Investment group signs deal to train cyber-security professionals

Cape Augusta LLC, the company redeveloping the 136-year-old textile mill into a urban tech hub called Augusta Cyberworks, said it has formed a joint venture with UMBC Training Centers LLC to educate up to 200 cyber professionals a year.

Certificate program courses could begin in early 2017 – when Sibley’s phase one renovations are complete, Cape Augusta CEO James Ainslie said.

The phase one project includes building out office space in a 32,500-square-foot structure outside the four-story main mill facility for local information technology firm EDTS, whose current offices are on Broad Street.

The massive expansion of Fort Gordon’s military intelligence and cyberwarfare missions during the next few years will require military contractors and subcontractors to have a steady pipeline of information security specialists from which to draw in the local labor pool.

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Sibley Mill project envisions tech citadel for Augusta

One of the more subtle architectural flourishes at Sibley Mill is the Latin inscription on each of its wings: Esse quam videri.

The expression on the Sibley family crests adorning the four-story building means “To be, rather than to seem.” The phrase was especially poignant when this hulking industrial cathedral was erected along the Augusta Canal during the South’s transition to a mechanized economy 136 years ago.

But today, a decade after the textile mill’s machines fell silent, the cast-iron inscription takes on a different meaning as two South African-born entrepreneurs and the building’s owner attempt to redevelop the 19th century factory into a 21st century high-tech business park called “Augusta Cyber Works.”

Sibley Mill Redevelopment Project Announced

At a press conference, the Augusta Canal Authority announced a 75-year ground lease of its Sibley Mill propertyto Cape Augusta Digital Properties, LLC. Cape Augusta will be the master developer of a state-of-the- art cyber campus, which stands to both galvanize Augusta’s growing status as one of the world’s cyber technology hubs and transform one of the most beautiful and historically significant properties in the region. The long-term lease was approved at a called meeting of the Authority on April 25. The development, known as The Augusta Cyber Works, is envisioned as a cyber-technology park, anchored by a 10 Megawatt Tier 3 Data Center and complemented with a campus that supports a wide range of cyber-related employers and educational facilities.

Cyber impact being felt across the CSRA

Thursday, May 5, 2016 News 12 NBC 26 at 6 O'Clock

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- It's now a part of the growing Augusta cyber hub.

"And we hope that this building, this site, becomes a fundamental component to the cyber initiative in Augusta," James Ainslie said, President of Cape Augusta LLC.

Augusta Cyberworks is the latest cyber project in Augusta. While cyber companies like Unisys flock there, on the other side of the river Aiken County is trying to not let the opportunity pass them by.

"I'm always thinking why, why couldn't we have gotten that and that just makes us work harder," Will Williams, President and CEO of the Economic Development Partnership, said.

Williams says counties are working together and there are more opportunities.

"We've also been working collaboratively with the groups at Fort Gordon that are working on this because based on some of the infrastructure needs out at one of the gates we know the North Augusta and some areas in Aiken County are just as close," Williams said.

Having existing structures is something Williams says made Sibley Mill so attractive. It's something Aiken can take advantage of.

"We have a couple of existing buildings that we're marketing because speed to market is what most companies are after," Williams said.

Bringing in more businesses means more people too. A recent report says the Aiken population is aging faster than the rest of the country. Williams says while businesses help, the county needs to prepare for younger families.

"Columbia County has been very forward thinking in terms of improving their school resources and have built new schools over time," Williams said, "Aiken County is just starting to do some of that work because we know we lost some of those people."

Williams says Aiken County has already received $80 million in manufacturing investments this year.

Sibley Mill to become cyber campus

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- From the towering turrets, to the peeling paint and concrete floors, Sibley Mill is a picture of history.

Built from bricks salvaged from the former Powder Works, now a project called Augusta Cyberworks is propelling the mill's use into the future.

"It's mind boggling," said Walter Sprouse, the Executive Director of Augusta's Development Authority, "what is getting ready to happen right here.

Imagine one of the massive rooms inside, but completely different: news, and many, housing data centers.

"They're massive computers that run 24 hours a day," said Sprouse, "And what cools them down? water! These are really big factors whenever companies are looking to find a good location."

Cape Augusta Digital Properties signed a 75 year lease, for what will become a cyber technology park.


Old Sibley Mill sees cyber future

After 18 months of discussion and due diligence, backers of a proposed data center at Sibley Mill on Wednesday announced they have entered into a long-term lease at the historic property alongside the Augusta Canal.

The principals of Cape Augusta Digital Properties LLC said the 75-year lease they signed with the Augusta Canal Authority, the property’s owner, will enable them to build a 10-megawatt facility they envision as the anchor of a “cyber-technology park” that would support cyber-related businesses and education facilities.

