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Are you a Guppie?

Greening your CollarimageimageGuppie?! In this age of soundbite information, we have to have our labels right. So my father who is a long time data center manager and up until very recently leaned very much to the “right” in politics asked me about this whole “Green” thing. His question was to the effect of “how did you get into all this Green stuff”? As I dug further what he was really asking is how can I be a Greenie when I don’t look or act anything like the traditional American stereotype of a “Treehugger”. For those unfamiliar, starting in the 1980′s a sort of a branding exercise began by the ultra-capitalist base to paint those with environmental concerns as being socialist, hippie, unemployed owl lovers. I find this misconception is still strong among many people born before 1975 in the US.So fast forward to today, where are we? Well, anyone can see that an unbridled “charge it” first, let the free market figure it out second posture is catching up with us. And what has been the response, a pendulum swing to a socialist answer, the partial nationalizing of US financial institutions. Sounds like a system screaming for balance no?Ok, political history and considerations aside…who and what type of people are making their white and blue collars a deeper shade of Green? Its hard to speak in generalities with any authority so let me simply offer my observations of how roles are changing in business and how personal passions come into play. Over the last couple of years I have probably spoken ~100 times to well over 1000 people on how Cisco is approaching Green in data centers and beyond. I always try to anticipate what an audience would like to get out of a session and for most, if not all of 2007 it was about learning the basics to help define what Green meant to them in my opinion. Fast forward to today and I think we’ve begun the transition to “how do I apply that knowledge”. I think one of the unspoken challenges here in adopting Green considerations in general is the label thing. You may find many in the business world might be dismissive of a Green point of view even though you have a personal passion for it.Don’t be frustrated if you are made to feel like a silly Treehugger for throwing your 2 Green cents in. Part of it is the entrenched perception, part of it is the flood of Greenwash marketing out there, part of it is pure taxonomy. What I will typically try to do is this:1) Dispel the notion of that you have to be a hippie type to care about the environment (I for example am the son of a retired US Naval Chief, a former NCAA athlete and data center architect, no dreadlocks, shaved and deodorized)2) As quickly as possible move past the term Green. You can start with the 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). In our case we talk Reduce. Reduce what? Reduce $’s, Watts and C02 through energy efficiency. This will help a lot as Green is political and social in nature and far too nebulous for the typical business planning meeting.3) Show your stuff and don’t be shy about the fact that energy efficiency, infrastructure consolidation, simplification of architectures, etc. are all a good thing by any traditional business measure if planned and implemented correctly.4) Don’t go to far down the black-hole of circular math. This can be an unfortunate side effect of a subjective value measure of energy efficiency. Green and in general the value that is placed on an IT work unit for a particular service will be specific to an operation. Stick to what is understood and can be cited like electrical efficiency, PUE and DCiE from The Green Grid as examples. This is not to say you should stop there as you do have to form your own value metric specific to your operation. However, you have to get there through building consensus and that consensus can be achieved by starting with an objective foundation of data sets.What I’m seeing is a group of IT professionals that is growing bigger by the day, the Eco-Herd Freidman might call them? What I have seen most of my colleagues doing is learning about Green issues in their spare time (we all have a lot of that!) and getting themselves to a point of confidence where they can be credibly conversant and in time, drive a Green agenda. Whatever your tactics, the strategy of getting to know Green is a smart thing from a professional development standpoint. In my case, I am a more valuable employee being a Green expert than I would be as a pure networking specialist, especially considering I have 20 years experience in “Green” and maybe 5-7 in networking. A Green skill set will be even more compelling if we see more regulations roll out in the next 2 presidential terms…So, Guppy? Greenie+Yuppie = Guppie. While I’m not a fan of labels and these 2 are more or less diametrically opposed, its the best one I could think of to describe the emerging Green IT professional. One who considers economic and ecologic considerations with somewhat equal weighting.Are you?PS -- Check out to see the changing face of Greenies

Happy Birthday to Online Gaming, a day late, many dollars short, and their name is MUD

I just read what I thought was a very interesting write-up on the evolution of online gaming. As someone who played MUDs, tried to write and code for one once, dabbled with games like Galactic Empire on 1200bps dial-up BBS systems, then evolved to Ultima Online, Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Warhammer Age of Reckoning, and then back to World of Warcraft with the add-ons… yep, am a bit of a gamer. In fact sitting on my desktop is the link to WoW Burning Crusade.But what started it all, was the Multi-User Dungeon. I played on one in college off of the DUC VAX named Mallard at Auburn University. But that was years after this one first came up, MUD-1. A good read…, these are a wonderful driver of Internet and Data Center architectures and bandwidth….

Cisco on Cisco Data Center TechMinute Podcast Series

Data Center TechMinute: Your Insider View into Cisco’s Global Data Center Development and Strategy GUESTS:Doug Alger, IT Architect, CiscoOmar Sultan, Data Center Product Marketing Manager, CiscoTOPIC COVERED:Cisco’s IT team defines Cisco current and future data center design issues, development and strategy.

Data Center TechMinute: How is Cisco Virtualizing Our Own Infrastructure? GUESTS:Sidney Morgan, IT Manager, CiscoOmar Sultan, Data Center Product Marketing Manager, CiscoTOPIC COVERED:Listen in on how Cisco is driving energy efficiency in our own data center infrastructure.

WAN Optimization: Available Today from your Service Provider

While WAN optimization has proven to be a core and well valued enterprise networking (and broader IT) technology — forecasted at $1.4B for 2008 — the availability of service provider managed service offerings for WAN optim. is beginning to hit its stride in 2008.For example, Verizon announced its expanded WAN optimization service this week — leveraging Cisco WAAS. And Cable & Wireless announced WAN optimization as a managed service offering earlier this year…. Read More »

Cisco — market leader in blade switches??

As a solution to address power, space & complexity within the data center, many data center IT managers are increasingly turning to blade servers. One of these customers, a Silicon Valley neighbor to Cisco, is LiveOps, which provides a SaaS call center solution for enterprise customers. The company also utilizes its on-demand platform to operate the largest virtual call center with access to more than 20,000 independent home agents handling customer service, support and sales calls for Fortune 500 and major media companies.

┬áLiveOps currently has two data centers and is in the process of switching on a third, each houses hundreds of servers running several types of applications. According to Roy Youngs, network manager for LiveOps, senior management made the decision to move to a more space effective IT environment to reduce operating expenses and increase IT productivity. Additionally, the company is focused on providing its customers with enterprise grade availability so it was critical that the switches would support its rigorous standards for mission-critical availability. Says Youngs: “The benefit I see with the Catalyst Blade Switch 3120′s is that I can use Virtual Blade Switch (VBS) technology and reduce the IT footprint that we physically have to manage. Now instead of having to manage hundreds we only need to manage a fraction of that number of blade switches.”

In addition to routing and switching, Cisco is also the clear leader in blade switching with over 5 million ports and over 220,000 switches sold. Our blade switch family offers a comprehensive blade switching solution- with both Ethernet-based Catalyst and Fibre Channel-based MDS blade switches for leading blade server vendors. With innovations such as Virtual blade switch (VBS) on Ethernet and Flexattach on Fibre Channel side, Cisco blade switch product family provides the lowest TCO in the industry.