Monday Jun 15, 2009

Green Recovery!

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to talk with Andrew S. Winston, the author of Green to Gold.  I met Andrew when he presented at Dave Douglas's 2008 Eco Summit in Santa Clara, CA and we had stayed in contact. Andrew was undertaking a new project and wanted input about Data Centers for one of the sections. 

Green Recovery focuses on how companies can use environmental thinking to survive hard economic times and position themselves for growth and advantage when the downturn ends.  One core focus is on getting lean -- taking action in five key areas of the business that can yield quick payback and high ROI.  Andrew recently put out a free report, Green Cost Cutting, that includes the introduction from the new book and the chapter "Get Lean".  The purpose of releasing the content early is to put out some of the tactical, short-term ideas as soon as possible so companies can employ them quickly. 

Andrew was gracious enough to include quotes from myself and Subodh Bapat. You can pre-order a copy through Amazon. You can download the free excerpt (introduction and the chapter "Get Lean") here

You can reach Andrew through the following:

Twitter: GreenAdvantage 
Facebook: Andrew S Winston 
Email: andrew-AT-eco-strategies-DOT-com 



Friday Apr 24, 2009

Bring Out Your Dead!

Late last year we instituted a project titled Bring Out Your Dead (inspired by the Monte Python's Holy Grail Film).  It was an effort to hunt down and remove orphaned and unused hardware at the company. The challenge I gave to Serena Devito on my staff was to do this as a low-cost, no-cost effort.  We weren't out to spend millions on replacing equipment, we just wanted to find comatose devices and get rid of them.  We knew that even with all our datacenter consolidation efforts over the last two years, there was still a lot of waste going on.  The reorganizations, acquisitions, reductions in force and other business activities left quite a bit of equipment in limbo.  So, we partnered with our lab and datacenter managers to get rid of them.  What we found surpassed even our expectations.  We pulled 440+ pallets of equipment from four of our major campuses in just three months.  6,199 devices in all with 4,100 of them being servers!  The icing on the cake was that 64% of the equipment we pulled was still powered on!  It was just sitting there burning energy.  The picture below shows 50% of the equipment that was removed.  It filled one of our warehouses in Hayward, CA!



Just like at home, you need to do spring cleaning.  The longer you delay it, the more work there is.  And in this case, the more waste there is.  Serena and her highly effective Work Environments team attacked this problem and achieved significant results in a very short period of time.  She talks about the BOYD program in a newly released video on in support of Earth Day.




Included in this video is another simple effort to save money and decrease carbon.  Mike Ryan on my staff runs the lab and datacenter energy team here at Sun.  One of the projects he executed was to shut off unused air conditioners in our labs and datacenters.  So far, they have been able to shut down 59 CRAH units saving $900,000 in utility costs!  Like the BOYD program, it is amazing how much stuff is out there just running. Sometimes it's the simple things we can do to save money and help the environment that yield some of the largest returns.

So, in tribute to Earth Day we have one small request to everyone out there running datacenters, server rooms, labs or even wiring closets.  Please, BRING OUT YOUR DEAD!

Sunday Sep 14, 2008

Data Center Pulse: The Community

This weekend I created a new group on Linkedin to bring the global datacenter community together.  It is called Data Center Pulse.  DCP is an exclusive group of global datacenter owners, operators and users. It already includes many from some of the largest datacenters in the world. DCP will track the pulse of the industry through discussion and debate with the goal of influencing the future of the datacenter.

No vendor consultants or individuals with primary roles in a sales, marketing or business development capacity will be allowed to join the group. Members must participate, or be responsible for, one or more of the following within their own company.

  • Data Center Strategy
  • Data Center Architecture/Design
  • Data Center Operations
  • Data Center Efficiency
  • Data Center Sustainability
  • Data Center Use

There are specific reasons why these rules for membership have been established.  I have been involved with a number of groups, forums and online bodies that have attempted to tap into the different datacenter trends.  The problem has usually been that they turn into individual promotion or company sales pitches.  Now don't get me wrong, consultants, business development, marketing and sales professionals provide great value to companies and the industry, but that is not what this group is about. We want to have open, passionate discussion and debate around problems data center professionals are facing, directly.  We then want to take the problems and ideas generated within the group and share them with the industry. In the near future, the threads generated in this group will be posted to  All particpant names and companies will be stripped from the threads to ensure our members anonymity.  (The DCP board maintains the right to remove discussion content if it is deemed inappropriate).  The board will also frequently scrub the member list to ensure that the community stays end-user focused. 

Anyone who is not part of this group, can submit questions to the community by emailing question to  (It is the sole discretion of the DCP board on wether or not these questions will be posted) 

Our goal is to build this global community to 1000 strong by the end of 2008. 

The more DC professionals we can add, the better.  To achieve this goal, we could use your help in recruiting for this community.  If you would like to participate, please request to join the Data Center Pulse Group.  Then, plan to bring it to the table...  :-)

If you have any questions feel free to contact me (Dean Nelson - or my co-chair, Mark Thiele, ( Director of R&D Business Operations from VMware.


Gig: GDS Director
Global Lab & Datacenter Design Services, Sun Microsyste


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