The Weight of Technical Liberty…Cutting the Cruft

Over the next few months, it’s my sincere desire to share with you some of the amazing technology accomplishments currently underway at First Data and how we are attempting to change the industry.  In any conversation about the future, you must begin by framing the past.   As you may or may not know First Data is a company that was founded in 1971.   It is a company hallmarked in its early years by significant technology innovation with a number of ‘firsts’ in the enablement of credit card processing across the globe. 

Throughout the years the company grew both organically as well as through large numbers of mergers and acquisitions on a global scale which ultimately enabled it to become the international leader it is today.  I will spare folks a deeper commercial of the company only to state that today it has more scale and technology reach than any other company like it in the #Fintech space. 

I share this information because it’s that unencumbered growth over decades of acquisition, an evolving and changing regulatory and compliance field of requirements, and a historically growing list of platforms and services that ultimately led to the largest trove of ‘Cruft’ I have ever been challenged with in my personal career. It’s a challenge 45 years in the making. 

As you may recall I first defined ‘Cruft’ while engaged at the Turn-Around at AOL:

Cruft is defined as years of build-up of technology, processes, politics, fiscal orphaning, and poor operational hygiene that ultimately impede technical agility and operation.  Additionally, Cruft can create an acidic cloud of lethargy or apathy in the workforce that ultimately sucks the energy out of innovation from within.

When I originally defined the term I was referring to the work we accomplished attacking the Cruft in a different organization which ultimately led to the company winning the Uptime Institute’s “Server Round-Up” Award. That award was created to promote full IT and Facilities integration and improve overall energy efficiency.  While recognized for the energy efficiency improvement, it was really a by-product of other technological and organizational wins for the company.

Our work on ‘attacking the Cruft’ at First Data has resulted in similar, in fact, greater energy cost savings, but more importantly it has reduced and continues to reduce the operational complexity of our environments.  Attacking the Cruft problem along the technology, process, and hygiene axes have resulted in some very powerful and significant results.  While we are far from completing the task, the last twenty-four (24) months have yielded some mind-numbing progress.

Is this really my metric? So Not Technical…

The first challenge I had was trying to find a way to truly quantify the reductions in a metric everyone could understand.   Simply counting servers was not enough, it could not account for other devices like storage equipment, network equipment, and other kit that does not easily fold into that definition.   Measuring power usage decreases, while absolutely telling the effort from a purely technical perspective, obfuscated the tremendous amount of work and passion the teams poured into modernizing our plant.  Many of the consumers of the information of our modernization efforts are not technology or energy wonks.   We had to come up with a metric that was universal.  That everyone, even non-technical people could understand and visualize.   In the end, we settled on the ‘ton’. 

I know what you are thinking…the ton?  As in… like..weight?

Yes. 

It’s not as cool as measuring in megawatts, or measured computational capacity, or MIPS, or IOPs, or whatever metric is fashionable these days, but it is universal.  Additionally, the scale of the work output would just get lost.   So what did we achieve over the last 24 months?

  1. We removed 220+ tons of IT Equipment from our global data centers.
  2. We consolidated and shutdown 5 data centers across the world; and have an aggressive plan to continue to consolidate more.
  3. We employed large-scale internal virtualization technology, open source cloud technologies, and are building a hybridized cloud controller that has resulted in moving nearly 75% of our physical distributed server environments to a virtualized footprint. (I will share more on that in a different post).

There were significant other achievements as well which we can discuss at a later date.  But as I said, we had to set the framework of what the starting position was.   We still have a mountain of work in this space to do but the momentum has started and passions have been ignited.  Those passions are blowing away that “acidic cloud” that results from Cruft.  The results speak for themselves.  That is an incredible amount of work to achieve in just 24 months.  It’s not just about establishing a set of technical goals for an organization to achieve.  As a leader it’s about ensuring that you have created the fertile soil for those changes to take place and have empowered your people to make decisions along that alignment. 

