operation costs low, all while providing smaller data centers closer to where customers need them, instead of routing everything to centralized hubs. So far, the project seems to have done specularly well at showing that. Next, the company will look into seeing how it can scale up the size and performance of these data centers by linking more than one together to combine their capabiilities.
A proposal to give scientists access to huge data sets and powerful computers.
Equinix, the data center company, has the distinction of recently recording its 69th straight positive quarter. One way that it has achieved that kind of revenue consistency is through strategic acquisitions. Today, the company announced that it’s purchasing 13 data centers from Bell Canada for $750 million, greatly expanding its footing in the country.
The deal is financially detailed by Equinix across two axes, including how much the data centers cost in terms of revenue, and adjusted profit. Regarding revenue, Equinix notes that it is paying $750 million for what it estimates to be $105 million in “annualized revenue,” calculated using the most recent quarter’s results multiplied by four. This gives the purchase a revenue multiple of a little over 7x.
Equinix also provided an adjusted profit multiple, saying that the 13 data center locations “[represent] a purchase multiple of approximately 15x EV / adjusted EBITDA.” Unpacking that, the company is saying that the asset’s enterprise value (similar to market capitalization, a popular valuation metric for public companies) is worth about 15 times its earnings before interest, taxes, deprecation and amortization (EBITDA). This seems a healthy price, but not one that is outrageous.
The acquisition not only gives the company that additional revenue and a stronger foothold in the 10th largest economy in the world, it also gains 600 customers using the Bell data centers, of which 500 are net new.
As much of the world is attempting to digitally transform in the midst of the pandemic and current economic crisis, Equinix sees this as an opportunity to help more Canadian customers go digital more quickly.
“Equinix has been serving the Canadian market in Toronto for more than a decade. This expansion and scale gives the Canadian market a clear and rapid migration path to digital transformation. We’re looking forward to deepening our relationships with our existing Canada-based customers and helping new companies throughout the country position themselves for digital success,” Jon Lin, Equinix President, Americas told TechCrunch.
This is not the first time that Equinix has taken a bunch of data centers off of the hands of a telco. In fact, three years ago, the company bought 29 centers from Verizon (which is the owner of TechCrunch) for $3.6 billion.
As telcos move away from the data center business, companies like Equinix are able to come in and expand into new markets and increase revenue. It’s one of the ways it continues to generate positive revenue year after year.
Today’s deal is just part of that strategy to keep expanding into new markets and finding new ways to generate additional revenue as more companies use their services. Equinix rents space in its data centers and provides all the services that companies need without having to run their own. That would include things like heating, cooling, racks and wiring.
Even though public cloud companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google are generating headlines with growing revenues, plenty of companies still want to run their own equipment without going to the expense of actually owning the building where the equipment resides.
Today’s deal is expected to close in the second half of the year, assuming it clears all of the regulatory scrutiny required in a purchase like this one.
There’s something to be said for consistency through good times and bad, and one company that has had a staggeringly consistent track record is international data center vendor, Equinix. It just recorded its 69th straight positive quarter, according to the company.
That’s an astonishing record, and covers over 17 years of positive returns. That means this streak goes back to 2003. Not too shabby.
The company had a decent quarter, too. Even in the middle of an economic mess, it was still up 6% YoY to $1.445 billion and up 2% over last quarter. The company runs data centers where companies can rent space for their servers. Equinix handles all of the infrastructure providing racks, wiring and cooling — and customers can purchase as many racks as they need.
If you’re managing your own servers for even part of your workload, it can be much more cost-effective to rent space from a vendor like Equinix than trying to run a facility on your own.
Among its new customers this quarter are Zoom, which is buying capacity all over the place, having also announced a partnership with Oracle earlier this month, and TikTok. Both of those companies deal in video and require lots of different types of resources to keep things running.
This report comes against a backdrop of a huge increase in resource demand for certain sectors like streaming video and video conferencing, with millions of people working and studying at home or looking for distractions.
And if you’re wondering if they can keep it going, they believe they can. Their guidance calls for 2020 revenue of $5.877-$5.985 billion, a 6-8% increase over the previous year.
You could call them the anti-IBM. At one point Big Blue recorded 22 straight quarters of declining revenue in an ignominious streak that stretched from 2012 to 2018 before it found a way to stop the bleeding.
When you consider that Equnix’s streak includes the period of 2008-2010, the last time the economy hit the skids, it makes the record even more impressive, and certainly one worth pointing out.
In spite of being in the midst of a pandemic sowing economic uncertainty, one area that continues to thrive is cloud computing. Perhaps that explains why Microsoft, which saw Azure grow 59% in its most recent earnings report, announced plans to open a new data center in New Zealand once it receives approval from the Overseas Investment Office.
