NYTimes writes Data Center article

Had a meeting with Microsoft’s Pat Helland and he mentioned this NYTimes article. Pat and I met to see if we can work together on a keynote presentation getting developers motivated to write more efficient software, and articles like this are good for education and awareness.

Demand for Data Puts Engineers in Spotlight

Paul Marcoux, vice president for green engineering at Cisco Systems, has worked on the design of about 100 data centers.

In Silicon Valley, the stars have long been charismatic marketing visionaries and cool-nerd software wizards. By contrast, mechanical engineers who design and run computer data centers were traditionally regarded as little more than blue-collar workers in the high-tech world.

The New York Times

For years, they toiled in relative obscurity in the engine rooms of the digital economy, amid the racks of servers and storage devices that power everything from online videos to corporate e-mail systems. Their mission was to keep the computing power plants humming, while scant thought was given to rising costs and energy consumption.

Today, data center experts are no longer taken for granted. The torrid growth in data centers to keep pace with the demands of Internet-era computing, their immense need for electricity and their inefficient use of that energy pose environmental, energy and economic challenges, experts say.

That means people with the skills to design, build and run a data center that does not endanger the power grid are suddenly in demand. Their status is growing, as are their salaries — climbing more than 20 percent in the last two years into six figures for experienced engineers.

“The data center energy problem is growing fast, and it has an economic importance that far outweighs the electricity use,” said Jonathan G. Koomey, a consulting professor of environmental engineering at Stanford. “So that explains why these data center people, who haven’t gotten a lot of glory in their careers, are in the spotlight now.”