Of course, none of this could have been achieved if the firm from the top down was dedicated to driving this kind of significant change.   First Data is truly blessed with a board and leadership team who not only understand technology, they have lived it, they have managed it, they have won with it.   It’s a very unique set of variables that have been toggled.

While tonnage may be an easier metric for non-techies to understand how much equipment was removed,  it is hard to grasp just how much 220 tons actually represents.  As these efforts over the last two years have created more operational simplicity giving us the freedom and liberty to expand and explore new technology approaches it is only fitting to associate it with the Statue of Liberty.  Which by coincidence also weighs 220 tons.  Visualize that.

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Is Emotional Intelligence in a Leader Important in a Tech-led Turn Around?

eqxno

I was recently reflecting on and inspired by an article I read by Ross Kingsland which was published over a year ago on the topic of the Emotional Intelligence myth in leadership.  His article focuses on the role of the leader and whether or not emotional intelligence (or EQ) has any measurable effectiveness in the area of leadership.   In fact he even points out that the entire application of Emotional Intelligence in leadership as a discipline is only mentioned a single time in the original research done by Daniel Goleman.

One thing that you must understand is that on the weekends I become a voracious consumer of information and data.  Its that quiet time of the week when the pressing issues and challenges of my day job subside just enough to allow for additional thought expansion. Whether that data and information is work or industry related, or an area that I just have personal passions in,  it doesn’t really matter.   To me each idea has a specific shape.  Its own mass.   For me to really consume it, understand it, agree and/or disagree with it, it must process in my brain as a three dimensional object.   There I have to play with the shape.  Explore it.  Challenge it.  Stretch it.  Apply my own life experience and pre-conceived opinions against it.  Its like a blob of silly putty and I play with it for as long as I need to until I get value and enjoyment from it.  If truth be told, more often than not, I get more value and enjoyment from the process itself than the revelations I may or may not come up with. 

While not specifically technology focused, the article itself challenges whether or not a leader’s specific measurable EQ has an impact on organizational effectiveness or end results. I prefer to think of EQ less as a sole measure and more of a “trait with weight” that is influenced and regulated by other environmental factors.  The individual leader’s trait is but a voice (and more importantly an ear) in the cacophony of the environment. Their individual trait interacts with what I will call organizational receptors to determine its ability to successfully impact it or not.  Much like an athlete with raw natural talent must practice and engage situationally to hone their craft.  It does not matter if the athlete can throw a ball 80 yards with exacting precision, if he cannot do it when his opponents are closing in on him from all sides, he will fail.

When it comes to the combining the concepts of leadership and EQ all of the conversations I have experienced focus too much on the leader as a lone agent. I believe it has more to do with the leaders interaction within their own specific eco-system and their experience in managing the combined tactical and EQ environment of their teams.

Its through this lens that I believe that Leadership EQ begins to matter…and I do think it matters.  The caveat is that it matters experientially based upon where in the hierarchy you sit, the function one delivers, and the results expected by the task.  Additionally EQ has as many inputs as outputs and together they can become cumulative in ultimately creating or reflecting a set of expectations and results not immediately appreciated in the environment.  

Interestingly I have also come to the belief that an individual leader’s EQ becomes less relevant the higher in the hierarchy he or she achieves specifically in organizations that experience “normal” levels of stress or pressure in the system.  I would also posit that organizations going through “significant or elevated” levels of stress actually prefer a lack of measureable EQ in the highest levels of leadership which reinforces Kingsland’s ‘Hero’ observations. However, even in those situations, those more localized team leads in an organization must still have those EQ talents if the organization is to deliver successful results. 

These are important factors to consider especially when leading an organization through change and selecting and understanding your leadership team and management chain.

What is Emotional Intelligence or EQ Anyway?

The Wikipedia definition of EQ is defined as :

“the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.[1] Emotional intelligence also reflects abilities to join intelligence, empathy and emotions to enhance thought and understanding of interpersonal dynamics.”

