In the spirit of follow where the data leads you; how thoughtful are we in how we plan for and manage the data center? As an IT industry we spend a lot of time debating what a data center is and how much of an impact it may have on productivity, competitive advantage, security, business continuity and as of late ecologic impact. This is perhaps why the most senior, challenge-loving type A’s focus their careers on data centers.
Whatever your definition, a data center represents the physical manifestation of our digital behaviors across a range of activities. Data centers also support the most mission critical of all our “day job” applications; web services, email, payroll and so on. So why is it that our “IT” industry is not aggressively applying more collaborative ingenuity to real world challenges? A complex question of course but what we are happy to share today is an example of what we’ve been able to do over the last year.
Dr. Alice Roberts explores the impact of working from home — or remotely — on BBC Radio 4. Around the halfway mark (13:58), she hops onto a Cisco TelePresence call with the National Institutes of Health in Aberdeen. She spoke with Phil Smith and Richard Roberts of Cisco to discuss not only the environmental impact of telepresence but also the business transformation potential. One example they bring up is the authoring of a report on sustainability: it was slated to take 6-9 weeks, but with the use of telepresence, the total project was completed in 6 weeks.
Listen to the entire program, “Costing the Earth: Working from Home” online.
DistribuTECH 2010 is in full swing in Tampa, Florida, and the new ideas and solutions flowing from the event are exciting. Maybe even mind-boggling. After all, the industry has undertaken to do no less than change the patterns of energy supply and demand—an overwhelming task, but a vital one. When you think about it, all melodrama aside, the future of the world really does hang in the balance. No wonder the place is filled with new energy (no pun intended) and new thinking.
But while traipsing through the power delivery vanguard, I was struck by the importance of a venerable old concept: partnership. It’s always helpful, but when the goal is rethinking electrical power delivery and use worldwide, partnership is essential. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a whole planet full of cooperating companies to change the economy of energy. Vendors of all types will have to work together not simply to fill in each others’ solution gaps, but also—and more importantly—to build on each others’ strengths and drive each other forward. And they are.
We recently launched a new service capability out of our Customer Advocacy teams that provides a collaborative medium between facilities and IT operations. For anyone who has tried to manage the design aspects of establishing a new data center infrastructure architecture, you know that some of the most painful moments come from “translating” between facilities and IT designs. We’ve chosen to develop proposed infrastructure architectures using Google SketchUp which is freeware and incredibly easy to use.
Traditionally the physical design has been built using applications like Visio, AutoCad and BIM. These applications are ideal if you need a very detailed blueprint to build against. However, they tend to have large file sizes and are only accessible to specially trained individuals. With SketchUp and the 3D Warehouse that Google maintains (thank you Google!) we are able to provide a 3D wiki of sorts that allows facilities and IT to work towards a reconciled design intent. Once design intent is understood, the design specification process is quicker and far more simple. This level of modeling also allows you to centralize the many data points that influence the ultimate operative efficiency of a data center environment. Like Ben Franklin once said “an ounce of preservation is worth a pound of cure”…this applies to designing a Greener operation, model it first.
Last week John Chambers said, “The issue of climate change demands new business models, innovative technologies and global collaboration along with partnerships across the public and private sectors.” For the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, Cisco did just that.
In close collaboration with the Danish Government, the COP15 host country, Cisco implemented a global TelePresence solution called the Global Climate Change Meeting Platform (GCCMP). The GCCMP enabled hundreds of participants to be “brought in” directly to the Bella Center, from South Africa, Canada, Nepal, Ethiopia, Thailand, Mexico, Australia, France, the U.S., South Korea and many other countries.