Last night I attended my first Digital Realty Round Table Discussion in London and it was a fantastic treat and topper for my trip to the UK. For those of you not familiar with these events, its an opportunity to discuss the challenges and issues facing the industry in an informal setting. The events are hosted by Bernard Geoghegan, who is the General Manager for European Region who does a great job of MC’ing the dinner and ensuring that conversation flows. As the dinner begins attendees introduce themselves but are not required to mention the firms they work at. The purpose of this meeting is real unfiltered conversation. Selling and product positioning is not strictly not allowed, most especially from Digital attendees.
As I sat around the largest round table in London (literally!) and scanned across the 25 or so attendees I really did not know what to expect. I was pretty confident that if no-one bothered to offer any conversation points up, Jim Smith (who also attended) and I could probably find some aspect of technology to argue and debate about. But It didn’t take long for the fireworks to come out. In fact the first person to introduce himself also listed out some of the things concerning him and that process flowed on to each participant. By the time we got around the table of introductions we had healthy list of issues, challenges, and topics to talk about. So much so, that there was absolutely no hope of getting to all of them.
After introductions I kicked off the conversation by diving into Data Center Management measurements. Currency per kilowatt. It was a great conversation with those that agreed that this was a good metric and those that did not. I am not going to go into the topics we discussed in this post. They ranged from data center metrics, data center industry challenges, PUE, Data Center Tiering, Cloud Services, Managed Services, and a host of others. There is way too much to cover, and each will likely end up being its own post. Lets just say there was no lack of opinion or fervor behind most topics. Most interesting to me was the variation and representation of the firms around the table. While many did not identify their specific firms, they did mention that they worked for a bank, a hosting provider, a large retail chain, etc. It really highlighted to me how diverse our industry is and the technology applications we need to solve for. The pervading thought as I left was that the current regulatory attempts to govern this space are going to be downright disastrous or ineffectual unless those agencies began to start reaching out to our industry in specific. I have a whole post in mind on this, but fair warning – IT IS COMING (its already here), IT WILL AFFECT YOU – and YOU CANNOT IGNORE IT ANY MORE.
More on that to come. I would strongly suggest that if you havent attended one of these events you think about doing so. Quite a few of the attendees shared that they learned a great deal through this kind of group therapy. It was a blast.