I wont go into the various EQ models or the complexity of the debate by those much smarter than me in this space.  My position is more observational and it focuses more on the different environmental representations and reflections in the modern workplace.  Its less about an individual and more about the navigation of the leader in a complex interaction of individuals and their work environments.

Its not just about the leader but the landscape of the led

Having observed and participated in some fairly substantial organizational and company level turn-around activity especially in the realm of technology there seems to be a clear set of criteria or perhaps areas of awareness required for success. In my experience where groups have led change the following 10 conditions were present and where results were mixed or failed they were not.  Please keep in my that this is solely through the lens of the EQ perspective.  There are far more opportunities to fail via poor strategic or tactical decisions.  So we must pre-suppose for this chat that the strategy and tactical direction is correct or at least directionally correct.

As mentioned, I believe it is more about the interaction and observation of the leader with an overall EQ ecosystem that is additionally regulated by specific expectations of hierarchy. In short, I have ended up on the following basic tenets of observation in this space:

  1. EQ can be measured (and in my mind more accurately weighted) for an individual leader. But it is just a small but important part in driving overall organization effectiveness and success. Like the natural athlete has the raw ability, its the application of those skills into real world experiences that matter most.
  2. EQ is also an organizational environmental variable that is made up from the collective expectations of its individuals and their own personal weights.  Those individuals, groups or teams have created a collective set of traits and importance as an organization.  In order for a leader to lead to success those collective expectations need to be met. In effect, each ‘organization’ has its own EQ desires and expectations fashioned from the interaction of its members along with their individual requirements. 
  3. An organization can have different EQ personalities at different levels of the hierarchy which also need to be well understood. 
  4. Different strategies will likely need to be applied to each level of the hierarchy of the eco-system for success to be achieved.
  5. In some cases even the distribution of teams across different geographies can add additional cultural/experiential wrinkles to the problem that must be accommodated into the strategy.
  6. Any successful leader must be able and willing to “change frequencies” in both their sending of communication and more importantly their reception of it in the eco-system.  Depending on the hierarchy and size of the organization a leader may introduce, change, or incent other “receivers” at closer levels in the hierarchy. 
  7. If this is done, it is imperative that those “receivers” have a more direct communication path to the leader.
  8. EQ matters more at the atomic work level.  Close to the execution teams.
  9. In a turn-around or organizational change situation – the overall strategic or tactical deliverables are paramount.  Those are the goals to be achieved.  While these can be achieved from a purely intellectual pursuit, it is the ignition via EQ that represents the fuel that will power that change. That fuel has a finite quantity.  The leader who ignites the EQ “fuel” with a Poor strategy and direction can cause a change in the EQ characteristics of the environment they are trying to read. Capability Counts. Confidence Counts.
  10. Be mindful that in my experience different professions can have their own sets of group EQ expectations that may differ from the rest of the organization – Technology organizations versus Human Resource Organizations for example.  There can even be slight differentiations introduced by geography or culture.  Think Silicon Valley Technology versus Atlanta Internet Company versus East Coast Financial Services Technology cultures.  Like different plays in a playbook, the leader must adapt their EQ strategy.

One might argue that this would all feed into the formal definition of a leader’s emotional intelligence.  Their ability to read the field as things develop.   In some regards that is true, but my supposition is that it is more than just their ability.  On one hand there is an ability that is both natural and experiential (to some degree even learnable if not observable) and on the other hand there is an equal force in the environment that they work in that is as dynamic, changing, and alive which represents individual EQ’s and aggregations of EQ from within the organization.   Its that delicate dance the defines the ultimate success.

In his post, Ross Kingsland asked “How is it so many people in position of power and leadership achieve this level and maintain it, despite the fact that their emotional intelligence is perceived as low?” His examples focus on Tony Blair, Barrack Obama, and even George W. Bush.   In my mind it ultimately boils down to how well they understand, listen, interact, and ultimately manage the EQs of the various organizations and institutions they lead.  Its not just about the leader.  The organizational EQ pushes back. It interacts.  It can and does change. Once higher level needs are met, the needs of the organization become more focused.  The leader must continue to dance. It is not a one and done affair.

