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Tom Baines

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Tom has more than a decade of experience in systems infrastructure, setting up and running data centre operations spanning the UK and Americas, migrating colocation services, re-architecting hosted platforms and supporting disaster recovery and information security systems, in addition to consulting on virtualization. Tom has worked at service providers and with customers in financial services, leisure and the UK Government.
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Would YOU start a fire? TRAPPED in a new-build server farm

This Damn War “What’s the smallest fire I could start to be noticed, but not so big that I risk burning down the building?” is one of the stranger thoughts to have entered my head, in many years of working in IT. No, I'm not a closet pyromaniac, so why was I entertaining such thoughts? I had found myself stuck in a data centre on a Sunday …
Tom Baines, 3 Jun 2016
Facebook Sweden data center

Hell, high water, and ice: Facebook's Dublin data center choices

Facebook is to spend US$218m (£153m / €200m) on its second data center in Europe. Mark Zuckerberg's firm has promised an "innovative, environmentally friendly data center." It is easy to view the construction of this particular Facebook's answer to the expiration of Safe Harbor last year, to throw up a repository within the …
The Hindenburg disaster

Have a Plan A, and Plan B – just don't go down with the ship

When planning for disaster recovery, our natural inclination is to focus on the technical design. We work to strike the perfect balance between controlling infrastructure spend and the required capacity. Technical considerations are of course paramount – replication schedules based on delta changes and available bandwidth, the …
Tom Baines, 30 Oct 2015
Icecubes, image via Shutterstock

Some like it hot ... very hot: How to use heat to your advantage in your data center

Analysis Heat has traditionally been the sysadmin's enemy. We may have turned technology to our advantage and chipped away at heat's wasteful nature over the years, but our old foe has remained. From turning data centers into walk-in fridges, and hot/cold aisle separation to cold aisle containment and positive pressure, we've tried …
Tom Baines, 19 Oct 2015
Lego, photo via Shutterstock

Modularity for all! The data centres you actually want to build

Portability and modularity in the world of data centres aren’t new: for years, they’ve been something unique to the military and others operating in either temporary or hostile environments. You put your data center gear in a ruggedised and self-supporting unit of some kind and walk away, managing it remotely. Increasingly, …
Tom Baines, 14 Oct 2015
Child measuring image via Shutterstock

By the numbers: The virtualisation options for private cloud hopefuls

VMware, Hyper-V ... XenServer? When it comes to virtualisation, these are the three most frequently cited options. And this would have been OK in the days before cloud, when virtualisation was “just” something for the boys and girls down in the sysadmin branch of the IT department cared about. Now we do have cloud, and private …
Tom Baines, 5 Oct 2015
TV watcher, image via Shutterstock

Channel surfers and the irresistible rise of Content Delivery Networks

Fastly, a four-year-old content delivery network start-up, this month landed $75m in venture funding. It was the firm’s fifth intake of cash, the second in less than a year. What’s remarkable is that inventors are backing a firm that is going up against some big names – among them the massive Amazon juggernaut. Clearly, …
Tom Baines, 28 Aug 2015
Tools

Tin eraser to storage glue: Virtualisation's past, present and future

Virtualisation was once seen as little more than a hardware reduction method. It was fundamentally viewed as a tool, albeit an extremely clever and complex one, for reducing the amount of tin in a data hall. What felt like game-changers when they were first introduced – remarkable technical achievements like snapshots, live …
Tom Baines, 23 Jul 2015
NBC suit worker image via Shutterstock

A server apocalypse can come in different shapes and sizes. Be prepared

I run into the same misconceptions about business continuity on an almost daily basis. “We’ve already got backups, so why would we need to have a disaster recovery site as well?,” comes up with alarming regularity, as does: “We spent tens of thousands on a disaster recovery site, so why did we have that four-minute outage – why …
Tom Baines, 16 Jun 2015
Young hipster man wearing hat, suspenders, bow-tie and fake-looking tattoo-sleeve. Image via shutterstock

Hypervisor indecisive? Today's contenders from yesterday's Hipsters

The origins of the hypervisor can be traced back to IBM’s mainframe systems. Big Blue implemented something approximating a virtualisation platform as an experimental system in the mid-sixties but it wasn’t until 1985 that the idea of the logical partition (or LPAR) on the pSeries and zSeries delivered something recognisable as …
Tom Baines, 12 May 2015
big dog little dog, image Shutterstock

There's a BIG problem with Microsoft's VDI rules

If you’re talking virtual desktop infrastructure (or VDI) there are a few options – VMware Horizon View, Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, even smaller players like 2X Software – but chances are you’re going to plump for the biggest hitter, the company which has been doing it for the longest. You guessed it, I’m talking about …
Tom Baines, 12 May 2015

Bored with Blighty? Relocation lessons for the data centre jetset

Building a data centre in the UK is a difficult business: the land’s expensive, planning permission is tough and the operating costs are high, particularly where power is concerned. As an epicentre of business and commerce, London is the obvious choice – it hosts the country’s major internet transit hub to boot – but it scores …
Tom Baines, 8 Apr 2015

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