Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nimble Is As Nimble Does

Nimble and Agile. I am sure you have heard those words a lot in the last couple of years. Some refer to it as "the speed of business," or being able to "maneuver quickly." All good stuff, but how? Here is a great article that will help you understand and give you some pointers on organizational models and strategies to increase your maneuver capability. Tips and Strategies to Keep Nimble and Stay Ahead

Monday, November 19, 2007

Data Center Energy Management: Reliability vs. Efficiency

If you have been building or operating data centers during the last 20 years or so then you know that the mantra has long been "reliability, reliability, reliability." While designs have changed in response to new IT technologies and their implications to infrastructure provision, one thing has remained constant - Uptime is King. Data center, and hence, energy reliability expressed as a percentage of time is typically measured at the "nine nines" level. To get there we have redundant systems to redundant systems, and sometimes solve problems through brute force. Many older data centers are grossly inefficient in today's terms with little or no control over server utilization and its attendant cooling and power demands.

EPA estimates that U.S. data centers currently consume 1.5% of all U.S. generated electricity at a cost of $4.5 billion. They expect the cost to grow to $7.5 billion by 2011 and require construction of ten additional large generation facilities. Since the EPA is in the business of discouraging this type of development expect them to be very active in helping you solve your energy problem. Mandated server utilization and infrastructure efficiency levels are already in the works and headed for Congressional desks, expect new regulations coming to a data center near you soon. Read EPA report here.

That isn't to say that we are without options. Most utilities complain that their rebate programs for infrastructure modernization are under utilized. Server management and more efficient and "leaned" cooling system technologies are beginning to arrive in a meaningful fashion. And, distributed generation technologies such as fuel cells are finally achieving critical mass and becoming more affordable.

The point is this: Your data center has most likely been part of the problem. Now it is time for it, and you, to be part of the solution. The need is here, as are the opportunities. Are you?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Who is Your "Mentor?"

If you are like me several of your friends have been mentors to you, or you to them. In my own career I think instantly of Bob, that older professional who took me under his wing when I was just getting started, of Tom who challenged and pushed me, and of Chuck, who had faith in me and let me struggle until I finally started to get it and began to gain confidence. All of these and untold others invested in me when they didn’t have to. Each affected the path and outcome of my career and life.

If you recall Homer’s epic The Odyssey, Mentor was the trusted friend to whom Odysseus left the care of his most cherished treasure, his son Telemachus. While Odysseus was off fighting the Trojan War the noblemen of Ithaca were busy spending his wealth and courting his wife. All except Mentor, who faithfully performed the duties of caring for and educating Telmachus. As a result of his faithful service “mentor” is now synonymous with loyal and trusted friend, enlightened advisor, and teacher. Most translators couple these terms with our “enduring” to render the fullest meaning of the word.

Think about that. What would it mean to your life to be, or have, that kind of relationship with someone you respected and trusted? My guess is that you already have several, and I suggest that you have opportunities to have more. It is called making a difference. Being willing to invest or be invested in opens the door to a different future. It allows the one being mentored to gain the insight and wisdom of someone who has been there and done that, and allows the one mentoring to, among other things, plant a bit of themselves that will endure well into the future.

Mentoring opportunities are virtually everywhere you look. It may be at the office, in your family, church or other organization. Some may be formal and some may be informal. If you are looking for resources I suggest starting at your local university, most have well developed mentoring programs and courses. If you are more the self-help type, then check out some of the resources listed below.

Good luck in your journey, whichever role you are in. Make it a rich and meaningful experience, be intentional, and treat your relationship like what it is. Someone has entrusted themselves to you or in you, be faithful with the charge.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Green America

In honor of this week’s Green Build conference in Chicago ( I thought it would be helpful to list a few green building links you might not normally run across. If you haven’t noticed, “green” building is permeating the design and construction industries to a level few thought possible here in “show me the bottom line” America. The reason for this surge? Green is a better economic model as well as a better environmental model. Government agencies helped lead us to this realization by requiring green principles be included in their own projects. Doing so demystified the process and helped prove the economics. As a result, understanding of green’s real economic benefits are becoming wide spread. Now, corporate America is signing up not only because it is the right thing to do for the planet, but because it is also the right thing to do for the bottom line. Is it easy? No. Does it come without tradeoff? No. Will it reverse global warming and save the planet alone? No. But it is an important step, a right step, and a significant part of the overall solution. Green Up, America!

In the links below you will find guidelines for communities, a list of green General Contractors, narratives on the state of Green America, and much more. It is only a starter list. Enjoy, and contribute your own.,1607,7-135-3585_4127_24843---,00.html