Ultimately the leader charged with change my deploy their own strategy around the EQ.  It tests their ability to read the plays.  The teams they put in place and their ability to “fire up” or “ignite” the underlying EQ passions of the organization they lead.  If a low EQ leader knows that they have a deficiency they may compensate with hiring or promoting more ‘relate-able’ leaders underneath them.  Its a perfectly sound strategy but it takes some awareness of one’s own strengths and weaknesses.  All of Ross’ leadership examples had specific programs, plans, and targets – the tactical and strategic goals to achieve.  Their ability to execute and inspire had less to do with their own EQ as it did their strategies and interactions with the various elements of the EQ environments they worked within. 

The one thing worth mentioning is that a certain EQ Cognitive dissonance occurs when organizations are in a significantly stressed state.   The tactical and strategic elements of a leaders plan can over-ride any underlying requirements from the organizational EQ if the entire eco-system itself is under strain.  An example would be if the company’s existence has been significantly disrupted or in danger of going out of business.  In that case it is highly likely to find people putting their own interests and preferences aside for the short term to save the firm. 

In these cases leaders with high intelligence but low emotional intelligence are tolerated and to some degree rallied behind.  The example used in the article focused around Winston Churchill during World War Two.   During the time of extreme duress the country and its institutions fell into line behind someone with a plan and a way forward.  Once the danger had passed, the ‘organization’ eventually rejected him. Just about everyone has an example of someone who led an organization or group to achieve a great feat while presented with overwhelming odds only to ultimately be undone by those same teams once the ‘big trouble’ was eliminated.

In the end, it represents another work track that one has to be mindful of when tasked to bring about change in an organization.  For whatever reason my own personal experience has shown this to be particularly important in the Technology areas of a company.   When its deployed successfully – you achieve the mission faster, with less resistance, and ultimately with better results.  That is not to say you cannot achieve this without it, but its definitely a hard path to execute along.  Of course there is always a better than average chance I am full of …silly putty.

Interesting and Related Links

http://rosskingsland.com/emotional-intelligence-myth-leadership/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/06/14/why-some-psychopaths-make-great-ceos/2/#1373dbe23c8f

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On the Move: First Data

Well after a bit of time in stealth I am finally able to announce that I have taken the position of Chief Technology Officer at First Data. 

After being asked to join the Turn-Around team at AOL and driving some amazing results over the past four years, it was time for a change.  I absolutely loved my time there and the people were amazing.  Success has a quality all on its own and it was an incredibly personally rewarding experience for me to be a part of something that unique.

The move to First Data is an incredibly exciting move for me for many different reasons but one of the key drivers for me is that I feel that this industry is ripe for change.  It’s a move for me from running and building large scale Internet products and infrastructure to the Financial Services Industry.  

For those of you who may be be unaware of who First Data is, or what they do, its probably easiest to think of it this way – one out of every two credit card or debit card transactions across the world touches our infrastructure at some point in the transaction process. From a transactional scale perspective its very similar to what I have been used to companies likes AOL, Microsoft, and Disney.  The difference being of course that these transactions are a little more important than checking your favorite sports scores, or getting your e-mail. 

My challenge of course is to drive automation. To build a platform that makes infrastructure a decisive and differentiating platform to launch products and services.  To create a learning infrastructure and software eco-system that gets smarter over time.   In large part how do you blend the agility of the Internet with the maturity and complexity of the Financial Services Industry.   Sure it’s a complex technical problem space, but it has some very interesting business and regulatory challenges as well.   In many respects dealing with Safe Harbor, Regulatory and tax has been part of my job for many years.  The challenge now is to take that automation to the next level.  

