Live from the Technology Convergence Conference

February 2, 2012 - 0 Comments

Greetings from the Santa Clara Convention Center’s Mission City Ballroom.  I’m kicking around the fourth annual Technology Convergence Conference today and – Wi-Fi willing – posting throughout the day.

First Impressions

Solid batch of topics on the agenda:  consolidation, virtualization, cloud, asset management, power management, airside economization, rack density, lighting controls and more.  There’s even a panel discussion on the use of wireless headsets.

Twenty-four sessions are split across four tracks, leaving me with the familiar conference dilemma – how to choose between multiple topics that I find interesting.

We’re Off 

Engaging keynote address by Pascal Finette, director of Mozilla’s WebFWD accelerator program.  He made the case for open innovation and collaboration, discussing the development of Mozilla’s Firefox and drawing examples ranging everything from snowboarding and mountain biking to Facebook’s Open Compute Project.

He made the great point that many of the smartest people work outside of your company.  Open innovation and collaboration is an effective way to get them involved.  (Pascal’s blog can be found at

Consolidated Thoughts on Consolidation

About 75 people turned up for the panel discussion on Data Center consolidation that I took part in.  Some high points from the conversation:

  • Why consolidate?  Doing more with fewer resources makes good business sense.  Lower costs, operate more efficiently, be green…
  • What makes a server environment a good candidate to consolidate?   Rooms that don’t match what you want your Data Center portfolio to be – consider location, energy efficiency, infrastructure capability, etc. – are prime targets.
  • What are the biggest challenges to consolidation?   If your applications are a tangled yarn ball it’s tough to identify dependencies, eliminate what’s unnecessary and gracefully migrate functions between sites.  Outside factors can also deter consolidation, such as concerns that closing an old site might lead to the loss of personnel.
  • Final thought:  Plan what you want your Data Center portfolio to look like in the future, so you can work toward that goal.

Time to meander through the vendor area…

Selling It

Kiosks and handouts and literature, oh my.  If you have ever been to a major Data Center conference, you know exactly what the Technology Convergence Conference’s vendor area looks like.  Aside from picking up on more ballpoint pens than I’ll ever use, I looked for the most interesting tchotchkes.

Honorable mention goes to APC/Schneider Electric, which handed out everything from memory sticks to magnetized clip-holders to insulated drink wraps.  My personal favorite, though, is the “Temp Coin” from Opengate data systems


Attach this plastic circle – it’s about the size of a silver dollar – wherever you want and it’ll tell you the ambient temperature.  It won’t replace a sophisticated temperature sensor network, but I still like it.

Mercury Rising 

We sure love buying stuff on eBay. 

Dean Nelson, senior director of eBay’s Global Foundational Services, discussed Project Mercury, the company’s new Data Center in Phoenix, Arizona.  Aside from physical infrastructure details about the facility – modular, and incorporating free cooling year-round in Phoenix – he discussed how the company has streamlined its hardware supply chain and uses data analytics to recognize and leverage buyer behavior.

If you think demand is growing for your company’s Data Center resources, consider some of the numbers Dean shared:

  • eBay has 100 million active users
  • Listings have grown from 160 millon to 300 million in less than two years
  • Mobile transactions grew from $500 million to $5 billion in two years
  • 60 percent of items for sale on eBay are new

Anyone else feeling the urge to go bid on something?

Images and more details about Project Mercury can be found at

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