Green the Data Center with Open and Transparent thinking

This past week I slowed my blog posting.  I wrote 5 posts for the week, and many times I'll write 5 posts in a day as I run across interesting information that is publicly available.  I was down in the bay area and had great conversations with technical friends who I have known for 10 - 20 years.  And, with the announcement of non profit organization partnership with University of Missouri, I have been thinking more about the approach we will use in the partnership.

I leave in a few hours to get on a plane to Missouri, and one of the people we will meet with is the President of the University of Missouri system, Gary Forsee.

Gary Forsee

Gary Forsee

Gary D. Forsee became the 22nd president of the four-campus University of Missouri System Feb.18, 2008. He is the chief executive officer of the university with four campuses in Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla and St. Louis. The system’s annual operating budget is approximately $959 million, with total revenues of $2.5 billion and an endowment of $1 billion.

In his first year as president, Forsee established a comprehensive set of performance objectives, surveyed Missourians on their attitudes of public higher education and focused on conveying the university’s distinctive value to the state.

Prior to his appointment as university president, Forsee spent more than 36 years in the telecommunications industry. Most recently, he served as chairman and CEO of Sprint Nextel in Kansas City, Mo. He also served as CEO of Global One, a joint venture of Sprint, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom; and in various leadership positions at AT&T and Southwestern Bell.

And, this is forcing me think hard to what does it mean to be a green data center.  Is it a low PUE?  Is it a 100% renewable energy supply? Is it cloud computing?

What is consistently missing from almost all green data center claims is an open and transparent approach to share the knowledge beyond the PR message.

What do I mean by Open and Transparent?  Here is an article that does a very good job of explaining.


If you are open-minded, not closed, you are open to new ideas, to new thoughts, to new people and to new ways of working. When you come across new things you are curious and eager to explore them. You are non-judgmental and you look to engage other people in conversation – not so much in debate, but more in dialogue.

You deliberately go out of your way to discover new things. You are an explorer!

You ask for criticism from people – not praise. You are not afraid when people challenge your ideas – in fact you welcome it. This is how you learn. You are willing to ‘let things in’. People can ‘come in’. Hence the word ‘open’.


If you are transparent, you work in a way which naturally enables people to see what you are doing. You publish your activity and your ‘work in progress’ as a by-product of the way that you work. You deliberately go out of your way to try to be honest and open about who you are. There is no façade, no pretense – with you, people get what they see.

You speak in your own voice. You are authentic. Others can see clearly who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing it.

You do not try to hide things out of fear of being seen to make a mistake. You actually want your mistakes to be seen. And you want others to point them out to you – that way you get to learn and to get even better at what you do. You make it easy for people to find you and to connect with you. You ‘let things out’. People can ‘see in’. Hence the word ‘transparent’.

The article finishes with the signs of if you are open and transparent.


Being open and transparent is a state of mind and more about general behaviour than the use of any specific tools. But if you are open, and transparent the more likely you are to blog; to ‘Twitter’; use wikis and other social-networking tools; give talks; publish papers, articles or newsletters; keep your calendar online; have an online presence indicator; and, write regular status reports on your activity and much more besides.

Being open and transparent are not the only traits of an effective knowledge worker, but I do believe they are two of the core behaviours. So do you think openness and transparency are important? If so, just how open and transparent are you and what might you do to improve?

I have now shared the approach I will take in the discussion with President Forsee and others at the University of Missouri.

If green data centers used an open and transparent approach, the adoption of technologies and methods would be faster. 

Think about what is holding back people and organizations from using this approach.  I am.