To that end I have to say that First Data is assembling an amazingly formidable team to drive this change.  I will be reporting to the President of First Data, Guy Chiarello.  Guy is a universally respected Technology leader in the Financial Services industry with top posts at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase.  Technology will be key to the success of the company and the leadership team is a unique blend of technology savvy leaders from across the world. 

The new adventure begins!

You can follow the link to the official press announcement.

Along with the initial pickup from the Wall Street Journal.

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Whiffs of Wisdom #6 – Managing People Managing Tough Decisions

I am getting a lot of encouragement to share more of my “Whiffs of Wisdom”.  Most are related to Managing Technical People, Technology situations and Managing Managers.  All of them have tongue firmly placed in cheek.  :)    Heres another one that came up recently:

Whiffs of Wisdom #6 

On Managing People who Have to Manage Tough Decisions

Never underestimate ones ability to avoid making a tough decision or having a tough conversation.  There is a nigh-limitless fountain of creativity in the work created, conference calls had, or meetings to attend –  to avoid having a tough conversation.  If only you could harness that creativity for good.  Vigiliance, personal support, and every once in a while a swift kick in the rear are the only known remedies.

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Whiffs of Wisdom #18 – Project Managers and Security People

I am not sure why but for some reason this topic has come up for me like 8 times this week.  Rather than continue to talk about it I figured I would just post one of my “Whiffs of Wisdom” some people call them “Manosisms”.  Apparently I am the worst person in the world at coming up with anecdotes but people get my drift so in my book that means success.

Whiffs of Wisdom #18

On Project Managers and Security People

Every Technology organization needs Project Managers and Security-focused Engineers.  There ACTUALLY IS a magic number of these individuals to have in your organization.  I don’t know what that number is, but I know when I have one too many of either.   These folks bring order to chaos (Engineers are notoriously terrible at project management) but the moment is starts becoming more about the process versus the END RESULTS I know we have gotten off track.  There is nothing more effective than a great project manager and nothing more destructive than an overbearing rule-nazi project manager.    You need to watch it closely because left to their own well-meaning devices these groups tend to create Bureaus of Business Prevention.

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Industry Impact : Brothers from Different Mothers and Beyond…

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My reading material and video watching habits these past two weeks have brought me some incredible joy and happiness. Why?  Because Najam Ahmad of Facebook is finally getting some credit for the amazing work that he has done and been doing in the world of Software Defined Networking.  In my opinion Najam is a Force Majeure in the networking world.   He is passionate.  He is focused. He just gets things done.  Najam and I worked very closely at Microsoft as we built out and managed the company’s global infrastructure. So closely in fact that we were frequently referred to as brothers from different mothers.   Wherever Najam was-I was not far behind, and vice versa. We laughed. We cried.  We fought.  We had alot of fun while delivered some pretty serious stuff.  To find out that he is behind the incredible Open Compute Project advances in Networking is not surprising at all.   Always a forward thinking guy he has never been satisfied with the status quo.    
If you have missed any of that coverage you I strongly encourage you to have a read at the links below.   


This got me to thinking about the legacy of the Microsoft program on the Cloud and Infrastructure Industry at large.   Data Center Knowledge had an article covering the impact of some of the Yahoo Alumni a few years ago. Many of those folks are friends of mine and deserve great credit.  In fact, Tom Furlong now works side by side with Najam at Facebook.    The purpose of my thoughts are not to take away from their achievements and impacts on the industry but rather to really highlight the impact of some of the amazing people and alumni from the Microsoft program.  Its a long overdue acknowledgement of the legacy of that program and how it has been a real driving force in large scale infrastructure.   The list of folks below is by no means comprehensive and doesnt talk about the talented people Microsoft maintains in their deep stable that continue to drive the innovative boundaries of our industry.  

