Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, A well wishes for 2010

I just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone out there that reads my blog a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Wonderful New Year.  Thank you so much for spending a portion of your valuable time online with me and I sincerely hope you find some of it useful.  The Year 2009 is coming to a close and its definitely been a year of ups and downs.   But Next year is looking bright and I hope it is for you as well.

I wish all of you a very happy and prosperous 2010. 

Sincerely,

Mike Manos

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Kickin’ Dirt

mikeatquincy

I recently got an interesting note from Joel Stone, the Global Operations Chief at Global Switch.  As some of you might know Joel used to run North American Operations for me at Microsoft.  I guess he was digging through some old pictures and found this old photo of our initial site selection trip to Quincy, Washington.

As you can see, the open expanse of farmland behind me, ultimately became Microsoft’s showcase facilities in the Northwest.  In fact you can even see some farm equipment just behind me.   It got me reminiscing about that time and how exciting and horrifying that experience can be.

At the time Quincy, Washington was not much more than a small agricultural town, whose leaders did some very good things (infrastructurally speaking) and benefitted by the presence of large amounts of hydro-power.  When we went there, there were no other active data centers for hundreds of miles, there were no other technology firms present, and discussions around locating a giant industrial-technology complex here seemed as foreign as landing on the moon might have sounded during World War Two.

Yet if you fast forward to today companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Sabey, Intuit, and others have all located technology parks in this one time agricultural hub.   Data Center Knowledge recently did an article on the impacts to Quincy. 

Many people I speak to at conferences generally think that the site selection process is largely academic.   Find the right intersection of a few key criteria and locate areas on a map that seem to fit those requirements.   In fact, the site selection strategy that we employed took many different factors into consideration each with its own weight leading ultimately to a ‘heat map’ in which to investigate possible locations. 

Even with some of the brightest minds, and substantial research being done, its interesting to me that ultimately the process breaks down into something I call ‘Kickin Dirt’.   Those ivory tower exercises ultimately help you narrow down your decisions to a few locations, but the true value of the process is when you get out to the location itself and ‘kick the dirt around’.   You get a feel for the infrastructure, local culture, and those hard to quantify factors that no modeling software can tell you.  

Once you have gone out and kicked the dirt,  its decision time.  The decision you make, backed by all the data and process in the world, backed by personal experience of the locations in question,  ultimately nets out to someone making a decision.   My experience is that this is something that rarely works well if left up to committee.  At some point someone needs the courage and conviction, and in some cases outright insanity to make the call. 

If you are someone with this responsibility in your job today – Do your homework, Kick the Dirt, and make the best call you can.  

To my friends in Quincy – You have come along way baby!  Merry Christmas!

 

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Live Chiller-Side Chat scheduled for Monday

I just wanted to send a quick reminder that if you are interested, I am scheduled to give another Live Chiller Side Chat hosted by Rich Miller, editor of DataCenterKnowledge.  The last time we did this we got a ton of great participation and lively interaction.   Topics ranged between Cloud Computing, infrastructure, data center design, data center containers, construction, IT Operations, scale, processes and more. 

If you have a spare hour on Monday at 12:00pm (US Central Time) I would love to spend some time with you.  You can Register by going to the Digital Realty Trust Website.

I have attached the official information blurb about the event below.

Digital Realty Trust and Data Center Knowledge would like to invite you to participate in this live Q&A session with Mike Manos one of the datacenter industry’s leading visionaries and strategists.

Monday, December 7, 2009

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Central

This unique forum provides you the opportunity to share your thoughts, questions or opinions with one of datacenter industry’s preeminent authorities. The datacenter industry is facing a number of critical issues including the impact of impending regulation and Mike will be responding to your questions on this topic and more. Please plan on attending this special event to learn more about the views and perspectives from your fellow datacenter professionals.

Michael Manos, is the Senior Vice President of Technical Services at Digital Realty Trust. Mr. Manos is a 16-year veteran in the technology industry and most recently was responsible for the global design, construction, and operations of all of Microsoft’s datacenter facilities.

Rich Miller is the founder and editor of Data Center Knowledge, a leading source of daily news and analysis about the data center industry. At DCK, Rich has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities. Rich has been closely tracking the data center sector since 2000 and has been quoted in The NY Times, Wired, The Washington Post, MSNBC, Computerworld, Wall Street Journal, The FinancialTimes, Newsday, The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Seattle Post-Intelligencer and many other leading technology and business publications.

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Data Center Regulation Awareness Increasing, Prepare for CO2K

This week I had the pleasure of presenting at the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, NV.  This was my first time presenting at the Gartner event and it represented an interesting departure from my usual conference experience in a few ways and I came away with some new observations and thoughts.   As always, the greatest benefit I personally get from these events is the networking opportunities with some of the smartest people across the industry.  I was surprised by both the number of attendees ( especially given the economic drag and the almost universal slow-down on corporate travel) and the quality of questions I heard in almost every session.

My talk centered around the coming Carbon Cap and Trade Regulation and its specific impact on IT organizations and the data center industry.  I started my talk with a joke about how excited I was to be addressing a room of tomorrow’s eco-terrorists.  The joke went flat and the audience definitely had a fairly serious demeanor.   This was reinforced when I asked how many people in the audience thought that regulation was a real and coming concern for IT organizations.  Their response startled me.

I was surprised because nearly 85% of the audience had raised their hands.  If I contrast that to the response to the exact same question asked three months earlier at the Tier One Research Data Center Conference where only about 5% of the audience raised their hands, its clear that this is a message that is beginning to resonate, especially in the larger organizations.  

In my talk, I went through the Carbon Reduction Commitment legislation passed in the UK and the negative effects it is having upon data center and IT industry there, as well as the negative impacts to Site Selection Activity that it is causing firms to skip investing Data Center capital in the UK by and large.   I also went through the specifics of the Waxman-Markey bill in the US House of Representatives and the most recent thought on the various Senate based initiatives on this topic.   I have talked here about these topics before, so I will not rehash those issues for this post.  Most specifically I talked about the potential cost impacts to IT organizations and Data Center Operations and the complexity of managing both carbon reporting and both direct and indirect costs resulting from these efforts.  

While I was pleasantly surprised by the increased awareness of senior IT,  business managers, and Data Center Operators around the coming regulation impacts, I was not surprised by the responses I received with regards to their level of preparedness to reacting these initiatives.   Less than 10% of the room had the technology in place to even begin to collect the needed base information for such reporting and roughly 5% had begun a search for software or initiate development efforts to aggregate and report this information.

With this broad lack of infrastructural systems in place, let alone software for reporting -  I predict we are going to see a phenomena similar to the Y2K craziness in the next 2-3 years.  As the regulatory efforts here in the United States and across the EU begin to crystallize, organizations will need to scramble to get the proper systems and infrastructure in place to ensure compliance.   I call this coming phenomena – CO2K.  Regardless what you call it, I suspect, the coming years will be good for those firms with power management infrastructure and reporting capabilities.

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