Data Center Pulse: An exclusive group of global datacenter owners, operators and users. The goal of this community is to track the pulse of the industry and influence the future of the datacenter through discussion and debate.
Is it safe to build a data center anywhere along the coast? Can you really protect the availability or accessibility of your systems in the face of hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters? Just because you've built a solid structure, doesn't mean you can guarantee accessibility and your data center is nothing without connections.
Back in March, I wrote about the 2012 Data Center Top 10, the current pulse of what is hot, interesting, challenging or emerging from the DCP community. “Renewable Power Options” came in at Number Five but for eBay, it’s near the top of the list.
We fundamentally believe that the future of commerce can be better than it is today; not only more convenient and accessible to consumers, but greener, cleaner and more efficient. The technology infrastructure and energy behind eBay’s commerce platforms are core to this vision. I’ve written here many times about the radical efficiency measures and innovative design approaches that my team, in tandem with our industry partners, has integrated into our data center portfolio. But as remarkable as those accomplishments have been, we are still using more carbon-intensive electricity than we would like. For the last three years, we’ve traversed the complicated regulatory environment and ever-expanding technology arena to source clean energy where we operate. Today, I’m excited to announce our next step in that journey.
I fully expect controversy will be created by this blog especially amongst some of my awesome friends in the Sustainability/Green space and I am not actually advocating putting away the cleats and buying a game console.
Have you ever wondered what is on the mind of Data Center End Users? Why they make the decisions they make? What problems they are trying to solve? What keeps them up at night? Back in 2009, Data Center Pulse took a shot at capturing those thoughts through the 2009 Top 10. Over the last three years, this list has morphed as the interests, challenges and solutions emerged.
Today we are pleased to release the 2012 Top 10 that I was able to present at the Green Grid Technical Forum on March 7, 2012 in San Jose, CA. The 2012 Top 10 was vetted with the attendees of the DCP Summit held in conjunction with the Green Grid. DCP members discussed and debated the Top 10 along with the primary topics selected by attendees - The Green Grid Case Study onProject Mercury (video) and the Service Efficiency Metric Proposal. You can see the results from the Summit on my latest blog entry, DCP 2012 Summit Results.
2012 Top 10
Facilities & IT Alignment
Top Level Efficiency Metric
Standardized Stack Framework
Move from Availability to Resiliency
Renewable Power Options
"Containers" vs Brick & Mortar
Hybrid Data Center Designs
Liquid Cooled IT Equipment Options
Free Cooling "Everywhere"
Converged Infrastructure Intelligence.
The Top 10 is the current pulse of what is hot, interesting, challenging or emerging from the DCP community. We were able to record the Top 10 presentation I gave at the Green Grid Technical Forum closing session. The presentation showed how the Top 10 list has morphed over time as End User interests and challenges have changed, as well as provide context on each of the entries.
The DCP charter is to influence the industry through end users. We hope this latest Top 10 will give you insight into what is important right now - i.e. The Pulse.
On March 5, 2012 DCP members from as far away as Japan and Taiwan converged on the Doubletree hotel in San Jose, CA for an all day collaboration session with end user peers - The DCP 2012 Summit was held in conjunction with the Green Grid Technical Forum. Almost 50 of my industry peers from companies like Yahoo!, Microsoft, LBNL, Stanford University, Salesforce, @ Tokyo, Delta, Equinix and others, focused on discussing what's hot - i.e. the current "pulse" in DCP. With over 2200 members in 66 countries, there is definitely a lively "pulse".
The summit registration process yielded three priority topics
This year we changed the format. Instead of choosing 6 or 7 topics and breaking out into parallel groups, we selected a smaller number and held them in series so all members could be involved in the rich discussion and debate. The format worked out well. We had over 3 hours of discussion on Project Mercury, 2 1/2 hours on the Service Efficiency Metric and a wrap up hour on the Top 10 which I presented on behalf of DCP at the Green Grid Technical Forum closing session on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 (Watch for an upcoming blog and video on that next week). Below are three videos summarizing the event and the two primary topics.
As Mark and I discussed last January in Episode 33: Three Years Later, we are getting back to basics. These collaboration sessions are one of the key reasons that end users participate in Data Center Pulse. The networking, discussion, debate and innovation that comes from them is aligned with the Data Center Pulse charter to influence the Data Center industry through end users.
In December of 2011 we hosted an exclusive Data Center Pulse collaboration session one day before we held the opening of the eBay Data Center, Project Mercury. The goal of this collaboration session was to bring 50 of our Data Center peers together to deep dive into the project, the lessons learned and discuss/debate the relevance of these concepts being applied to their data centers. We also did something new in this session - we allowed 5 vendors to participate. Wait, before you cry foul and question why we would go against our charter, I need to lay out some context. We invited the design and construction teams (EDI Ltd, AHA Consulting Engineers, Winterstreet Architects & DPR) to participate in the closed door session with members. These were the engineers that did the actual work, not sales, marketing, etc. They had very relevant insight and learnings into the challenges and lesson learned. That session went very well with lots of people discussing and debating the implementation and practicality to application in their environment. Once we finished that session, we had parallel deep dives with the Dell and HP technologists who were directly responsible for the Container, Server and Storage designs and implementations in Project Mercury. It was engineers talking to engineers.
This collaboration session turned out be one of the most productive we've had to date. Below is a video with footage from the event, a quick tour of the Project Mercury Data Center and Interviews with some of the attendees.
DCP was formed on September 8, 2009. It seems like only yesterday when we started this! Quite a bit has happened since that date. We have over 2200 core members in 66 countries representing over 1000 companies in almost every industry. Our original charter has remained the same; Influence the industry through the insight of the consumer - the data center owner/operator. Join Mark Thiele and I as we reflect back on the three years and address how we plan to get back to basics with DCP in 2012.
Unfortunately, there isn't a simple answer to the "Is Public Cloud Greener" question as the only real answer is "it depends". At the core of the question is that assumption that because you're theoretically using fewer physical machines more effectively, that you are thereby greener or more efficient. However, even if we stay with that assumption, when you dig into the details of what being "greener" really means, you'll see that there's still no easy answer.
In order for cloud to be greener, it has to accomplish two things at a very high level:
Force it's such a strong word, but it definitely applies if my reasoning has any basis in reality.
The point of this blog is to illustrate that regardless of the intrinsic value of any given tool in the IT tool chest, once it's implemented it becomes a cost. Now, please don't read this the wrong way, I'm not an advocate of the thinking that IT is merely a place that helps us cut the cost of IT. What I am saying is that once you've effectively implemented a new technology solution, managing the on-going costs becomes a factor in your survival.