The WSJ with MIT Sloan published an article today which appropriately describes one of the reasons I started working on Green Data Centers. After 14 years at Microsoft, 7 years at Apple, and 5 years at HP, I felt that it was time to do something different, and I quit with no idea what I was going to do.
One area I started working on and had an interest in was how many systems, especially home automation systems were put together for short term objectives of making the sale, and how frustrating it was for home owners when things broke to know the root cause of what broke and whether the repair actually really fixed the problem or systems were just rebooted to mask the problem. Which took me down the path of monitoring and metering. Narrowing down the area of what to focus on I discovered water well systems had the largest value impact to real estate values. Land without water isn't worth a whole lot, and there were plenty of high end real estate being built on large acreage on the top of the hills with great views.15% of US homes are on well water systems, and the percentage is higher for vacation/2nd homes/future retirement.
Then my paths crossed with Pat Kennedy, CEO and founder of OSIsoft. In our discussion of real estate monitoring systems, Pat mentioned the problem of energy consumption in data centers, and how he wanted to measure the power consumption of applications. Having worked on system software and power management for both Microsoft and Apple, I was thinking how to do this, and how difficult it was given almost all the focus on power management was on laptops. I remember in 1999, talking to Server OEMs about using Windows 2000 power management features and they just looked at me strange and asked why would you want to save energy on a server.
But, Pat hit on a good idea, I went back and thought about this more. Many of the same principles I was applying to home automation, water well monitoring systems applied to monitoring data centers. I researched this more, signed up for the EPA working group distribution, contacted more people, and even nominated the subject for a Microsoft internal Technical Readiness event with the help of Lewis Curtis and George Cerbone.
This last year has been an interesting ride, and I now write for TechNet Magazine, speak at a variety of events, consult with various companies, and I am back at Microsoft as a vendor working with a lot of people who are passionate about Green Data Centers.
My latest effort was to start with this blog, and get more information out there quickly and regularly on Green Data Centers.
Today is exactly my 18 month anniversary of leaving Microsoft and taking the risk to "Get Ahead by Going Backward"
How to Get Ahead
By Going Backward
December 1, 2007
When it comes to advancing a career, sometimes the best way to take a step forward is to take a step back.
For most people, a promotion is the cure for a stagnating career. They've accomplished and learned all they can at one job, so they aim for the next one up the ladder, hoping it will bring them bigger personal and financial rewards.
But a few pursue a much riskier strategy. Instead of trying to move up, they take a lower-level job that gives them valuable new skills and experience. They're prepared to accept a short-term loss of income and prestige, betting that the knowledge they gain will lead to a better job down the road.