LightEdge joins Cisco Intercloud Partnership Ecosystem


September 29th, 2014

Today’s Intercloud announcement further solidifies our strategic long-term partnership with Cisco.  LightEdge customers rely on us for local high-touch network, colocation, consulting, managed hosting, and cloud services.  Although LightEdge is aggressively building data centers in the Midwest, we need to be able to service those customers requiring both a national or global footprint.  Cisco’s Intercloud offering with application centric infrastructure, open standards, data center infrastructure, and marketplace allows for us to do just that.  In addition, partnering on this project, allows us to offer continual innovation of our existing Cisco powered cloud services. Whether it’s in our data centers, at the customer premise, in the Intercloud, or a hybrid of the three, LightEdge and Cisco are now jointly working together to provide end-to-end managed solutions for our customers.
For additional information on Intercloud, check out the full press release from Cisco here: Intercloud Press Release.

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VMworld 2014 Recap


September 12th, 2014

LightEdge Senior Cloud Engineer, Jon Hildebrand, has returned from VMworld in San Francisco, and brought some major highlights back to share. Check out many of the big announcements that were made in his guest blog post below.

VMworld 2014 Recap

The annual U.S. version of the VMworld Conference came and went by, but by no means did it leave us with little to think about.

EVO:RAIL

One of the biggest announcements that VMware made at the conference was that they were going to be getting into the hardware business. Specifically, VMware has chosen to enter the hyper-converged hardware space. What this means is that the hardware is setup in a way in which compute, storage, and network components are all contained in a very small form factor.

In a domain previously occupied by Nutanix and Simplivity, VMware chose to enter the hardware realm with a few of their own software technologies interwoven with the hardware technologies in EVO:RAIL. While the hardware itself doesn’t really look much different from the offerings by the other hyper-converged players, what VMware has chosen to do is tightly integrate EVO:RAIL with many of its own software layers. As an example, while the other vendors have other ways of accessing the storage, VMware chose to use its own VSAN technology for accessing the storage layer in the appliance. Also, there is extremely tight integration between EVO:RAIL’s configuration and the vSphere software layers to drastically reduce the turnaround time for full deployment of the hardware.

As this is just the first generation of this technology, there are some limitations, however, VMware has EVO:RACK planned, which leads to the belief that any scaling issues that RAIL may have on Day 1 of its release, should be resolved in future iterations. This will be interesting watching the back and forth between VMware, Nutanix, and Simplivity as they vie for dominance in the hyper-converged market.

Embracing OpenSource Projects

Having long been a major contributor to the OpenStack project, VMware announced a fully validated OpenStack architecture. VMware would also be providing full support for this architecture, just like the rest of its product lines.

It’s been well-documented VMware’s contributions to the OpenStack project, especially in the realm of software-defined networking (it does help when you acquire the company that was responsible for a lot of that initiative – Nicira, now VMware NSX). VMware has now entered the realm of a fully validated OpenStack architecture and is offering it up to its customers in the form of VIO (VMware Integrated OpenStack). VMware hopes to be able to enable more OpenStack usage while at the same time reducing the complexity that it takes to build an OpenStack configuration for an organization.

VMware is offering up many of its technology layers to match up with various projects in the OpenStack initiative. NSX will be primarily powering Neutron, vSphere will be powering Nova, and Cinder/Glance will be powered by VSAN. I will be keeping an eye on this as it moves forward as OpenStack seems to be making a move towards more adoption in the overall virtualization community.

One of the most interesting open source initiatives that VMware announced partnerships with was Docker. For those not knowing what Docker is, Docker is “an open platform for developers and systems administrators to build, ship, and run distributed applications.” Both the companies are partnering up to ensure that the Docker engine gets “first-class citizen” rights in a breadth of VMware products (Workstation/Fusion, vSphere, vCloud Air). Also, VMware, just like the OpenStack initiative, will contribute heavily to Docker’s development. Lastly, VMware and Docker will create interoperability between the Docker Hub and VMware’s management tools (vCenter, vCloud Automation Center, vCloud Air).

As applications are being updated to more of a distributed model and written for operating systems that may not be today’s mainstream, it will be interesting to see how this partnership with Docker continues to grow and expand to further take both containers and virtualization to a whole new level. Keep an eye on this, folks!

