Mike Manos Reflects on Uptime Symposium 2008 - 2010

Mike posted his reflections on Uptime Symposium 2010.  But to start let's go back 2 years ago when Mike gave his first keynote at Uptime in 2008.  Here is my post from 2 years ago.

Apr 27, 2008

Microsoft's Mike Manos Opening Keynote Uptime Institute, Green Enterprise Computing

The opening of the Uptime Institute Symposium started with Pitt Turner, saying "what are we doing here?" Green Enterprise Computing is a timely topic for the industry event. I've seen Mike present before, and here is what I got out of Mike's latest presentation as new information to digest.

  1. Mike's call to action for all was to stop being information hogs, and to share with the industry. He gave numerous example, and here are a few Mike shared.
  2. Mike emphasized that in spite of a focus on technology. Microsoft has found having the right people and processes makes bigger impact than technology . Mike states over 50% of data center outages are caused by human error. This contrasts a common method to invest in multiple layers of infrastructure redundancy to achieve uptime.Mike was proud of Microsoft's ability to have a 100% facilities uptime over 7 years by implementing strong and disciplined maintenance programs. Also, redundant infrastructure creates more energy waste.
  3. Technology is not the only answer to energy efficiency. People are the opportunity. Microsoft achieved a PUE improvement from 2.2 to 1.8 with no new technology just by people making changes to existing systems in one of their older facilities.
  4. Mike didn't say this, but bottom line he emphasizes an Amazon.com approach in getting data on everything, and they'll figure out what to do with it after by giving people the information to do the right thing.

It is amazing thing  to see how Microsoft has risen from nowhere a year ago to be the leader in the Green Enterprise Computing with Mike Manos, delivering the opening keynote.

In Mike's presentation this year he discussed C02K to get people thinking about the carbon impact of the data center.  2 years ago Mike was discussing energy efficiency and PUE, now he is discussing CO2K.  Last year he was discussing containers.

If you look at most keynote speakers, they get the spot due to sponsorship at the event, so the presentation is a strategic positioning slot sold to highest bidder.  This year's Uptime had Jones Lang LaSalle as opening keynote.


Mike's keynote was on Tues last of the day.  Nokia was not a sponsor of Uptime.


Now you could argue whether the money is worth spending and this is how industry events work.  I would argue Mike definitely got his money's worth.  He didn't have to pay to attend the event or his speaker spot.  As long as people say good things about Mike's presentation Uptime will bring him back as someone to enforce the relevance of Uptime in the industry.

My second key observation this year was the amount of people.  Symposium is truly an international event and their were over 900 attendees for the talks, and if memory serves, about 1300 for the exhibition hall.  I had heard that 20 out of the worlds 30 time-zones had representatives at the conference.  It was especially good for one of the key recurring benefits of this event: Networking.   The networking opportunities were first rate and by the looks of the impromptu meetings and hallways conversations this continued to be an a key driver for the events success.  As fun as making new friends is, it was also refreshing to spend some time and quick catch ups with old friends like Dan Costello and Sean Farney from Microsoft, Andrew Fanara, Dr. Bob Sullivan, and a host of others.

My third observation and perhaps the one I was most pleased with with the diversity of thought in the presentations.  Its a fair to say that I have been critical of Uptime for some time by a seemingly droningly dogmatic recurring set of themes and particular bend of thinking.   While those topics were covered, so too were a myriad of what I will call counter-culture topics.  Sure there were still  a couple of the salesy presentations you find at all of these kinds of events, but the diversity of thought and approach this time around was striking.   Many of them addressed larger business issues, the impact, myths, approach to cloud computing, virtualization, and decidedly non-facilities related material affecting our worlds.   This might have something to do with the purchase by the 451 Group and its related Data Center think tank organization Tier 1, but it was amazingly refreshing and they knocked the ball out of the park.

Mike brings up a problem that many others ran into with the length of the sessions.

My fourth observation was that the amount of time associated with the presentations was too short.   While I have been known to completely abuse any allotted timeslots in my own talks due to my desire to hear myself talk, I found that many presentations had to end due to time just as things were getting interesting.  Many of the hallways conversations were continuations of those presentations and it would have been better to keep the groups in the presentation halls. 

A couple of smart things that were done for Mike's talk - give him a big room to fit the crowd and you know he is going to talk longer than his slot so give the last one in the day.  :-)  Bet you the Uptime Logistics folks were saying "Oh No Mike is going to speak and run over as usual.  Hey let's give the last slot of the day that way he can talk as long as he wants.  And, give him a big room as people like to hear him talk."