InfoWorld writes about Open Source Data Center Initiative

Mike Manos and I were interviewed by James Niccolai from IDG for an article on the Open Source Data Center Initiative.



Group seeks to open source data-center design

The Open Source Data Center Initiative wants to pool engineering resources that others can build on and implement

By James Niccolai | IDG News Service

A new industry group is trying to apply open-source principles to the design and construction of data centers, which it says could accelerate the use of new technologies and increase competition in the industry.

The Open Source Data Center Initiative, announced this week, will act as a repository and test bed for mechanical and engineering advances in data-center design, which it hopes will be submitted by small engineering firms, graduate students doing research with federal grant money, and others.

One of the points made to counter Mike’s point on engineering firms.

The data center industry is "dominated by a handful of large engineering houses" that are wedded to mechanical and engineering designs that are "largely considered proprietary," he said. Those companies don't have enough incentive to educate their customers about simpler, more standardized alternatives, he said.

"When you think of all the great things we've been talking about at data center conferences, about moving to greener designs and driving efficiency with new technologies -- a lot of that innovation is being held back because competition for those ideas is not out there," Manos said.

is from an engineering firm.

Not surprisingly, large engineering firms reject the idea that they are holding back the industry. Bruce Edwards, president of CCG Facilities Integration, one of the largest engineering companies, said data centers have seen significant innovation in the last 10 years, in areas such as electrical power delivery and cooling.

"It's not like we're sitting there parceling out the work; we're at each others throats," he said.

He also questioned the need for another industry group. "The idea that a nonprofit, collaborative, noncompetitive model will be a powerful engine to drive innovation -- I'm not convinced of it at this point," Edwards said.

In the short term since we have made the announcement on Mar 2 and Mike wrote his blog post on Mar 3, I’ve been contacted by multiple interested parties, Mike has a list, and the ARG Investment group has a list.  Part of our strategy has been how to viral, and we need to start small and grow.

One of the other points James Niccolai  makes which is right on mark is the educational focus of what we are doing.

The group will also play an educational role, he said. It will publish real-world data about the cost of implementing projects, such as a fresh-air cooling system, so that customers have "more transparency" when making decisions.

The discussion with James has helped us clarify the educational aspect.  We need to go back to Mizzou and discuss the education models in more detail and how we can optimize the educational aspect of what we are doing.

I would personally like to thank James for taking the time to explain what we are doing on the Open Source Data Center Initiative, and I look forward to his asking of more tough questions.

“Study, reflect, be inspired, act and enjoy!”

Mike, I and the rest of team are having a blast, and we have a list of people ready to join the effort.

Disclosure: My wife was an IDG VP, and she left IDG 10 years ago.  James and my wife had no connection as she was in Sales and he is in editorial, and overlapped maybe one year in 1999.  One of her jobs was working on advertorials for InfoWorld, and she takes pride in the InfoWorld publication.  Currently, my wife and I have no business relationships with IDG. And, she’ll kick me for letting it be known she was a VP.  :-)  One of the advantages I have is a supportive spouse who worked on the high tech executive viewpoints and will listen to my crazy ideas on how to change the IT world.