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Sibley Mill to be redeveloped into new cyber center

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- In a press conference this morning, The Augusta Canal Authority announced a 75-year ground lease of its Sibley Mill property to Cape Augusta Digital Properties, LLC.

Cape Augusta will become master developer of the cyber campus, which will stimulate Augusta's growing status as one of the world's largest cyber technology hubs and completely transform one of the most historical properties in the CSRA.

Towards the end of 2014, Cape Augusta reached out to the Authority to express their interest in creating a data center inside of the 136-year-old mill. The past year and a half has been spent on finalizing the design and perfecting all logistics with the site. Developers are looking to sublease parts of the mill to data center operators and users and, technology companies and cyber-educators.

The Authority will continue to operate the hydropower plant inside of the mill and provide Cape Augusta with water and electricity to cool the data center's computers. They will also support the cyber-related activities that are on-going in Augusta such as the Cyber Command Center at Fort Gordon and the cyber activities at Augusta University.

Sibley Mill was purchased by The Canal Authority in 2010. The Authority undertook a $1.3 million environmental cleanup that started in 2011. That cleanup is expected to be finished in the next several months.

Phase 1's ground breaking is planned within a matter of weeks. Cape Augusta will host an event to launch the redeveloped building and unveil the Cyber Works development at a later date.


Summit focuses on attracting residents to downtown Augusta

Expanding the Augusta Common and attracting more urban dwellers is the city’s best and quickest shot to revitalize downtown.

That was the consensus reached Wednesday by more than five dozen business and community leaders at a “Downtown Summit” organized by Augusta-Richmond County and the planning group Augusta Tomorrow.

The unprecedented gathering of downtown stakeholders was spearheaded – and partially moderated – by Augusta Tomorrow board member Doug Cates, who said the summit was needed to unify and coordinate the efforts of the city’s sometimes disparate business and political interests.


He said widespread urban revitalization has been slow to occur because no one individual or entity is willing to take the risk needed to bring “transformational change,” likening hesitant investors to sheep afraid to stray too far from their herd.

“Nobody wants to be walking out by themselves,” said Cates, a partner in accounting firm Cherry Bekaert LLP. “Of the sheep in a herd, who gets eaten first? The one that got out of the herd. What we’re trying to do today is get a herd up.”

Limiting their ideas to downtown projects that could be completed in two years, participants focused most discussion on expanding Augusta Common – north to the riverfront and south to Ellis Street – and getting more people living in the “Broad Street corridor” by converting the vacant Marion Building and under-utilized Lamar Building into apartments.

The Marion Building is owned by a limited liability company headed by Augusta businessmen Clay Boardman and Barry Storey, both of whom attended the summit and are interested in converting the 10-story property to residential.

The 102,000-square-foot Lamar Building is owned by a Greenville, S.C.-based bank and has been up for sale since 2014. Blanchard and Calhoun’s Davis Beman, a summit participant, said an investor from outside Augusta is under contract to purchase the property and is considering converting the 19-story building into a mixed-use development.

Downtown Augusta has 220 traditional apartment units in the Broad Street corridor with a 98 percent occupancy rate, according to the Downtown Development Authority. If the city doesn’t boost the number of units in the next two years, it might miss out on the wave of potential urban dwellers brought by expansions at Fort Gordon and Augusta University.

Some participants in the summit last month toured Columbia, which has 5,000 apartment units in its downtown and is undergoing a significant revitalization.

Cates said projections show the city could easily support 1,000 more units, which in turn would encourage more retail, restaurants and supermarkets in the urban core.

“If we’re really going to have sustainable growth, and if our tax base is going to grow to give our city more money to do the things that our commissioners and mayor would like to do, then its going to come from people living and working downtown,” he said.

Other ideas discussed included developing a light-rail system that would loop around downtown and the medical district and adopting more “business friendly” city ordinances for the central business district. Another suggestion was building pedestrian links to North Augusta via an aerial gondola at the proposed baseball stadium and a foot bridge near Fifth Street.

Summit participants also heard an update on a plan to transform part of the historic Sibley Mill to a 10-megawatt data center, a “cyberworks” unique for its size and proximity to Augusta’s growing cyber campus.

“Augusta has an enormous opportunity with the ingress of Cyber Command, with the seismic event of 4,000 new jobs in technology and with the obvious focus of federal attention and all of the different organizations that are going to enable the deployment of the mission of cyber security,” said James Ainslie, a principal with Cape Augusta, the firm backing the fledgling proposal.

Located on the periphery of downtown in the Harrisburg mill village, the mill encompasses 500,000 square feet of space and could benefit from a variety of tax credits, he said.

Once a Confederate powder works, the former textile mill – “an icon of Augusta” – could leverage existing hydropower capability to cool the equipment that could be stored there, Ainslie said.

Reducing Energy Consumption and Cost in the Data Center

It is probably safe to say that most data center managers are dealing with the challenge of increasing data growth and limited IT resources and budgets. With “save everything forever” strategies becoming more prevalent for many organizations, the strain on IT resources will only get worse over time.

