Remembering a Great Thought Leader in DC Industry, Olivier Sanche - a water well was built

4 years ago at this time of year we lost one of great thought leaders way before his time was to depart us.  Olivier Sanche was a dear friend and passionate about data centers and the environment.  One of things Olivier's family did in memory of Olivier is sponsor a water well in Mali.

It is in this desert area that the well bearing Olivierʼs name has been built because ” Water is the Source of Life”.

Here is some background on the well that Karine Sanche, Olivier's wife shared.

-  The well was Bernard Sancheʼs idea ( Olivierʻs dad) because he wanted to honor Olivier with something useful and that would last.
-  He shared this idea with Olivierʼs mom, his brother and myself and we all agreed that instead of having people bring flowers to Olivierʼs funeral, we would have a fundraiser for the well instead and we ended up raising 4500 euros ( almost 6000 dollars).
-  The idea of building a well came to my father-in-law because he had been doing humanitarian work in the Northern Mali since 1984. His associationʼs main goal was to help the Touaregs ( nomad populations) and he knew that one of their biggest problems is having access to drinking water. In an area ( the size of Belgium) called Adeil.hoc, some people must travel over 18 miles to get water to drink, to cook and to give to their herds. It is in this desert area that the well bearing Olivierʼs name has been built because ” Water is the Source of Life”.
-  The exact location of the well has been decided by a local mayor ( the mayor of Abindnage) because he is a liaison with the association; this location was found to best serve the local populations. It was a difficult project because of the wellʼs location which is at 2 days of the nearest town meaning that all the building supplies ( gravel, ciment, steel, the molds ( form work) for reinforced concrete etc...) had to be transported through the desert.The well is 72 feet deep and has several “bowls” so several herds can drink at the same time.
-  Olivier was closely following his dadʼs efforts to help the Touaregs in Mali. These efforts include the construction and/or repair of 180 wells, the construction of schools and infirmaries in the bush, as well as the training of several bush nurses. The association also bought a truck to transport feed from Gao ( over 310 miles away).

Here are a few more pictures showing the construction of the well.


Great Coaches for Development of Kids - Winning and Succeeding by trying your best

My son just finished his first year of pee wee tackle football where he was the amongst the smallest and youngest players on the team.  It was kind of scary seeing him go out in first practice with kids that were 20 lbs heavier, 6-8 inches taller and 2 years older, but he persevered and enjoyed the practices and games.  Here is a video where coaches were giving out awards at end of season.

Some parents are a little obsessed with winning and being competitive.  We’ve all seen what happens when the parents get out of hand being hyper competitive.

One of these days I hope to get my kids to absorb more life lessons like John Wooden articulates so well in this Ted Talk.

Some excellent points made.

Never try to be better than someone else, always learn from others. Never cease trying to be the best you can be -- that's under your control. If you get too engrossed and involved and concerned in regard to the things over which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you have control.Then I ran across this simple verse that said, "At God's footstool to confess, a poor soul knelt, and bowed his head. 'I failed!' He cried. The Master said, 'Thou didst thy best, that is success.'"

3:01From those things, and one other perhaps, I coined my own definition of success, which is: peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you're capable. I believe that's true. If you make the effort to do the best of which you're capable, to try and improve the situation that exists for you, I think that's success. And I don't think others can judge that.

15+ years of Google Data Center Executives

I wrote a popular post on 10 years of Microsoft data center executives.  Writing about Google’s data center executives is a good follow up.

Google’s current Data Center executive leadership are Urs Hoelzle, Ben Treynor, and Joe Kava.  Urs has no LinkedIn profile, but he does have a wikipedia post and has been with Google since the beginning being Google employee #8.  The data center group is part of Ben Treynor’s organization. Ben joined Google in 2003.  VP of Data Centers is Joe Kava, joining Google in 2008.  

Urs posted on its Google datacenter in 1999.

Shared publicly  -  Feb 4, 2014
15 years ago (on Feb 1st, 1999) I first set foot in a Google datacenter. Well, not really -- in the Google cage in the Exodus datacenter in Santa Clara.  Larry had led me there for a tour (I wasn't an employee yet) and it was my first time in any datacenter.  And you couldn't really "set foot" in the first Google cage because it was tiny (7'x4', 2.5 sqm) and filled with about 30 PCs on shelves.  a1 through a24 were the main servers to build and serve the index and c1 through c4 were the crawl machines.