“This significant investment in New Zealand’s digital infrastructure is a testament to the remarkable spirit of New Zealand’s innovation and reflects how we’re pushing the boundaries of what is possible as a nation,” Vanessa Sorenson, general manager at Microsoft New Zealand said in a statement.
The company sees this project against the backdrop of accelerating digital transformation that we are seeing as the pandemic forces companies to move to the cloud more quickly with employees often spread out and unable to work in offices around the world.
As CEO Satya Nadella noted on Twitter, this should help companies in New Zealand that are in the midst of this transformation. “Now more than ever, we’re seeing the power of digital transformation, and today we’re announcing a new datacenter region in New Zealand to help every organization in the country build their own digital capability,” Nadella tweeted.
The company wants to do more than simply build a data center. It will make this part of a broader investment across the country, including skills training and reducing the environmental footprint of the data center.
Once New Zealand comes on board, the company will boast 60 regions covering 140 countries around the world. The new data center won’t just be about Azure, either. It will help fuel usage of Office 365 and the Dynamics 365 back-office products, as well.
At a time where all of the news seems to point toward negative economic activity, Synergy Research released a report today that data center M&A activity made a strong showing this quarter, already surpassing 2019 levels.
The surge was mostly related to the $8.4 billion Interxion acquisition by Digital Realty, which Synergy says was the largest data center deal ever. It pushed the deal total this quarter to almost $15 billion on 28 closed deals.
2017 was the best year ever since Synergy has tracked these deals with more than $20 billion trading hands. That record could easily be within reach this year if this level of investment continues.
Of course, in the current economic situation, there is no guarantee that will happen, but it is clear that cloud usage is going strong and data center demand is something that’s not likely to abate any time soon. In fact, Synergy’s chief analyst John Dinsdale believes the numbers will continue to climb with lots more deals ready to close soon. He says that should make it a bumper year for data center M&A activity.
“In less than four months, the M&A value has already surpassed 2019, in addition to which we are aware of 17 more agreed deals that are pending closure plus a few other potential multi-billion dollar deals,” Dinsdale said in a statement.
He added, “Outsourcing trends and the aggressive growth in cloud services are driving ever-growing demand for data center capacity, which in turn is fueling both industry restructuring and a need to find new sources of investment capital.”
Synergy has been tracking the data center M&A market since 2015. Since that time, it has identified 388 deals totaling over $90 billion. Looks like that number is only going to keep growing this year in spite of external economic factors.
Google’s data centers run 24/7 and suck up a ton of energy — so it’s in both the company’s and the planet’s interest to make them do so as efficiently as possible. One new method has the facilities keeping an eye on the weather so they know when the best times are to switch to solar and wind energy.
The trouble with renewables is that they’re not consistent, like the output of a power plant. Of course it isn’t simply that when the wind dies down, wind energy is suddenly ten times as expensive or not available — but there are all kinds of exchanges and energy economies that fluctuate depending on what’s being put onto the grid and from where.
Google’s latest bid to make its data centers greener and more efficient is to predict those energy economies and schedule its endless data-crunching tasks around them.
It’s not that someone at Google looks up the actual weather for the next day and calculates how much solar energy will be contributed in a given region and when. Turns out there are people who can do that for you! In this case a firm called Tomorrow.
Weather patterns affect those energy economies, leading to times when the grid is mostly powered by carbon sources like coal, and other times when renewables are contributing their maximum.
What Google is doing is watching this schedule of carbon-heavy and renewable-heavy periods on the grid and shuffling things around on its end to take advantage of them. By stacking all its heavy compute tasks into time slots where the extra power they will draw is taken from mostly renewable energy sources, they can reduce their reliance on carbon-heavy power.
It only works if you have the kind of fluid and predictable digital work that Google has nurtured. When energy is expensive or dirty, the bare minimum of sending emails and serving YouTube videos is more than enough to keep its data centers busy. But when it’s cheap and green, compute-heavy tasks like training machine learning models or video transcoding can run wild.
This informed time-shifting is a smart and intuitive idea, though from Google’s post it’s not clear how effective it really is. Usually when the company announces some effort like this, it’s accompanied by estimates of how much energy is saved or efficiency gained. In the case of this time-shifting experiment, the company is uncharacteristically conservative:
“Results from our pilot suggest that by shifting compute jobs we can increase the amount of lower-carbon energy we consume.”
That’s a lot of hedging for something that sounds like a home run on paper. A full research paper is forthcoming, but I’ve asked Google for more information in the meantime; I’ll update this post if I hear back.
Amazon is hiring aggressively to meet customer demand. Traffic has soared on Facebook and YouTube. And cloud computing has become essential to home workers.