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    Redmond High teacher wins $25,000 NEA Green Prize in Education, thinks Green is built on simple solutions

    Sometimes I wonder if the challenges to green the data center is the confusion companies have in approaching the problem.  PUE as simple as it is as a metric can be confusing to a novice on where to start.  To be greener requires change.  Change requires a motivation.  What is the motivation for green?

    In Seattletimes, there is an article about a Redmond High School teacher who won the $25,000 National Education Association award for Green Prize in Education.

    Redmond High environmental-science teacher wins $25,000 Green Prize

    Mike Town, who teaches environmental science at Redmond High, was presented the inaugural $25,000 Green Prize in Environmental Education from the NEA Foundation on Monday. The award was delivered by a grandson of undersea explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau.

    By Katherine Long

    Seattle Times Eastside reporter

    Teacher Mike Town listens Monday before receiving the NEA Foundation's inaugural Green Prize in Public Education.

    Enlarge this photo


    Teacher Mike Town listens Monday before receiving the NEA Foundation's inaugural Green Prize in Public Education.


    Cool School Challenge: The "Cool School Challenge" program can be downloaded for free at

    When he was a boy, one of Mike Town's heroes was Jacques Cousteau, the French explorer and filmmaker whose "Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" brought the beauty of the marine environment to viewers around the world.

    So it seemed fitting that when Town was awarded a national environmental-education prize Monday, it was delivered by one of Cousteau's grandsons, Philippe.

    Here is a quote from Philippe Cousteau.

    “The guiding philosophy of Mike Town's Cool School Challenge is that big changes start with small steps. His program provides a simple process that enables students, working together with their teachers, to proactively reduce greenhouse gas emissions of schools, making a world of difference in their own communities," said Cousteau.  "The natural environment is a leading interest of many students and their teachers, but there are few resources to support them. If we truly want to save what my grandfather called our water planet then we must arm youth with the knowledge, skills and tools to take action to do so. Mike Town’s program is a great step toward this.”

    Cool School challenge takes an approach asking for the motivation.

    Conceptually modeled after the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement, the Cool School Challenge aims to motivate students, teachers, and school districts to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions schoolwide. At the heart of the Cool School Challenge is the philosophy that big changes start with small steps, and that taken together, simple individual actions create a world of difference.

    This project was the unanimous choice as the winner.

    The NEA Foundation created the Green Prize in Public Education to recognize and showcase an outstanding public school educator or program that best advances social and environmental responsibility, improves student learning, and can be replicated. Town was the unanimous choice of a prestigious panel of national leaders from the environmental, education, business, and philanthropic sectors.

    Mike's passion is to leverage and be a multiplier.

    The shaggy-haired Town, who describes himself as "an old hippie who happens to be an educator," decided to become a teacher because "it has this multiplier effect" — by teaching young people, he said, his passion for the environment can reach many more.

    Here is a Google Map of other schools who have joined the program.


    Could the same approach be used to green data centers?  Most likely yes.

    Click to read more ...


    OSIsoft expands Sustainability program, hires EPA ENERGYSTAR's Andrew Fanara

    There have been some interesting changes in the data center industry as executives move to Microsoft, eBay, and Apple.  OSIsoft bagged the latest knowledge transfer, getting EPA ENERGYSTAR's Andrew Fanara to join their company.

    OSIsoft® delivers the PI System®, the world’s leading highly scalable and secure infrastructure for the management of real-time data and events, and for connecting people with the right information, at the right time, to analyze, collaborate, and act. With more than 14,000 installations across oil & gas, power & utility, pharmaceuticals, data center, chemical, pulp & paper, metals & mining, and other process industries, the OSIsoft PI System® is the flexible foundation for establishing a culture of continuous improvement at the plant, across the enterprise, and throughout the value chain. Leveraging the PI System, companies improve asset performance, increase energy efficiency, mitigate risk, centralize knowledge, and optimize production to drive profitability and remain competitive.

    To green the data center there are a few people who I try to have regular conversations with and one of them is Andrew Fanara.  While skiing a month ago, Andrew let me know he was thinking of leaving the EPA to join the private sector, and was talking to a variety of companies that were interested in leveraging his experience in the data center industry. 


    We discussed many different types of companies that could use Andrew's skills and provide a good environment to work on developing new methods  For example, a place where he could be more innovative and react faster to market and technology changes.  #1 suggestion is to work at place that allows him to leverage his existing business network and make it stronger, and more influential.

