Say you’re working for a large company and there’s a proposal to shut down dozens of buildings for several days near the end of the calendar year.  A lot of people – employees and customers both – are already taking time off for holidays, so it’s a relatively painless way to save energy, lower operational costs, and give employees some dedicated time off.  It also aligns nicely with your company’s goal to reduce its annual carbon emissions.

However, what if you’re a lab manager?  You oversee a room with complex electronic equipment that your clients need to perform their work.  Much of that gear has been running continuously for months or even years.  Who knows what will happen if you power them down for days and then, when everyone returns to work, you try to restart them.  Everything might come back on just fine, but then again they might not.

No one is forcing you to shut anything down.  High-powered lab systems have the potential for significant savings, though – much more than general office space.

What would you do?

Hundreds of Cisco lab managers face this question each year.  Cisco completed its 10th annual shutdown early year.  The closure is only mandatory in the United States and Canada and even in those locations doesn’t apply to lab environments, yet many building managers and lab owners around the world voluntarily take part.  Nearly 400 buildings in 70 countries were closed during the most recent shutdown.

How do these lab managers approach shutting down equipment?  Why do they participate year after year and what have they learned by doing so?  How does Cisco coordinate this effort around the world?

I encourage you to listen to Anatomy of a Shutdown, the latest episode from Cisco IT’s new podcast, Beyond the Network.  You’ll hear from lab operators and those who oversee Cisco’s annual shutdown – in their own words – discussing the challenges they’ve faced and lessons they’ve learned.

Beyond the Network takes a behind the scenes look – listen, really – of interesting things happening at Cisco, especially Cisco IT.  Thought leaders, innovators and technical experts all talk about the amazing work they’re doing.

(Come back every couple of weeks for a new episode.  Or even better, subscribe and like the podcast on SoundCloud or iTunes.)