All-Flash Storage Explosion

Stepping onto the floor of the Solutions Exchange, one could easily pick out that storage companies were going to dominate the floor. Actually, all-flash storage vendors were the dominant force on the Solutions Exchange floor. Having attended VMworld in 2013, I felt that there were now even more storage vendors in the all-flash realm that had just popped up on the radar in the last 12 months. Regardless of feelings about brand new vendors out there, it was apparent that each vendor had a unique approach to why they felt their all-flash storage devices were going to be the best device for you to choose from. At this moment, all-flash storage does seem overkill for a vast majority of applications that are out there, but given the quickening pace that application development works, all-flash storage will likely end up being needed for all workloads.

It will be interesting to see how many of these storage companies will be there next year. Unlike that kind of certainty, it is rather apparent that as prices come down in the flash arrays, we will be seeing more and more of these types of devices in our datacenters.

Recap

Currently, vSphere 6.0 is in beta, and while some features were removed from NDA to be discussed at VMworld 2014, I look forward to VMworld 2015 where I’m sure this suite will be fully realized. Some of the technologies that are coming from this beta look very interesting (VVols and higher-latency vMotion are two that spring to mind). It would be worth keeping an eye on this beta as it evolves towards General Availability.


Look for LightEdge at…


September 3rd, 2014

The fall season is upon us and our calendar is filling up quickly with several industry related trade shows and events. Check out this list of events to see where you can look for LightEdge over the next few months.

CIO Roundtable – September 5thCIO
This Friday, LightEdge is sponsoring KCnext’sCIO Roundtable in Kansas City. This event is the second in a series of exclusive educational and peer-to-peer networking opportunity events for Kansas City-area CIOs, CTOs and senior technology professionals. Ashley Hand, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, will be joined by Cliff Thomas, managing director at Cisco Systems, to discuss the Cisco Smart + Connected City project and the City’s innovation efforts.

Iowa HIMSS Meeting – September 8th
On Monday, September 8th, LightEdge will be one of the sponsors at the Iowa HIMSS Meeting in Des Moines, IA. HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology.

DCI Annual Conference – September 14-15th
LightEdge will be at the DCI Annual Conference September 14th-15th at the Overland Park Convention Center. The DCI Conference is a great way to see, learn about, and discuss the products, trends, and technologies that are important to you and your bank.

ABI Chairman’s Cup Golf Outing – September 22nd
LightEdge will be participating in the Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s Chairman’s Cup Golf Outing as a hole sponsor on Monday, September 22nd at Glen Oaks Country Club.

Secure Iowa Conference – October 7thInformation Systems Security Association
LightEdge will be at the 2014 Secure Iowa Conference on October 7th held by the Information Systems Security Association’s Des Moines Chapter.

IBA Technology Conference – October 21st
LightEdge will be at the Iowa Bankers Association’s Technology Conference on October 21st in West Des Moines.

13th Annual Iowa IT Symposium – October 30th
LightEdge is sponsoring the 13th Annual Iowa IT Symposium on October 30th, 2014 at the Sheraton in West Des Moines. This Executive level IT Conference is designed for networking and education for IT leaders.

Kansas City Business Journal ImpacT Awards – November 2014impact-logo-client
LightEdge is sponsoring the Kansas City Business Journal’s ImpacT Awards. The ImpacT Awards recognize projects that have improved a company’s internal operations, efficiency and financial performance.

In addition to several tradeshows and industry related events, LightEdge will also be sponsoring the following charitable events this fall.

Treads & Threads – September 5th
LightEdge is excited to support Treads & Threads in Kansas City again this year. Proceeds from the 13th Annual Treads and Threads will support personalized cancer treatment and other expanded services at The University of Kansas Hospital. The event will take place on Friday, September 5th at the Kansas Speedway.

Eastern Iowa Arts Academy Golf Event – September 22nd
LightEdge will be participating as a sponsor in the Chip In 4 Eastern Iowa Arts Academy Golf Event on Monday, September 22nd. The Eastern Iowa Arts Academy is a non-profit after school arts organization created for K-12th grade students in the Greater Cedar Rapids metro area.

IT Leadership Forum Golf Outing – September 25th
LightEdge will participating in the IT Leadership Forum Golf Outing as a hole sponsor on Thursday, September 25th at Legacy Golf Club. This tournament raises money for the IT Leadership Forum Technology Scholarship.

