On March 5, 2012 DCP members from as far away as Japan and Taiwan converged on the Doubletree hotel in San Jose, CA for an all day collaboration session with end user peers - The DCP 2012 Summit was held in conjunction with the Green Grid Technical Forum. Almost 50 of my industry peers from companies like Yahoo!, Microsoft, LBNL, Stanford University, Salesforce, @ Tokyo, Delta, Equinix and others, focused on discussing what's hot - i.e. the current "pulse" in DCP. With over 2200 members in 66 countries, there is definitely a lively "pulse".
The summit registration process yielded three priority topics
This year we changed the format. Instead of choosing 6 or 7 topics and breaking out into parallel groups, we selected a smaller number and held them in series so all members could be involved in the rich discussion and debate. The format worked out well. We had over 3 hours of discussion on Project Mercury, 2 1/2 hours on the Service Efficiency Metric and a wrap up hour on the Top 10 which I presented on behalf of DCP at the Green Grid Technical Forum closing session on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 (Watch for an upcoming blog and video on that next week). Below are three videos summarizing the event and the two primary topics.
As Mark and I discussed last January in Episode 33: Three Years Later, we are getting back to basics. These collaboration sessions are one of the key reasons that end users participate in Data Center Pulse. The networking, discussion, debate and innovation that comes from them is aligned with the Data Center Pulse charter to influence the Data Center industry through end users.
In December of 2011 we hosted an exclusive Data Center Pulse collaboration session one day before we held the opening of the eBay Data Center, Project Mercury. The goal of this collaboration session was to bring 50 of our Data Center peers together to deep dive into the project, the lessons learned and discuss/debate the relevance of these concepts being applied to their data centers. We also did something new in this session - we allowed 5 vendors to participate. Wait, before you cry foul and question why we would go against our charter, I need to lay out some context. We invited the design and construction teams (EDI Ltd, AHA Consulting Engineers, Winterstreet Architects & DPR) to participate in the closed door session with members. These were the engineers that did the actual work, not sales, marketing, etc. They had very relevant insight and learnings into the challenges and lesson learned. That session went very well with lots of people discussing and debating the implementation and practicality to application in their environment. Once we finished that session, we had parallel deep dives with the Dell and HP technologists who were directly responsible for the Container, Server and Storage designs and implementations in Project Mercury. It was engineers talking to engineers.
This collaboration session turned out be one of the most productive we've had to date. Below is a video with footage from the event, a quick tour of the Project Mercury Data Center and Interviews with some of the attendees.
This has been an extremely interesting process for us with an unexpected result. EDI, a small company that we had never even heard of before, was able to meet all of the challenging requirements we had proposed to the industry through the Modular RFP process in a cost effective, simple design. In addition, a very compelling ultra dense product named "eHive" emerged from Skanska, one of the RFP finalists. It has not been released publicly yet (stay tuned for follow up). While Skanska was not selected for the RFP, their modular product was innovative enough to warrant further consideration in this data center deployment. All in all, the open RFP process did exactly what we had hoped. It enabled design engineers the opportunity to shed the traditional barriers, consider the difficult challenges and start with a clean slate. The outcome was new and compelling solutions as well as new innovative products driven by the free cooling, density and flexibility requirements.