I ran into Kevin Heslin and Rich Miller at the Open Compute Project hosted by Facebook. I figured I would run into Kevin and Rich given the NYC was in their backyard. Luckily i had been planning a trip with some data center executives to the NYC area for months and it just so happened we were planning on being in NYC at the same time as the Open Compute Project which is also very convenient as many of us had gone to the Open Compute Project in Palo Alto.
Many people know me through my blogging role as I have now reached 4 years writing on the green data center topic. Prior to that I spent 14 years at Microsoft working on mostly Windows from Win3.1, NT3.1, NT3.5, NT4.0, Windows 2000, and Windows XP on a whole bunch of different OS features. TrueType font technology is where I spent the most time on a technology cumulatively between Microsoft and Apple. Fonts is where I made some great friends I still work with today.
At Apple I re-engineered the distribution system to handle triple the capacity with a 1/3 of the labor by analyzing batches of orders to process them as a group instead of individually. Some ideas stick and can be re-used over and over. After distribution logistics I moved on to OEM supply chain for Apple products, with the best being the Mac II, and even though it was a market flop it was fun traveling all over to get the parts for the Mac Portable. I cut my teeth on operating systems for the Mac II and Portable, and moved to the OS group to work on KanjiTalk, then work on System 7.
Kevin Heslin asked me what I am busy working on. I told him I am working on supply chain and asset management systems. Kevin said, "I thought you were working on Green IT." There are huge ways to Green IT addressing the supply chain in the data center ecosystem. Analyzing the overall hardware flowing through the product life cycle will allow you to see things you can't see when staring at servers in a rack which pretty don't move for 3-4 years. PUE and green technologies can reduce the carbon impact required in the power and cooling systems. But, there is probably at least a 3X improvement potential in how the IT systems are put together in the data center
After 4 years of blogging on green data centers it is easy for me to write on the topic, spending on average an hour a day and I can write 3 posts.
There are other ideas i am working on like what does a location service look like in a supply chain system. This stuff takes hundreds of hours over months to figure out, talking to some really smart people.
4 years ago I started working on green data center ideas, and it has been a great experience. Now, I am spending more time on greening the IT systems, and solving the problems in different way with systems, knowledge, and data analytics. The data center is a critical part of the solution, and I will still spend time on data centers, but I am more excited to think of new information systems for the data center.
I don't know if this answers the question Kevin asked, "what I am busy working on?" And, most likely in 6 months there will be something new to study. But, for now I am thinking about Supply Chain Management, Asset Management and Inventory Control.