Two Different Views of Greening a Data Center

At Google’s Efficient Data Center Summit, there was a panel discussion on Best Practices. Panel members left to right: Ken Brill, James Hamilton, William Tschudi, and Olivier Sanche.


One of the questions for the panel members was on subject of green and sustainability.

Ken Brill gave a practical view of show me the money. Green is overhyped and a clear ROI needs to be established for projects.

Olivier Sanche starts by telling the story of his child telling him how the polar bears are drowning, then he thinks he is potentially building a data center that will have a bigger impact to global warming than any other action he has as an individual.  Olivier tells his team we need to do the right thing, and how we impact the environment is part of the equation.

There were people in the audience nodding their heads as each of the panel members gave their comments, so is there a right answer?  It depends on your view.

One indicator though of what resonated with more people was the number of times Olivier’s views were supported by other presenters during the rest of the event.

It is interesting that in some views it is risk taking to do the right thing for the environment when the financials may not be perfectly clear. Taking small steps to experiment with what does work and how well is a way to manage the risk versus saying no to green efforts.

Is building a Green Data Center a risk or the right thing to do?

Microsoft has their green data center press release.

Google had a their Efficient Data Center event.

eBay has Olivier Sanche speaking up to do the right thing.