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    Friday
    Feb262010

    DOE Energy Storage Systems Program Study, a guide for Data Centers too

    This post covers the stock investment opportunities for Grid-based Energy stocks.

    Grid-Based Energy Storage; A $200 Billion Opportunity

    John Petersen
    Yesterday a reader sent me a copy of an exhaustive new study titled "Energy Storage for the Electricity Grid: Benefits and Market Potential Assessment Guide" that was commissioned by the DOE's Energy Storage Systems Program and prepared by Jim Eyer and Garth Corey. I've been following the work in progress on this report since last summer and have eagerly awaited the opportunity to shift my focus away from the overhyped electric vehicle sector and focus on something with real meat. It looks like my time has finally come. For technology types that want a detailed understanding of what the various potential utility-scale applications for energy storage are, the entire 232 page report is a must read. Over the next few weeks I'll try to extract critical market data and translate that information into a form that will be useful to energy storage investors.

    And, the author identifies investment opportunities.

    Eyer Translation.png

    For Data Centers though the DOE report is useful too.

    The following is buried in section 8.1.5.

    The primary purpose for this guide is to provide analysts with a framework for evaluating storage prospects for specific value propositions, including guidance about identifying and ascribing value to specific benefits that serve as building blocks for value propositions. Ideally, this framework will provide the foundation, and possibly the mindset, needed to recognize and characterize attractive value propositions.

    Section 2.1 covers in data centers what would be discussed as power back-up systems.

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    Click to read more ...

    Friday
    Feb262010

    IBM’s Smarter Planet is a mass marketing of System Engineering

    I just spent 2 full days at IBM’s Pulse 2010 conference, and got a chance to meet some interesting people.  The one piece of irony I realized is when I graduated from college I had a choice of working for IBM or HP as an Industrial Engineer.  I chose HP 30 years ago.  I wonder what my life would be like if I had chosen IBM? 

    Although I probably wouldn’t have lasted too long at IBM and actually helped an IBM engineer leave to join Apple.  Why is it relevant to talk about an engineers?  Because part of what I figured out is IBM’s Smarter Planet is a rebranding and positioning of system engineering.

    So what is a Systems Engineer?  I found this post by Univ of Arizona.

    Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary process that ensures that the customer's needs are satisfied throughout a system's entire life cycle. This process is comprised of the following seven tasks.

    1. State the problem. Stating the problem is the most important systems engineering task. It entails identifying customers, understanding customer needs, establishing the need for change, discovering requirements and defining system functions.
    2. Investigate alternatives. Alternatives are investigated and evaluated based on performance, cost and risk.
    3. Model the system. Running models clarifies requirements, reveals bottlenecks and fragmented activities, reduces cost and exposes duplication of efforts.
    4. Integrate. Integration means designing interfaces and bringing system elements together so they work as a whole. This requires extensive communication and coordination.
    5. Launch the system. Launching the system means running the system and producing outputs -- making the system do what it was intended to do.
    6. Assess performance. Performance is assessed using evaluation criteria, technical performance measures and measures -- measurement is the key. If you cannot measure it, you cannot control it. If you cannot control it, you cannot improve it.
    7. Re-evaluation. Re-evaluation should be a continual and iterative process with many parallel loops.

    The seven steps are too complex for most, and IBM has done an excellent job to simplify the seven steps for the IT executives – Instrument, Interconnect, and Make them intelligent.  Now I would potentially argue IBM’s approach is too simple, but marketing messages need to be simple and contain at most three points.

    Start here. Three big ideas. 1. Instrument the world's systems. 2. Interconnect them. 3. Make them intelligent. Introduce yourself to a smarter planet.

    This idea clicked when I was interviewing District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority CIO, Mujib Lodhi and listened to him describe his approach to manage the Water and Sewer infrastructure as a system using IBM’s asset management tools.  In the short term I had with Mujib he described what a system engineer would do to manage an aging water infrastructure.

    IBM has an excellent section on smarter water management.  Which is good if you are a Tivoli user.  If not, there are many other vendors that have been in the water management business for decades.

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    In other conversations with IBM technical staff, I  kept on hearing the reoccurring methods of system engineers.

    Here are slides from presentations.

    image

    Alcatel Lucent threw this slide up.

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    The system needs to be designed to be lean, mean, and green.

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    Click to read more ...

    Friday
    Feb262010

    Al Gore is a Meme for Environmentally sensitive business, results at IBM and Apple events

    I have modified one of “M” in what is GreenM3 to represent Memetics.

    Memetics purports to be an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer.

    Al Gore acts as a Meme.

    A meme (pronounced /ˈmiːm/, rhyming with "cream"[1]) is a postulated unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena.

    Al Gore represents environmentally sensitive business, and just presented on Feb 24, 2010 at IBM Pulse 2010 conference. 

    image

    Below is a video from the beginning of his entertaining presentation I sat in.  Al Gore was good salesman for the concepts of IBM’s Smarter Planet, and the audience said good things about his presentation.

    Two days later in Cupertino, Al Gore attends the Apple shareholder meeting, and his meme follows him.  Environmentally Sensitive Business.  But, does Steve Jobs want environmental issues brought up in his shareholder’s meeting.

    February 25, 2010 12:40 PM PST

    Al Gore a lightning rod at Apple shareholder meeting

    by Erica Ogg

    CUPERTINO, Calif.--The presence of one of the world's pre-eminent environmentalists at Apple's shareholder meeting Thursday was the subject of much of the morning's pointed discussion.

    As expected, Apple's attitude on environmental and sustainability issues was one of the main concerns of the stockholders present Thursday, followed closely by the company's immense pile of cash. But early harsh comments about former Vice President Al Gore's record set the tone.