    One of the companies he was talking to was OSIsoft.  I've known the OSIsoft executives about 5 years.  And, have had the pleasure of going to the last four OSIsoft user conferences which is where I met Mike Manos.  Even though Mike and I overlapped at Microsoft, we didn't connect until OSIsoft had an executive summit to discuss the energy industry.

    I think highly of the OSIsoft capabilities, but to give Andrew another perspective, I called in a favor and had him talk to a Microsoft executive who could compare OSIsoft's capabilities as a technology partner vs. others. The Microsoft executive confirmed that OSIsoft is one of the top software vendors in the energy industry and are leaders in energy efficiency enabling better use of natural resources.

    Many data center insiders are sad to see Andrew leave the EPA, but I see this as a great step in knowledge sharing.  There will be new people who will take over Andrew's responsibilities and energy efficient data centers will continue with future specifications for storage and data center buildings.  Andrew will take what he has learned at the EPA, and apply it to private industry.

    At OSIsoft his new job will entail working on sustainability (green) programs through OSIsoft's global customer base which is currently at 14,000 installations, enabling Andrew to get his "hands dirty" with in depth projects.

    More than 14,000 customer installations
    • 65% of Global 500 process and manufacturing companies use the PI System
    • 100% of the Global Top 5 Producers use the PI System
    Strategic alliances


    We would sometimes joke we eat dinner out more often (at data center events) than with our spouse and we'll be having our next dinner meeting in a week at OSIsoft's user conference Apr 26 - 28.

    This year the Users Conference focuses on how real time information is the currency of the new decade, and we have a packed agenda that covers this in depth. We start with a great series of executive keynotes about innovation and solving real business problems-click on the titles to read the details.

    Congratulations to OSIsoft and Andrew Fanara for connecting in an exciting area - corporate sustainability.

    Click to read more ...


    Carbon footprint of a Tweet, Energy/Tweet approx 100J, CO2 0.02 grams

    Earth2Tech reports on the Energy per Tweet.

    How Much Energy Per Tweet?

    By Katie Fehrenbacher Apr. 19, 2010, 12:00am PDT 1 Comment

    2 0

    Every time you send out 140 characters over the social application Twitter, how much energy does that consume? According to some back of the napkin calculations from Raffi Krikorian, a developer for Twitter’s Platform Team, each tweet sent consumes about 90 joules. That means each tweet emits about 0.02 grams of C02 into the atmosphere.

    For the roughly 50 million tweets sent on average per day, that’s the equivalent of 1 metric ton of CO2 per day. (1 metric ton of CO2 looks kinda like this).

    Raffi Krikorian's passionate talk on energy use of a tweet starts at 2:50 into this video.  It is only 5 minutes long.

    Apr 15

    From #chirp: Energy / Tweet ≈ 100 J ±  something / Tweet

    Last night at Chirp, I gave an Ignite talk entitled "Energy / Tweet".  Taking a few liberties, some assumptions, and running all of Twitter in development mode on my laptop, "energy per tweet" comes out to about 100 J / Tweet.

    You can catch me talking (and introduced by @brady) starting at 2:50 in this video:

    You can also just get the slides here:

    Excuse this comment, but it illustrates the passion Raffi has as at 8:10 he says we can be less of a "planet fucker."

    This is the kind of thinking that is going to get people thinking what is the carbon impact of code just like Microsoft posted last week.

    eBay understands the energy per listing.  Google understands the energy per search.  Twitter understands the energy per tweet.

    Do you have energy consumption for your IT services?

    Twitter knows it has to be more energy efficient look at its growth.

    The new numbers blow past Pingdom’s stats. Some of the highlights:

    - In 2007, around 5,000 tweets were sent per day.

    - By 2008, the number grew to 300,000 tweets per day.

    - By 2009, around 2.5 million tweets were sent through Twitter every single day.

    - Tweet growth shot up by 1,400% in 2009, reaching 35 million tweets per day by the end of the year.

    - As of now, Twitter sees 50 million tweets created per day.

    Great Job Raffi for waking up your development community on the energy / tweet.

    Click to read more ...


    Social Security Administration picks the wrong data center site, mistakes in power costs, telecommunications access, and cost of construction

    This would be funny, if it wasn’t a potential $500 million data center built by the US Gov’t by the Social Security Administration. The Office of Inspector General caught the error.

    In particular, when developing the mandatory selection criteria, it does not appear that consideration was given to the serious fiscal impact that exclusions would have in the electrical power cost arena over the life cycle of the data center. Finally, in evaluating the telecommunications criteria concepts, SeBS found only limited information.

