Decisions for a Green Data Center, Get Out of Your Own Way

WSJ has a science article which helps to explain why companies are so slow in greening their data centers.

Get Out of Your Own Way

Studies Show the Value of Not Overthinking a Decision
June 27, 2008; Page A9

Fishing in the stream of consciousness, researchers now can detect our intentions and predict our choices before we are aware of them ourselves. The brain, they have found, appears to make up its mind 10 seconds before we become conscious of a decision -- an eternity at the speed of thought.

Their findings challenge conventional notions of choice.



"We think our decisions are conscious," said neuroscientist John-Dylan Haynes at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, who is pioneering this research. "But these data show that consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg. This doesn't rule out free will, but it does make it implausible."

Results of their experiments are interesting.

Such experiments suggest that our best reasons for some choices we make are understood only by our cells. The findings lend credence to researchers who argue that many important decisions may be best made by going with our gut -- not by thinking about them too much.

Dutch researchers led by psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis at the University of Amsterdam recently found that people struggling to make relatively complicated consumer choices -- which car to buy, apartment to rent or vacation to take -- appeared to make sounder decisions when they were distracted and unable to focus consciously on the problem.

Moreover, the more factors to be considered in a decision, the more likely the unconscious brain handled it all better, they reported in the peer-reviewed journal Science in 2006. "The idea that conscious deliberation before making a decision is always good is simply one of those illusions consciousness creates for us," Dr. Dijksterhuis said.

As you get teams working together together, are you willing to take risks? Try something no one else has tried to save energy. The answer is a resounding NO from most companies. "This is our data center!" Yet, as this research shows, we are making mistakes in judgement all the time.  And in a corporate environment huge effort is spent to prove we did not make a mistake and the data is there to prove the right decision was made.

When is the last time you heard of a failed virtualization project?  There is tons of data to prove it was the right thing to do. But, you know someone is failing in their execution, but you don't hear the horror stories.  These stories will come with time, because there are way too many consultants making lots of money virtualizing servers.

This is why an energy monitoring system and using metrics like PUE are critical to evaluate objectively in big picture did the green project work.

Is your Green IT team set up to be efficient taking small risks to be more efficient or is it overthinking?