    Gore was seated in the first row, along with his six fellow board members, in Apple's Town Hall auditorium as several stockholders took turns either bashing or praising his high-profile views on climate change.

    At the first opportunity for audience participation just several minutes into the proceeding, a longtime and well-known Apple shareholder--some would say gadfly--who introduced himself as Sheldon, stood at the microphone and urged against Gore's re-election to the board. Gore "has become a laughingstock. The glaciers have not melted," Sheldon said, referring to Gore's views on global warming. "If his advice he gives to Apple is as faulty as his views on the environment then he doesn't need to be re-elected."

    Another shareholder immediately got up to defend Gore and endorse his presence as an Apple director. And that wasn't the end of it. Two different proposals from shareholders were presented in regard to Apple's environmental impact. One was from the nonprofit As You Sow, which for the second straight year asked Apple to publicly commit to specific greenhouse gas reduction goals and publish a formal sustainability report; the second came from Herrington Investments, which proposed that Apple's board establish a sustainability committee, just like a compensation or personnel committee.

    As You Sow's representative, Conrad MacKerron, praised Gore, but also challenged him on not doing more to encourage the company to set specific public commitments. Forest Hill, Herrington Investment's senior portfolio manager also addressed some of his comments directly to Gore, saying making board members responsible for Apple's envronmental impact "would make Apple a corporate leader."

    This was not a serious enough issue to jeopardize Al Gore’s Board position.

    Despite his apparently polarizing nature, Gore was re-elected with the rest of the slate in preliminary results.

    BTW, at IBM’s Tivoli event every IBM employee had a Lenovo Thinkpad except the creative designers who had Macs.  I know a few Apple employees would grin knowing even the creatives at IBM choose Apple Computers.

    Click to read more ...

    Thursday
    Feb252010

    Apple’s Data Center Video goes from 25,000 to 73,000 views in 24 hrs, then 92,000 another 24 hrs

    I blogged two days ago about Apple’s Data Center Video reading 25,000.  Well 24 hours later it has reached 73,000 views, and in another 24 hrs 92,000.

    image 

    Apple Security is going to have an interesting challenge keeping pictures from leaking out of Apple’s new data center in Maiden NC.

    Apple is famous for its tight security.

    Inside Apple's Secret Manufacturing Plants

    Reuters

    Ever wonder how Apple manages to keep security so tight around products like the iPad? It all comes down to fingerprint-recognition scanners and lock-down security at the industrial forts that make its products. Here, a behind-the-scenes look at life in those high-tech fortresses.

    And, even has a rule of no metal taken out of the plant.

    "Security is tight everywhere inside the factories," said a uniformed worker outside the Foxconn factory in Longhua, about an hour from Hong Kong. "They use metal detectors and search us. If you have any metal objects on you when you leave, they just call the police," he said.

    When will we see a mobile camera shot from inside the Apple data center?  I don’t think Apple can have a rule that there are no cell phones allowed in the construction site.

    The silly thing is a layman wouldn’t know the inside of a data  center.  And, during construction it isn’t too exciting.

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    And, even when you do look in a data center finished with equipment how exciting is this?

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    Microsoft had a data center tour with the BBC in Oct 2008 to try and make it exciting to the BBC audience.  The Apple data center video is probably 10 times the amount of viewership of the BBC video below, because it had the viral aspect of being discussed by a bunch of other media and bloggers.

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    Click to read more ...

    Tuesday
    Feb232010

    25,000 views of Apple Data Center video

    The above YouTube video has reached 25,000 views in 3 days.

    and there has been plenty of news/blogs about the video.

    Video flyover: Apple's new cloud computing center

    CNNMoney.com (blog) - Philip Elmer-DeWitt - ‎21 hours ago‎

    The 500000-sq.-ft. facility is nearly five times the size of Apple's current server farm Apple's Maiden, NC, data center. Video: Bill Wagenseller According ...

    Weekly Poll: Why Is Apple Building a Massive, $1 Billion Data Center

    ReadWriteWeb (blog) - Alex Williams - ‎9 hours ago‎

    This post is part of our ReadWriteCloud channel, which is dedicated to covering virtualization and cloud computing. The channel is sponsored by Intel and ...

    Aerial video shows Apple's 500000 sq. ft. server farm in NC

    MacNN - ‎17 hours ago‎

    An aerial video, captured from a helicopter, allegedly shows Apple's new data-center located on 225 acres of land in Maiden, North Carolina....

    Aerial Footage Of Apple's New North Carolina Data Center Shows Massive Facility

    Cult of Mac (blog) - ‎19 hours ago‎

    Aerial footage of Apple's massive data center in rural North Carolina clearly show how large the $1 billion complex is. Shot recently by a local realtor, ...

    That's Apple's New Data Center? Where's the Giant Glass Cube?

    All Things Digital (blog) - John Paczkowski - ‎20 hours ago‎

    When plans for it were first announced, Apple's North Carolina data center was described as “as big as they come” and in more colloquial ...

    First Look: Apple's Massive iDataCenter

    Data Center Knowledge - Rich Miller - ‎Feb 22, 2010‎

    How big is Apple's new iDataCenter in Maiden, North Carolina? It's plenty big, as illustrated by this aerial video posted to YouTube (apparently taken by an ...

    I joked  in a Aug 2009 post that Apple is the Data Center Paparazzi target and a helicopter fly over fits the pattern.

    Aug 18, 2009

    Data Center Paparazzi Target was Google, now Apple, Watch the Rumors

    Remember when we speculated on Google Data Centers?  People took pictures like the paparazzi of Google’s data centers and posted pictures to drive traffic.  But that is old news.

    Now Apple is the new star.

    Click to read more ...