It is not easy to find who were people who were data center executives from 1999 to 2003.  Ben Treynor in 2003 was the start of the site reliability engineering at Google and according to Ben’s linkedin profile he picked up the data center group in 2010 and in 2014 is responsible for the Google Cloud.

Vice President, Engineering


October 2003 – Present (11 years 1 month)Mountain View, CA

Site Reliability Engineering: 2003-present
Global Networking: backbone, egress, datacenter, and corporate: 2004-present
Global Datacenters: construction, engineering & operations: 2010-present
Global Servers: operations 2010-present
Google Cloud: 2014-present

Joe Kava has been the consistent presenter from Google on what is happening in the data center group, presenting at 7x24 Exchange, Uptime Symposium, Datacenter Dynamics, and many other industry events.

Vice President - Data Centers


April 2008 – Present (6 years 7 months)Mountain View, California

Responsible for design, engineering, construction, operations and sustainability for Google's global data centers.

10 years of Microsoft Data Center Executives

Microsoft’s latest VP of Data Centers (Global Foundation Services) now called the Cloud Infrastructure and Operations is Suresh Kumar.  There have been a lot of changes in the past 10 years of Microsoft’s data center group. The following is an accumulation of looking at Linkedin Profiles.

Currently Suresh Kumar is VP of Cloud Infrastructure and Operations with Christian Belady General Manager of Data Centers.

Dayne Sampson was VP of Global Foundation Services (GFS) from 2009 - 2014 with Christian Belady and Kevin Timmons as GMs of data centers.

Debra Chrapty was VP of GFS (until 2009) with Arne Josefsberg who brought in Mike Manos from Disney Interactive in 2005 to run data centers and this was the beginning of Microsoft’s transition to building data centers.

Before 2005 data centers also existed part of Microsoft IT and that was run by John Coster.

I have talked to some of the above people, but the only one I worked with is Mike Manos.

Mike and I overlapped by a year at Microsoft, and we didn't worked together when employees.  But, we did work together after I left the company and we had many interesting conversations.  The most memorable one was in Mar 2009 in his office when Mike said he was thinking of leaving Microsoft, and he wanted to know what I thought of leaving.  Mike had been at Microsoft for 4 years.  I had been at the company 14 years.  Mike explained the situation, and I was 100% supportive of Mike’s decision to leave Microsoft, and I knew with almost the same 100% certainty that Mike would eventually be a senior executive at the CIO/CTO level.  What I didn’t expect is how quickly Mike achieved CTO status.  Which reminds me of one of the points I shared with Mike is where would he be after 5 more years at Microsoft?  He would be a senior general manager with a slim chance of being a VP.  It may seem obvious that Mike would be VP of data centers/cloud vs. Dayne Sampson, but Dayne had internal support from other senior executives as Microsoft replaced Debra Chrapty.  One supporter of Mike was Satya Nadella, so it is possible if Mike was still at Microsoft he would be the VP of Cloud Infrastructure and Operations, but not a certainty.

Since I had posted comparing Suresh to Google’s Joe Kava using LinkedIn.  I was curious what happens if you compare Suresh to Mike using LinkedIn.  Here is a picture with Mike and Joe at 7x24 Exchange. Don’t think I have ever seen Suresh at a data center event.  Will to be fair you hardly ever see an employee at a data center event. :-)


What became clear in the LinkedIn data is that Mike has a higher peer review, and is probably one of the best VPs Microsoft could have had to run Cloud Infrastructure and Operations in the opinion of his LinkedIn connections.

Both Mike and Suresh have 500+ connections, and I think Mike’s actual connections may be a bit bigger.  Why?  Because data like Mike’s #1 skill is cloud computing 241, #2 data centers 225, and #3 IT Operations 136.  Suresh’s #1 skill is e-commerce 28 and his Cloud Computing # is 11.   Whoa.  Mike Manos Cloud Computing skill # is 241 and Suresh’s 11.  A 22x difference.  Data Centers for Mike is 225 and Suresh is 0. 

Mike did a short stint at Nokia and if Stephen Elop backed Mike Manos, then Mike could have come back to Microsoft through the Nokia acquisition.  We’ve all witnessed boomerang executives.

Those executives who know how to operate data centers are rare.  Those who know how to run Cloud Infrastructure seem more plentiful.  But, I somehow don’t feel comfortable taking direction from a Cloud Executive who doesn’t understand the way data centers operate.

Here are Mike’s top skills


Suresh’s top skills