Big data and the TSA: A match made in purgatory
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From warehouse to (data)warehouse: Virtus keeps it cool in North London
A lonely warehouse 10 miles north of London will soon complete its transformation into a 71,500-square foot datacentre. Datacentre company Virtus has spent £35m turning the unit into a datacentre over the past three years.The Enfield, North London development was completed in two phases, allowing the first tenant to move into the datacentre in March 2011, after phase one was completed. Today there are a total of seven tenants operating from the site. Read more The site is positioned for synchronous data replication to London locations — such as the City of London and Canary Wharf — with approximately 1m/s round trip latency.Hosting provider ServerSpace is one of the latest tenants to move into Virtus' Enfield datacentre, offering services primarily to the media, software developers and online retail businesses. Operating out of a range of datacentres provides ServerSpace with increased resilience. "We wanted something out of London because it means we can offer clients a geo-diverse solution so there is more failover between sites," ServerSpace CEO Tim Dufficy told ZDNet, while on a tour of the datacentre. "It makes more sense to use datacentres far away from each other.""Some clients will ask for two sites that are a certain distance apart from each other in case of something like a terrorist attack," he said. For example, a leading hotel chain relies on a dual-site solution offered by ServerSpace for its European reservation system, said Dufficy. "They obviously can't afford for everything to be dependent on one site so that in the event of something happening at the primary site, all services fail over automatically to a secondary site so they can still continue to keep taking bookings," he said. ServerSpace was unable to reveal how much it costs to operate out of the Virtus facility, but said it will hand over in excess of "seven figures" during its time there.
Big data and the TSA: A match made in purgatory
It's hard to avoid the stories of malfeasance and buffoonery that are published about the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on almost a daily basis. While it seems that the application of simple logic and a touch of common sense could cut down on the number of stories that make the news it is often clear that the problems that arise are usually the result of a simplistic approach to the issue of providing a secure travel experience with minimal impact on the traveling public.The TSA continually claims that it is improving the training and customer relationship skills of its officers, actions desperately needed if only to prevent another fiasco like the incident surrounding the late General Joe Foss and his Congressional Medal Of Honor, but regular fliers are still often exposed to what seems like a slavish by-the-book attitude that shows little room for the realities of day-to-day life. I recently witnessed a frustrated passenger trying to explain to a screener that a decorative belt was attached to her outfit and could not be removed. Perhaps that was the wrong choice of outfit to wear on a flight, but the screener couldn't get past the fact that the "remove your belt" direction was not being followed.Under consideration as another tool to determine who can be allowed on an airplane is the use of big data; in this case commercially collected consumer information and the data generated by commercial data brokers. Data, as is pointed out in the story on the nextgov.com website, of unknown accuracy and, from the user's point of view, unknown provenance. And this is a huge potential problem. The massive amounts of data generated by and about the average consumer means that there are bound to be significant inaccuracies when trying to extrapolate behavior about a single person. Data that is suitable to deliver targeted ads to a user on a website is unlikely to be sufficient to determine if that user should be allowed to board an aircraft.It also makes the old computing phrase "garbage in, garbage out" even more appropriate. In this case, erroneous data can easily contaminate otherwise accurate sources, and result in actions being taken that have no basis beyond that data inputted in error or applied to the wrong set of John Smiths. Data brokers cannot guarantee 100 percent accuracy of their data, and when that data is going to be used to limit the rights of people any significant error in accuracy is unacceptable.Add this to the fact that getting erroneous data removed from your permanent school record is incredibly difficult. Just ask anyone who has had to go through the hoops surrounding correcting an error on their credit report, an area where there is already significant regulation and involvement from the federal government.When using big-data tools to extrapolate consumer shopping habits, the accuracy of the results can easily be off by a large percentage. In fact, the extrapolations can be more often wrong than right and still be of value to retail marketing. But that level of accuracy doesn't even come close to what is needed before big data can become the tool of choice for Big Brother.
America Movil promises world’s longest 100-Gbps undersea cable system
América Móvil, S.A.B. de C.V. and its technology supplier, Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU), say they are making good progress on construction of the América Móvil 1 (AMX-1 System) undersea fiber-optic cable system. The submarine fiber-optic network, which will land in the United States, Central America, and Brazil, will run 17,500 km and support wavelength data rates of 100 Gbps – making it the longest 100-Gbps undersea system in the world.The 100-Gbps technology will enable a total system capacity of more than 50 Tbps. “100G technology is playing a fundamental role in scalability as operators are seeking to manage their bandwidth expansion to meet increasing demands for content-rich services and to address new applications such as data center interconnection needs,” said Philippe Dumont, president of Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks.The two parties say they have completed cable route and landing surveys; the next step is manufacturing the cable and repeaters, a process that Alcatel-Lucent says is moving forward. The AMX-1 System will be based on Alcatel-Lucent OALC-4 cable optimized with coherent submarine fiber, repeaters, branching units, and the 1620 Light Manager submarine line terminal. The systems house says it will not only provide the equipment and construct the network, but provide ongoing maintenance via its Atlantic Private Maintenance Agreement. The agreement includes a cable awareness program designed to ensure collaboration of maritime and port authorities, fishing bodies, and other parties who otherwise might damage the cable.The network, scheduled to be in service late this year, will have 11 landing points in seven countries. They include Miami and Jacksonville (United States), Barranquilla and Cartagena (Colombia), Fortaleza, Salvador & Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), Cancun (Mexico), San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Puerto Barrios (Guatemala).
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