Christian Belady of Microsoft – Here we go, first person mentioned and I already blow my own rule.   I know Christian is still there at Microsoft but its hard not to mention him as he is the public face of the program today.  He was an innovative thinker before he joined the program at Microsoft and was a driving thought leader and thought provoker while I was there.  While his industry level engagements have been greatly sidelined as he steers the program into the future – he continues to be someone willing to throw everything we know and accept today into the wind to explore new directions.
Najam Ahmad of Facbook – You thought  I was done talking about this incredible guy?  Not in the least, few people have solved network infrastructure problems at scale like Najam has.   With his recent work on the OCP front finally coming to the fore, he continues to drive the capabilities of what is possible forward.  I remember long meetings with Network vendors where Najam tried to influence capabilities and features with the box manufacturers within the paradigm of the time, and his work at Facebook is likely to end him up in a position where he is both loved and revilved by the Industry at large.  If that doesn’t say your an industry heavy weight…nothing does.
James Hamilton of Amazon – There is no question that James continues to drive deep thinking in our industry. I remain an avid reader of his blog and follower of his talks.    Back in my Microsoft days we would sit  and argue philosophical issues around the approach to our growth, towards compute, towards just about everything.   Those conversations either changed or strengthed my positions as the program evolved.   His work in the industry while at Microsoft and beyond has continued to shape thinking around data centers, power, compute, networking and more.
Dan Costello of Google – Dan Costello now works at Google, but his impacts on the Generation 3 and Generation 4 data center approaches and the modular DC industry direction overall  will be felt for a very long time to come whether Google goes that route or not.   Incredibly well balanced in his approach between technology and business his ideas and talks continue to shape infrastructre at scale.  I will spare people the story of how I hired him away from his previous employer but if you ever catch me at a conference, its a pretty funny story. Not to mention the fact that he is the second best break dancer in the Data Center Industry.
Nic Bustamonte of Google – Nic is another guy who has had some serious impact on the industry as it relates to innovating the running and operating of large scale facilities.   His focus on the various aspects of the operating environments of large scale data centers, monioring, and internal technology has shifted the industry and really set the infancy for DCIM in motion.   Yes, BMS systems have been around forever, and DCIM is the next interation and blending of that data, but his early work here has continued to influence thinking around the industry.
Arne Josefsberg of ServiceNow – Today Arne is the CTO of Service Now, and focusing on infrastructure and management for enterprises to the big players alike and if their overall success is any measure, he continues to impact the industry through results.  He is *THE* guy who had the foresight of building an organiation to adapt to this growing change of building and operating at scale.   He the is the architect of building an amazing team that would eventually change the industry.
Joel Stone of Savvis/CenturyLink – Previously the guy who ran global operations for Microsoft, he has continued to drive excellence in Operations at Global Switch and now at Savvis.   An early adopter and implmenter of blending facilities and IT organizations he mastered issues a decade ago that most companies are still struggling with today.
Sean Farney of Ubiquity – Truly the first Data center professional who ever had to productize and operationalize data center containers at scale.   Sean has recently taken on the challenge of diversifying data center site selection and placement at Ubquity repurposing old neighorbood retail spaces (Sears, etc) in the industry.   Given the general challenges of finding places with a confluence of large scale power and network, this approach may prove to be quite interesting as markets continue to drive demand.   
Chris Brown of Opscode – One of the chief automation architects at my time at Microsoft, he has moved on to become the CTO of Opscode.  Everyone on the planet who is adopting and embracing a DevOps has heard of, and is probably using, Chef.  In fact if you are doing any kind of automation at large scale you are likely using his code.
None of these people would be comfortable with the attention but I do feel credit should be given to these amazing individuals who are changing our industry every day.    I am so very proud to have worked the trenches with these people. Life is always better when you are surrounded by those who challenge and support you and in my opinion these folks have taken it to the next level.
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Google Purchase of Deep Earth Mining Equipment in Support of ‘Project Rabbit Ears’ and Worldwide WIFI availability…

(10/31/2013 – Mountain View, California) – Close examination of Google’s data center construction related purchases has revealed the procurement of large scale deep earth mining equipment.   While the actual need for the deep mining gear is unclear, many speculate that it has to do with a secretive internal project that has come to light known only as Project: Rabbit Ears. 

