Facebook dodges Holy Hand Grenade thrown by Greenpeace's Gary Cook at Data Center Energy Summit

I was going to live blog the SVLG Data Center Energy Summit on Oct 14, 2010, but after the first post I was sitting with some data center friends and we spent too much time discussing technical details during the Facebook and eBay presentation.

Holistic Approaches to Reducing Energy Use - Customer
Presented Case Studies
KC Mares, MegaWatt Consulting, DCES Co-Chair (moderator)
Dan Lee, Facebook
Veerendra Mular, Facebook
Rick Rehyner, eBay

Then I was in constant networking and didn't have time to blog.

One of the more entertaining moments is when Gary Cook from Greenpeace asked the last question in the Facebook session.  Who is Gary Cook?  Gary is the Greenpeace policy analyst who has been responding to Facebook's position on its data centers being coal powered.

Dear Barry:

Thanks for your response.

We appreciate your recognition that Facebook has a coal problem with its Oregon data center. However, where we disagree is your claim to be powerless to do anything about it as, like Greenpeace and others, Facebook simply has to buy whatever electricity is available. This is not the case for Greenpeace, and is certainly not the case for Facebook, who is an industrial scale consumer of electricity.

Gary got his chance to ask a question in the Facebook & eBay panel.


The Facebook engineers are the three guys to the left.  eBay is to the right.  And, far right is moderator KC Mares.

Gary Cook had a well thought out question.


The problem is instead of asking a simple quick question like "Facebook and eBay can you comment on your energy sources being coal powered."  Gary went into a long series of questions and issues directed at Facebook that I lost track of, and there was almost no way for Facebook to answer his question.

When I tell others about Greenpeace asking the question it reminds of the infamous Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch Monty Python skit.

KC Mares took the question, and allowed Facebook's engineers to dodge the environmental hand grenade.  I would expect eBay sighed in relief as they were not the intended target.

Later I was talking to another speaker at the conference and mentioned Gary Cook was there and they said "oh where is he?" which at first caught me be surprise.  Then,  I remembered I am at the event as press and not a data center builder, so what do I have to fear talking to Gary.

Attending data center events we learn to recognize a variety of people.  Some you stir towards, some you stir away.  I would expect most don't greet Gary with a look of "hey haven't seen you for a while, what are you up to"  "oh, same old thing looking to corner the Facebook guys and get them to go to 100% renewable energy."

I hope you are laughing. I am writing this.

The Data Center Energy Summit was a great event to connect with great people.  My apologies again for not being able to blog more during the event as I was too busy networking. and having some good laughs.