What is the future of a Data Center Glasnost?

DataCenterKnowledge’s Rich Miller wrote a good post on Google’s Chris Malone presentation at Uptime Institute in Apr 2009, and Daniel Costello’s calling for a Data Center Glasnost.

Microsoft, Google and Data Center Glasnost

April 16th, 2009 : Rich Miller

Chris Malone of Google speaks Tuesday at the Uptim Institute Symposium 2009 in New York, while Uptime founder Ken Brill listens.

Chris Malone of Google speaks Tuesday at the Uptime Institute Symposium 2009 in New York. Listening at right is Uptime Institute founder Ken Brill.

One of the best-attended Tuesday sessions at The Uptime Institute’s Symposium 2009 in New York was a presentation by Google’s Chris Malone. As has been notedelsewhere, Malone’s talk summarized much of the information that Google disclosed April 1 at its Data Center Efficiency Summit. But there was a noteworthy moment during the question and answer period when Daniel Costello approached the mike.

Daniel went on to present the idea of a Glasnost.

“Microsoft applauds Google’s openness in presenting this information,” Costello said. “It’s moving us forward to a data center glasnost of sorts.” Glasnost, for those with short memories, was the policy of openness and transparency that Mikhail Gorbachev introduced in the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Google’s Chris Malone responds.

Over the past year Microsoft has been actively discussing some of its data center innovations and best practices at industry events. Responding to Costello, Malone said Google intends to pursue a similar path, reversing years of secrecy about its data center operations. “One of the reasons we’re here is to share in the industry discussions,” said Malone, who added that Google has now joined The Green Grid, one of the industry consortiums on energy efficiency.

Rich Miller makes an excellent point though in differences in what Microsoft and Google are presenting.

There are differences in the two companies’ approaches. Microsoft is talking publicly about its future data center design plans, like the “Generation 4 ” plan for roofless container farms. Google’s disclosures thus far have focused on older facilities that likely don’t represent the 2008 model year for its data centers. And as happened at Uptime, there will be continuing debates in the industry about how much of the innovation seen at Google and Microsoft is relevant to smaller data centers.

But, with Daniel Costello moving to Google will Glasnost and the spirit of openness change into a Cold War?  Rich Miller closed his post making the point of a cold war.

But when it comes to expert information on best practices, more is better. Like the end users, the data center industry has its share of information siloes, and its good to see that starting to change. Much hard work remains. But Glasnost is far better than a data center Cold War.

If you follow with the Cold War analogy who is the Soviet Union and who is the US?

Google has been building data centers longer than Microsoft and they are proud of their move to containers before Microsoft.

Both Google and Microsoft have a bunch of money and a lot to win and lose in the data center wars.

Is Daniel Costello’s move to Google a tipping point?

From Publishers Weekly

The premise of this facile piece of pop sociology has built-in appeal: little changes can have big effects; when small numbers of people start behaving differently, that behavior can ripple outward until a critical mass or "tipping point" is reached, changing the world. Gladwell's thesis that ideas, products, messages and behaviors "spread just like viruses do" remains a metaphor as he follows the growth of "word-of-mouth epidemics" triggered with the help of three pivotal types. These are Connectors, sociable personalities who bring people together; Mavens, who like to pass along knowledge; and Salesmen, adept at persuading the unenlightened. (Paul Revere, for example, was a Maven and a Connector). Gladwell's applications of his "tipping point" concept to current phenomena--such as the drop in violent crime in New York, the rebirth of Hush Puppies suede shoes as a suburban mall favorite, teenage suicide patterns and the efficiency of small work units--may arouse controversy.

How ironic that Daniel calls for Glasnost in Apr 2009 as Microsoft data center executive and in Sept 2010 will be a Google Data Center executive.