Data center managers are faced with planning for the future and the mandate to change their current rate of spending on equipment and operations. One area of focus has been the massive energy consumption of data centers and the impact of storage.

Energy Consumption in the Data Center

Although the dire predictions of the 2007 EPA report on data center energy consumption have not panned out, there are still ongoing energy consumption concerns and data centers are not off the hook.

Earlier this year, a report by Greenpeace criticized big data centers for using dirty energy (coal, gas, nuclear) as opposed to clean energy (wind, solar). A more recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) claims waste and inefficiency in U.S. data centers – that consumed a massive 91 bn kWh of electricity in 2013 – will increase to 140 bn kWh by 2020, the equivalent of 50 large (500 megawatt) power plants. However, the 2014 Uptime Institute annual data center survey reveals that data center power usage efficiency (PUE) metrics have plateaued at around 1.7 after several years of steady improvement.

One reason for the heavy energy consumption by data centers is that they rely heavily on spinning hard disk drive technology to store their data. Often the response to increasing data growth has been to add more disk arrays to solve the problem. A hard disk drive platter spinning 24/7/365 at 7,000 or 10,000 RPMs requires power to not only spin it, but to cool it as well. Otherwise the heat generated by the constant spinning would corrupt and eventually destroy the data.

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Nexenta Announces Availability of Open Source Software Defined Storage Platform NexentaEdge

At the Vancouver OpenStack summit, software-defined storage company Nexenta announced the general availability of its NexentaEdge Block and Object Storage platform, as well as a strategic alliance agreement with Canonical and its Ubuntu OpenStack.

NexentaEdge was launched late last summer, as a scale out object storage solution with high performance block, swift, and S3 object services. Running on Intel-powered commodity servers, the Open Source-driven Software Defined Storage (OpenSDS) offering from Nexenta is optimized for big data, OpenStack clouds, and petabyte scale object based active archives.

Citing the disruptive power of those environments Nexenta Chief Product Officer Thomas Cornely said that “OpenStack clouds in particular require both high performance block services and extremely scalable object repositories.” Cornely added that his company “is unique in its ability to concurrently meet these requirements and further drive down storage costs with inline deduplication and compression of all data at any scale.”


The Evolution of the Data Center: Shifting from the “Model T”

The evolution of the data center is under acceleration. The standard builds and designs of 10 or 15 years ago are rapidly giving way to more flexible models that can match an increasingly sophisticated customer base. This change is not unlike the trajectory of the Model T Ford and its cookie cutter design, which was revolutionary in its era, but eventually could not keepup with the pace of society or provide consumers the full spectrum of what they wanted in a vehicle. What does this mean for the data center industry? It means change is underway, and change propelled by smart innovation can be a very good thing.

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Low-Energy Servers Leverage SoC Technology to Alter Server Economics

New classes of low-energy servers are starting to make their presence felt in the data center.  But like any server platform, IT organizations need to be aware of what types of application workloads are best suited to take advantage of the system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs that enable these classes of servers to be built.

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Rackspace Building OpenPOWER-Based Open Compute Server

Rackspace is working with three open communities to form a mega-open platform. Two of those communities are widely known: OpenStack for cloud software and the Open Compute Project for data center hardware. Its part in the third was formally announced today.

Rackspace is now an official member of the IBM-led OpenPOWER foundation, which tackles the server firmware through an open approach. This is about innovating at the firmware level, the big holdout for openness. Rackspace has been involved with OpenPOWER behind the scenes for more than 18 months.

The company announced it has joined the consortium and that it is building an OpenPOWER-based Open Compute server platform that will run OpenStack services. It will engage with partners in the community to build the platform and contribute it and its open source POWER server firmware set to OCP.

Firmware can be a tricky area as developers don’t normally worry about firmware and managing memory requirements. “These are parts of the system many developers are not even aware of,” said Aaron Sullivan, director and principal engineer at Rackspace. “Firmware has different programming models. The OpenPOWER needs the community involved, needs developers on board to achieve real performance gains.”

Dell to Ship Open Switches with Midokura’s OpenStack SDN

Dell and Cumulus Networks have initiated a Software Defined Network startup called Midokura into their open and disaggregated data center network alliance. Midokura has an overlay network virtualization solution for OpenStack that will now be available together with Dell’s commodity hardware and the Linux-based network operating system by Cumulus.

There is a growing number of data center operators, such as telcos, cloud service providers, and to a lesser extent enterprises, who are interested in low-cost commodity network hardware that is not tied to proprietary software – the opposite of the full-solution model major network vendors have traditionally sold. There is also growing interest in being able to virtualize and automate network management capabilities, such as the ones Midokura’s OpenStack SDN technology provides, to make networks more agile.