Stay tuned to our news and events page on our website for updates and additional event information.


ISO 20000 certification


August 25th, 2014

ISO
We are excited to announce LightEdge has obtained ISO 20000 certification! Successfully completing the first International Standard for IT Service Management is a significant competitive differentiator for LightEdge in the IT services industry. The process to become ISO 20000 certified entailed multiple audits, constant reviews and continual improvements to stay current on the highest standards of service in the industry.

ISO 20000 certification shows our customers that we take the management of their Cloud and Managed Services as seriously as they do. Because of the alignment with the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) standards, ISO 20000 is an effective way for us to demonstrate to our clients that we have a comprehensive plan for a Service Management System that includes evidence-based benchmarks to constantly improve the delivery of our services. This not only reduces risk and improves confidence for our clients through the ability to identify and quickly respond to their needs, but also ensures consistent delivery of our Managed Services, along with utilizing resources effectively and efficiently from a corporate perspective.

“Completing the ISO 20000 certification continues to set us apart from the competition, and demonstrates to our customers and future clients that we are at the forefront of IT governance best practices.” said Jake Gibson, Vice President of Customer Operations for LightEdge Solutions.

To learn more about the ISO 20000 certification and what it means to you, download our brochure here.


5 Reasons to Store Your Data in the Midwest


August 20th, 2014

The Midwest is not only the United States’ largest producer of corn, home to a state fair that was featured in the New York Times Bestseller, “1,000 Places To See Before You Die”, and the birth place of Twinkies, but so much more. It has been attracting a considerable amount of attention in the technology industry lately. Due to its premier location, it has been flagged as one of the best locations to store your company’s vital information. Here are our top five reasons why the Midwest is heads and tails above the rest when it comes to data centers.

  1. Low power costs – Unlike the coasts, the Midwest has become extremely progressive in both energy production and distribution. According to a recent Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) study, electricity costs around 1.4 cents per kilowatt hour in the Midwest versus 4.5 cents in California and Connecticut. Two of the primary states where LightEdge has constructed facilities have soared in the power arena because of their low operating and utility costs.

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    Iowa, home of LightEdge’s flagship data center, possesses some of the least expensive power in the US, and ranks second in the nation for harnessing wind energy with over 20% of its energy created through green resources*.
    *The Gazette, August 15, 2012

    In Missouri, where our newest facility resides in SubTropolis Technology Center’s underground mines, we get the benefit of tapping into Kansas City Power & Light’s utility costs that are also some of the lowest in the country. Kansas City, specifically, was ranked #2 in the US for enterprise data center operating affordability.

  2. Risk-free location – The majority of the central US has zero hurricane hazard and very low seismic risk in comparison to either coasts’ high risk of natural disasters or manmade destruction from terror threats. The Greater Kansas City area itself has been consistently ranked as one of the best for constant, uninterrupted power service, so the chances of an energy blackout are minimal. The area has also been considered to have one of the world’s most advanced telecommunications networks, which makes it a focal point for both long-haul and transcontinental fiber networks. You don’t want to chance leaving the foundation of your business vulnerable to a disaster.

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  1. Easily accessible – When travel time is being taken into account, you can’t get more centrally located than the Midwest. Businesses on the East and West coasts can take advantage of its location by commuting effortlessly from anywhere in the Continental US. Storing your data here means you’re nearby major Interstates like I-80 or I-35, or only a mere 3-4 hour flight away from the Midwest at even the farthest points in the country if you prefer to travel via airplane.

  1. Large talent pool – Often referred to as the “Silicon Prairie”, the region is rich with a highly educated and skilled technology labor force with that famous “Midwestern work ethic”. It’s a great draw to the labor force because of the drastically lower costs of living than on either coast, and boasts wonderful opportunities for technical education and training. You want the peace of mind knowing that your crucial data lies in the hands of the best and brightest around.

  1. Growth potential – Cities all across the Midwest have been named major up and coming areas to settle down, expand your career and raise a family. The area is also seeing a large number of technology companies (and data centers) migrate in and plant their roots. LightEdge is proud to say we were the first to build a facility in Altoona, Iowa, and have since been followed by the likes of Google, Microsoft and Facebook as the area turns into a data center mecca.

As you consider your options for colocation, we encourage you to explore the heartland for the security, reliability and growth potential your business depends on to continue raising the bar.


September 2014
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