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EnergyWise Timelines & Green IT

A quick overview on some of the progress being made in San Jose on EnergyWise. As you will hear we are taking a staged approach as there is a lot of ground to cover. It’s too early for us to offer exact milestones but this interview will give you a sense of the scope we are considering in our development. As Matt Laherty often says, we are laser focused on “smart loads” at scale in the near term. This is close to our space and the technology we develop for smart loads will be directly extensible to “smart grids”.This video was taken by Rich Miller who writes for Data Center Knowledge and has a great YouTube site that has a ton of content related to data centers and energy. The Green train keeps on rolling with energy and carbon being the first resource management areas. This was the hot topic for the show Rich and I attended in San Francisco in March where the video was taken. The GigaOm GreenNet show was well attended and…I was particularly encouraged by the level of discussion this year. In the last 3 years that I’ve been a full time Green collar here at Cisco I’ve seen a marked progression in the level of discussion around the broad notion of “Green IT”. This is how I’ve seen the progression on both a business, social and technical fronts:2007 Technical – it was very much about data centers experiencing problems with power capacity and thermal density, some brought on by the advent of blade servers, some by the shear growth of energy requirements on a macro scale.Business – the first broad emergence of executive fear, uncertainty and doubt around potential regulations and brand concerns like when GreenPeace took a shot at Apple.Social – in the US at least, whole new demographics started to wake up and realize that we’ve been living and working beyond our means.2008Technical – thermal and capacity issues continue in data centers and a recognition of the “if I can’t measure it I can’t manage it” scenario emerges. Consortia form and the US govt gets active in getting their hands around the scope of the issues. For many mainstream technology developers, Green is now starting to get put into the “too hard” bucket or energy management is too far out of peoples comfort zones. Furthermore there is a shortage of talent conversant in both energy and IT.Business – some forward thinking executives start to have their “ah-hah” moment and see the business case for actively managing energy.Social – Green expands into areas previously unimagined. Local and organic food purchasing continues to take market share as people start to make connections within their individual lives and the globalized world we live in. Authors respected in other areas like Thomas Friedman (see below) are now established educators on the strategic nature of energy (as a subset of Green).2009Technical – hate to toot our own horn here, but networking Giant Cisco pushes the industry way forward by working out common monitoring and control within the established confines of networking using a code set that already runs across the vast majority of the worldwide web. A Green IT Sputnik is launched. Coupled with management, virtualization gets a whole lot easier and cloud architectures begin to codify.Business – the future leaders in energy and in general, resource management begin to emerge. Projects started in 2007-2008 come out of discovery mode, real investment begins to use IT to tackle the single largest unmanaged cost of most business, energy.Social – people start to ask deeper questions, especially of the marketing out there. Some see greenwashing for what it is, companies trying to make a buck but being ethically short-sighted. Politics have changed and people are starting to see the clear connections between big business special interests, the environment and security. More people watch films like “who killed the electric car” and we for the first time see environmental issues for what they are, completely integral to all the other issues we deal with daily, especially economic ones.If these trends continue, this should be a big year for the IT industry to offer some real solutions to some pressing global issues around the environment. I have never been more encouraged and hope to see a snowball effect of investment and innovation in Green IT in the very near future. If things time well we could have the tools built in the next 4 years that would enable governments across the globe to get serious about managing climate change. Aside from the obvious challenges to this statement; technical, political, change modeling, IT security and so on, there is one big social equalizer when you consider the IT industries position here. In this case, the IT industry is a “Green arms dealer”. We will develop tools that will level the playing field and expose the reality of resource consumption and environmental degradation today. Making things transparent and making management cost effective will be bad news for polluters but great news for the masses whose popular opinion is now behind more sustainable living, working and playing.On this last paragraph, I’m on the fence about authoring a post just dedicated to the social enabling implications of easy, open and cost effective resource management tools. What do you think, should we delve further into this discussion?Thanks for reading.

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