    SeBS, Strategic e-Business Solutions uses system engineering techniques.

    Service Offering: Systems Engineering Services
    · Provide full range of system engineering support for aerospace and telecommunication systems including manned and unmanned aircraft, satellites, shipboard systems and fixed facility installations.
    · Oversea engineering change requests, conduct systems acceptance testing, test and evaluation and system IV&V.
    · Develop Performance based specification for obtaining resources to perform customer service support services from the vendor community.
    · · Provide full lifecycle support in requirement development and validation. 

    From the reading the report, it seems like the SSA site selection team became obsessed with a few criteria that are uptime risks (man-made and natural disasters), and who cares about the power bill or whether there is access to fiber.  And, SSA picked a site that was hard to build a data center.

    SeBs evaluation found that in general, the Social Security Administration (SSA) developed a highly sophisticated set of selection criteria with which to evaluate general geographic areas of consideration and prospective individual properties. The Agency’s decision criteria avoided major areas that potentially are hazardous to the operation of a data center (including both natural and man-made risks). In addition, the criteria define major site and data center construction issues that would ultimately have a significant impact on the site
    property to be selected. However, questions remain concerning SSA's process employed in narrowing the site properties down to a short list. In addition, the initial mandatory selection criteria applied to the geographic regions under consideration may have excluded too many locales.

    SSA accepted 22 of 25 recommendations from SeBs.

    I wonder who the original vendor was who consulted the SSA for site selection.

    Thanks to the folks at DataCenterDynamics reported on this issue, and I found the SSA OIG document.

    Click to read more ...


    Equinix CTO 10 year perspective, data center changes in highly connected Internet services

    I had the pleasure of interviewing Equinix's CTO David Pickut as part of Equinix reaching its 50th data center.

    Equinix Opens 50th Premier IBX Data Center

    Equinix’s 50th IBX Data Center Opens in London; Will Help Company Service Global Demand From Financial Services Firms and Cloud Service Providers

    FOSTER CITY, CA and LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – March 30, 2010 – Equinix, Inc. (NASDAQ: EQIX), a provider of global data center services, today announced a major company milestone: the opening of its 50th premier International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center. This announcement demonstrates Equinix’s ability to help its customers fully leverage all of the benefits of an interconnected world.

    If you are not familiar with David here is some background.

    David Pickut

    David Pickut

    Chief Technology Officer

    Dave Pickut joined Equinix in 2004 and served in several roles before settling into his current role as Chief Technology Officer. Prior to joining Equinix, Mr. Pickut held Vice President positions with a Tier 1 ISP and an IT products/services company, with responsibilities for data center operations and business management. His engineering experience encompasses both consulting services and product design related to mission-critical data center power, cooling, security, controls, and fire protection systems.

    Mr. Pickut received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Ohio State University and is a registered professional engineer, a member of the IEEE and NFPA.

    The perspective I was looking for is David's view of the past 10 years and what the future looks like. Over the past 10 years, Dave has seen three big changes in data centers.

    1. Energy density in racks has gone up.
    2. Energy Efficiency awareness has increased.
    3. Transition from stand alone data center mindset to highly connected data centers.

    This is best illustrated by drawings David provided.  Here is what data centers looked like 10 years ago.


    And this is what data center design looks like it 2010


    Note in the upper left of each of these slides the external forces affecting data centers. This is proof I was looking for that Equinix is on the right path to Green (low carbon) Data Centers.

    The mass media industry will cover Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple data centers.  But, here is a simple way to understand the future of data centers.  David and I chatted about many more things regarding the future 10 years, and he said it is easy to build energy efficient cost effective data centers.  The hard part is accounting for the accelerating rate of external factors that now affect data center design.  Those who put their "head in the sand" and geek out are setting themselves up for unexpected reactions like Greenpeace's focus on Facebook's coal powered data center.

    Facebook Responds on Coal Power in Data Center

    February 17th, 2010 : Rich Miller

    An architectural rendering of the new Facebook data center planned for Prineville, Oregon.

    Facebook has responded to growing criticism of its power choices for its new data center in Prineville, Oregon. This is one of the first cases in which a data center’s energy sourcing has attracted this kind of public attention, but it won’t be the last. 

    I am looking forward to more posts on what Equinix is doing, and their willingness to share ideas, and what the future of data centers look like.  In 2010, there is SaaS, Cloud Provider, Ethernet Exchange, and Mobile Carrier.  Can you imagine what 2020 will look like?

    Click to read more ...