Data center selling points

The growing number of companies trying to win government outsourcing dollars

are counting on three Bs to sell their data center services: bandwidth,

backup and bulletproof design.

Although no data center can protect against every unforeseen event,

Intel Corp. has incorporated seismic braces into its centers' walls to protect

against earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Interestingly, behind the Intel facility's six-foot-thick walls lay

some servers built by rival Sun Microsystems Inc., in addition to the racks

of Intel-based servers one would expect. "We want to do whatever it takes

to serve the customer," explained Howard High, director of Intel's technology

PR group.

Power at each Intel facility is drawn from two power substations, ensuring

a constant supply of power if one should black out. A pair of diesel generators

provides 25 minutes of backup power if necessary.

As demand increases, Intel plans to expand its OC-48 (2,488 megabytes

per second) fiber-optic network to the OC-192 level (9,953 megabytes per

second). Currently, employees monitoring a client's system can adjust bandwidth

based on system demand.

Qwest Communications offers its customers access to more than 18,815

miles of OC-192 Sonet. Space in the vendor's 126,000-square-foot facility

was sold out before construction was completed, according to Sandberg.

Qwest's facility is very similar to that of Intel's, but on a much larger

scale. Qwest has three diesel generators, built from train engines, that

can sustain services for more than 48 hours. The backup system kicks in

750 milliseconds after the main power supply is cut.

Qwest has also entered into partnership agreements with KMPG LLC, Hewlett-Packard

Co., Oracle Corp., Microsoft Corp., SAP America Inc., PeopleSoft Inc. and

Siebel Systems to provide Internet-based application-hosting services.

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