The Secret is out IT Development Labs need energy efficiency solutions

I have had conversations with Cisco's Chris Noland who presented at Teladata's Technology Convergence Conference and made this comment.

‘People Have Woken Up’

But labs are now being sharing space in data center expansion projects. Noland says Cisco is building a “showcase” engineering lab featuring rack-top chimney containment systems. Last year Brocade consolidated its labs in a brand-new state-of-the-art data center at the company’s new campus in San Jose.

I admit I didn't got to the session as I have been talking with people/companies to implement energy efficiency in lab environments for over 4 years. Why?  Because, even though the data center is the big target there are great opportunities in IT labs.  Here are a few of the reasons I have told people.

  1. Selling in the data center is hard.  Selling into a lab is 10 times easier.
  2. The Lab is willing to experiment more than a data center. (The lab has people who are not as risk adverse as a typical IT data center.)
  3. Many times you only need to sell one person on your solution in a lab.  In a data center you'll be lucky if you only need to sell three people.
  4. The sales cycle is dramatically less in the lab vs. data center.
  5. Start in the lab, then use the lab installation as a demonstration for others in the enterprise. (You need your product installed to sell more long term)
  6. Use the lab as awareness to develop lower energy solutions. (Like Cisco's lab)
  7. The Labs actually use a lot more energy than people think.  (Look at HP, Intel, Sun, IBM, and Microsoft's energy efficiency implementations and they have all addressed the lab.)

Here is the Teladata Technology Convergence Conference session on energy efficiency in R&D labs.

Mark Thiele
11:00 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.
Panel Discussion Topic: Data Center Challenges and Solutions in the R&D Lab

Moderator: Mark Thiele, VP of Data Center Strategy at ServiceMesh
Panelist: Chris Noland, Lab Manager at Cisco Systems Inc.
Panelist: Duffie Cooley, Lab Manager for Juniper Networks
Panelist: Val Sokolov, Senior Manager for Engineering lab services at Brocade

Unlike enterprise and production data centers, today's R&D electronics lab is a dynamic and constantly changing work environment with variable demands for power, space and cooling.  IT engineers expect as much autonomy and flexibility as possible in the way that they access their IT resources and then develop and test their IT solutions.  So, how realistic is it to believe that our new data center standards and "best practices" can be implemented in the IT lab as well?  Hear leading laboratory operators describe their challenges and barriers to success and explain how they have modified well established data center solutions to fit the needs of their unique R&D environments.

And, Rich Miller reported on the presentation.

Engineering Labs: An Efficiency Opportunity

February 28th, 2011 : Rich Miller

A panel on engineering labs at the Technology Convergence Conference featured Mike Honer from Juniper Networks, Chris Doland from Cisco Systems and Val Sokolov from Brocade.

As America’s largest companies begin to get a handle on their data center energy usage, they’re widening their gaze to scrutinize the efficiency of their engineering labs. Managers of some of the leading lab operations in Silicon Valley say the attention is long overdue, and will lead to significant energy savings.

The secret is out that IT labs need energy efficient solutions.  There is still huge opportunities to sell energy efficient solutions, and more people are discussing the idea.  I just can't tell people it's a little known area of opportunity to go after.  But, it does feel good I was talking about the idea 4 years before it gets up on a panel discussion.  And, I've moved on to a bunch of different ideas I am playing with that nobody is discussing.

FYI, part of the reason I research and blog on topics is to watch what the industry is doing so I can figure out the opportunities.