According to sources not at all familiar with Google technology infrastructure strategy, Project Rabbit ears is the natural outgrowth of Google’ desire to provide ubiquitous infrastructure world wide.   On the surface, these efforts seem consistent with other incorrectly speculated projects such as Project Loon, Google’s attempt to provide Internet services to residents in the upper atmosphere through the use of high altitude balloons, and a project that has only recently become visible and the source of much public debate – known as ‘Project Floating Herring’, where apparently a significantly sized floating barge with modular container-based data centers sitting in the San Francisco Bay has been spied. 

“You will notice there is no power or network infrastructure going to any of those data center shipping containers,” said John Knownothing, chief Engineer at Dubious Lee Technical Engineering Credibility Corp.  “That’s because they have mastered wireless electrical transfer at the large multi-megawatt scale.” 

Real Estate rates in the Bay Area have increased almost exponentially over the last ten years making the construction of large scale data center facilities an expensive endeavor.  During the same period, The Port of San Francisco has unfortunately seen a steady decline of its import export trade.  After a deep analysis it was discovered that docking fees in the Port of San Francisco are considerably undervalued and will provide Google with an incredibly cheap real estate option in one of the most expensive markets in the world. 

It will also allow them to expand their use of renewable energy through the use of tidal power generation built directly into the barges hull.   “They may be able to collect as much as 30 kilowatts of power sitting on the top of the water like that”, continues Knownothing, “and while none of that technology is actually visible, possible, or exists, we are certain that Google has it.”

While the technical intricacies of the project fascinate many, the initiative does have its critics like Compass Data Center CEO, Chris Crosby, who laments the potential social aspects of this approach, “Life at sea can be lonely, and no one wants to think about what might happen when a bunch of drunken data center engineers hit port.”  Additionally, Crosby mentions the potential for a backslide of human rights violations, “I think we can all agree that the prospect of being flogged or keel hauled really narrows down the possibility for those outage causing human errors. Of course, this sterner level of discipline does open up the possibility of mutiny.”

However, the public launch of Project Floating Herring will certainly need to await the delivery of the more shrouded Project Rabbit Ears for various reasons.  Most specifically the primary reason for the development of this technology is so that Google can ultimately drive the floating facility out past twelve miles into International waters where it can then dodge all national, regional, and local taxation, the safe harbor and privacy legislation of any country or national entity on the planet that would use its services.   In order to realize that vision, in the current network paradigm, Google would need exceedingly long network cables  to attach to Network Access Points and Carrier Connection points as the facilities drive through international waters.

This is where Project Rabbit Ears becomes critical to the Google Strategy.   Making use of the deep earth mining equipment, Google will be able to drill deep into the Earths crust, into the mantle, and ultimately build a large Network Access Point near the Earth’s core.  This Planetary WIFI solution will be centrally located to cover the entire earth without the use of regional WIFI repeaters.  Google’s floating facilities could then gain access to unlimited bandwidth and provide yet another consumer based monetization strategy for the company. 

Knownothing also speculates that such a move would allow Google to make use of enormous amounts of free geo-thermic power and almost singlehandedly become the greenest power user on the planet.   Speculation also abounds that Google could then sell that power through its as yet un-invented large scale multi-megawatt wireless power transfer technology as unseen on its floating data centers.

Much of the discussion around this kind of technology innovation driven by Google has been given credible amounts of veracity and discussed by many seemingly intelligent technology based news outlets and industry organizations who should intellectually know better, but prefer not to acknowledge the inconvenient lack of evidence.

 

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Editors Note: I have many close friends in the Google Infrastructure organization and firmly believe that they are doing some amazing, incredible work in moving the industry along especially solving problems at scale.   What I find simply amazing is in the search for innovation how often our industry creates things that may or may not be there and convince ourselves so firmly that it exists.