IT starts to think about Facilities
Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at 10:49PM
Toby Considine in Data Center, Markets and Innovation

I had the pleasure of beginning a correspondence with Ken Uhlman through this blog, and of meeting Ken tonight. Ken is with Eaton (Power) in their Data Center group. Eaton is part of a group I had not been tracking before, The Green Grid™.

The Green Grid is a consortium seeking to lower the overall consumption of power in data centers. The organization is chartered to develop meaningful, platform-neutral standards, measurement methods, processes and new technologies to improve energy efficient performance of global data centers.

Readers know that I reach for phrases that get the message quickly, or in a different light when I can. (I alternate with long-winded opaque discussions to keep you on your toes.) Ken had two such phrases he was willing to share.

“Everything in the enterprise today is on the IT network, EXCEPT for Facilities, and when facilities goes down, that’s a problem.”

I have had conversations similar to this many times at UNC. Our remote stations lose connectivity if they rely exclusively on the central data center, especially after a few day outage, as happens during a Carolina Ice Storm, or after a Hurricane, or…I’d say pretty reliable every three years. When it does, the people who are impacted are the folks that Data Center is waiting on to re-create the utilities to get the network up. (That doesn’t matter, during emergencies, non-essential employees are to stay at home)

Ken relates the other question he likes to ask CIOs.

Tell me about your data center automation strategy, and they espouse all their storage, network, and compute activities with HP, IBM, CISCO…,” and then I ask them, “tell me about your facility automation strategy that supports your IT automation strategy.”

Ken relates that this results in a deer in the headlight stare…I can tell Ken lives in the city. Out where I live, the deer in the headlights usually leap into your car.

Power, Power Quality, Power Back-Up, Power Management, Power QOS, and, dare I say it, 3rd party Power Auditing loom large in thinking about facilities in the years ahead.

Tomorrow, I will meet more of the members of The Green Grid. I will report back later.

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