Cisco Grow a Greener Data Center Book, missing a piece – THE SOFTWARE

InfomIT has an interview with Cisco’s Douglas Alger on his new book Grow a Green Data Center.

Paint Your Data Center Green: An Interview with Douglas Alger

Linda Leung

From the author of
Grow a Greener Data Center, Rough Cuts

In an interview with Linda Leung, Douglas Alger explains what it takes for businesses to green their data centers, how Cisco is eating its own green dog food, and how his former career as a journalist has helped him in his career at Cisco.

It's easy to do your bit to green up your life. From taking public transportation to work, to switching off your computer every night, to recycling and composting, every little counts. And every little bit counts a lot more when you're involved in greening data centers. By being smart with data center equipment layout and design and using energy-efficient devices, green data centers can save hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars depending on the size of the facilities. Douglas Alger, author of Grow a Greener Data Center, and Build the Best Data Center Facility for Your Business says Cisco's savings due to its green initiatives could be in the millions of dollars.

I haven’t read the book, but took a look at the Table of Contents.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Going Green in the Data Center
Chapter 2  Greener Construction Strategies
Chapter 3  Powering Your Way to a Greener Data Center
Chapter 4 Cooling Your Way to a Greener Data Center
Chapter 5 Cabling Your Way to a Greener Data Center
Chapter 6  Refrigerants and Fire Suppressants
Chapter 7 Choosing Greener Gear
Chapter 8 Saving Energy Through Consolidation and Virtualization  [Contributing Chapter 9 Greening Other Business Practices
Chapter 10 Measuring and Managing Green
Appendix - Sources of Data Center Green Information

Douglas’s background is interesting in that he is a journalist and learned his trade in Cisco’s data center group.

Linda Leung: You have a bachelor's degree in journalism, and you had stints as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times and Syracuse University. Why did you change careers? Are there elements of journalism that have helped you in your career as an IT professional?

Douglas Alger: My career change was actually put into motion by a desire to relocate to San Jose, where I had gone to college years before and where several friends still lived. One of them worked at Cisco, so I called him and asked if he knew whether the company had any openings for technical writers. It did, but my friend also mentioned that his manager was looking to hire someone to do support work for their data centers and ideally create a website to document their data center-related operational policies and procedures, many of which were still taking shape. The position sounded like a new way for me to apply my writing background, and Cisco seemed like a good company to work for, so I decided to apply.

Being able to communicate clearly in writing and produce work while up against daily deadlines are certainly useful skills that can be applied to any field. Probably most helpful from my days as a newspaper reporter, though, has been the ability to investigate unfamiliar subject matter, figure out what are the key elements and then communicate their importance to other people.

The one big thing though I found missing is the lack of discussion on the role of software in a green data center.  Virtualization in many ways is just a hardware utilization technology, working at a low level close to the hardware that software doesn’t care.

There is a communication gap between the software developers, IT operations, and data center facilities.  These groups speak different languages and have different priorities. I actually think it is too hard to get all of these groups in one room, and even if you did get them together once, you’ll have a rapid fall off in any remaining discussions.

The good thing is there are some groups who get the role of software (the consumers of data center resources) need too be aware of their energy use and the impact of their actions.  Look for more on the topic Software and a Green Data Center.