A. Dengler

When Cisco was looking to move its production data center facility out of San Jose, Calif., it considered more than 140 locations nationwide.

The clear winner was Allen, Texas, says Tony Fazackarley, IT project manager in charge of the Cisco data center in Allen.

“There were a number of factors that were key to selecting a site for our data center, including the availability and cost of power, the availability of high-tech staff and the availability of carriers for carrying data around the rest of world,” says Fazackarley. “There were also geological considerations, the temperature around the year and a whole host of other factors that fed into that calculation.”

Smart Business spoke with Fazackarley about how the Allen Economic Development Corporation helped Cisco settle on Allen and what the company is doing in the community.

What other things factored into the consideration to move the facility from San Jose to Allen?

San Jose posed a number of challenges, including geological challenges. The San Andreas fault is not a good environment in which to have your production center, and Texas is far more stable from a geological perspective.

The cost and availability of power was also a factor in both the move out of California and the choice of Allen. San Jose constantly has rolling brownouts, and the cost of power is very high. In addition, there were more and more regulations coming out about how you can operate your facility, and regulations generally equate to adding costs to your business. Cisco is fully behind being corporately responsible, but if you have the opportunity to save costs for your business, you owe it to yourselves to do so.

In Allen, power is more abundant and less costly.

Another factor is that we had an existing campus in Richardson with a shell building that we were able to convert into a high-tech data center. Once we selected Richardson as the first data center, we chose a greenfield site in Allen for our production data center facility, where we consult and assist customers in building data centers that are of the standard we built in Allen. The facility allows us to show best practices for building a modern data center and show how others can optimize their data centers and maximize their energy uses.

Why is energy use such a concern?

At some point, there is going to be regulation around data centers. We’re already seeing it in areas of California. If you build a data center in San Jose, you have to have the ability to generate your own power on site. We know those regulations will roll out as the energy squeeze becomes more constrictive. What we’re trying to do is anticipate what those regulations are going to be and put into place best practices to not only meet those regulations but also to be as corporately responsible as we can. As a result, most of the new technology we’re showcasing in the Allen data center is around energy savings.

How did the Allen Economic Development Corporation facilitate Cisco’s move?

It was very key to our decision to move to Allen. They were very helpful not only on the economic side of things but also in giving us assurance on how the land around us would be used. When you have a facility that is running your top applications that run your business, there are some businesses, such as a munitions factory, that you don’t want going up around you. Getting those assurances out of the city was vital.

You need support from the local area, and that was a big part of what went into the short list for selecting a site. And having an ongoing relationship with them, speaking with them regularly and keeping abreast of what is going on is vital to us, as well. They work to keep businesses happy

How do you work with the community?

One of the things we do in Allen is have a lot of customers come into the facility, where we showcase Cisco’s data center products. Most of the Fortune 100 companies have come through that facility, as have companies from around the world. And when they come through, they stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants and use local facilities. My project manager deals with scheduling those resources and works with local businesses, restaurants, hotels and catering to support our needs.

We also do tours with local school districts. Most of those who come through are never going to build a data center like ours, but if they can take away even one best practice, we’ve done our job.

How does the data center impact the environment?

The Allen data center is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold-certified building, one of very few in North America. At the moment, the LEED program is a general building program; if you build an office, garage or stadium, you build to the same categories for certification. But LEED is working on data center-specific specifications and we believe we can improve on the gold standard that we have for the building. Once data center specific LEED criteria become available, we hope to be able to meet the platinum standards.

Also, we hope to be part of the EPA Energy Star program, but you need to have 12 months of continuous operations data, and we only went into full production in March. But we are collecting that data to that end.

Tony Fazackarley is IT project manager in charge of the Cisco data center in Allen, Texas. Reach him at (408) 894-4149 or afazacka@cisco.com.

Insights Economic Development is brought to you by the Allen Economic Development Corporation, strategically positioned in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro.

Tuesday, 22 June 2004 12:21

The Federal CAN-SPAM Act

If you market by e-mail, make sure you're complying with the new federal CAN-SPAM Act or you could face stiff penalties.

The CAN-SPAM Act, which took effect Jan. 1, 2004, is the acronym for the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003. Congress passed the act in an effort to curb the growing problem with unsolicited, bulk commercial e-mail, euphemistically known as spam.

The act gives Internet users the right to demand that a party stop sending them commercial e-mails. It also empowers federal and state agencies and Internet service providers to enforce its provisions.

The act makes it a crime to send commercial e-mails utilizing false headers, to open e-mail accounts under false pretenses in order to send spam e-mail, to hijack computer networks to send spam or to conceal the origination of such e-mails. It also gives government agencies and Internet service providers the right to seek monetary damages.

CAN-SPAM applies to commercial e-mail

The act applies to all commercial e-mail, that is, e-mails that have the primary purpose of advertising or promoting products or services. It applies to anyone who sends, procures or retransmits spam e-mail in violation of the act.

That means you or your business are responsible for the commercial e-mails sent on your behalf, even if you rely on a third party to assist you with e-mail marketing.

The restrictions in the CAN-SPAM Act do not apply to transactional or relational messages, which are e-mails sent to facilitate, complete or confirm a transaction or provide warranty or safety information for a product or service used or purchased by the recipient.

Here are some general guidelines on how to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.

* Commercial e-mails must clearly identify that the message is an advertisement if you do not have prior affirmative consent from the recipient to send such e-mails. Affirmative consent means that the recipient expressly agreed to receive a message, either in response to a clear and conspicuous request for such consent or at the recipient's own initiative.

* The commercial e-mail must provide a way for the recipient to send a reply message or other Internet-based communication to opt out of future e-mails from the sender. The opt-out information must include the sender's valid, physical postal address.

* The sender can offer a list or menu that allows the recipient to choose what types of commercial e-mails would not be welcomed by the recipient, provided that this menu also includes a general opt-out of all commercial e-mails.

* The opt-out request must be honored with 10 days.

* The e-mail message must have correct header information.

* The message must have an accurate subject line. Avoid using clever turns of phrases in the subject line if it might confuse or mislead recipients regarding the content of the message.

The CAN-SPAM Act supercedes all existing state spam laws, except for state laws that prohibit falsity or deception in any portion of a commercial e-mail. The Ohio General Assembly is considering House Bill 383, which would compliment the federal act by imposing criminal penalties against spammers who use fraud and deceit to send bulk commercial e-mail in Ohio.

One step you can take to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act is to develop a reliable database system to collect, maintain and store customer information so that unsubscribe requests can be processed accurately and quickly. Also, make sure that you establish a process to communicate all opt-out requests to any third party you may have hired to assist you with e-mail campaigns. Likewise, your third-party providers should ensure that all opt-out requests are transmitted promptly to your business and to any other party managing your advertising e-mail database.

This is not a comprehensive article on the CAN-SPAM Act; therefore, you should seek advice of your counsel on how you or your business should manage an e-mail marketing program. A. Brian Dengler is Of Counsel in the commercial & real estate group of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. Reach him at (614) 464-8393 or abdengler@vssp.com.