Data Center Conversation with FieldView Solutions David Schirmacher on getting IT and Facilities together, galvanic corrosion metaphor

Over the past 9 months I have had many conversations with David Schirmacher, Chief Strategy Office of FieldView Solutions.


David Schirmacher,
Chief Strategy Officer

David Schirmacher is Chief Strategy Officer for FieldView Solutions. He has close to 30 years of experience managing the design and operation of millions of square feet of mission critical facilities, representing billions of dollars in corporate investment.

Mr. Schirmacher was most recently Vice President and Global Head of Engineering and Critical Systems at Goldman Sachs & Company, where he was responsible for the design, operation and overall strategy of the firm's data centers, trading and critical business environments throughout the US, Europe and Asia. Previously, David served as Vice President, Director of Operations at Jones Lang LaSalle, and Compass.

David is on the technical advisory committee of Mission Critical Magazine, VP of 7x24 Exchange International and a member of a task force organized by the EPA and other industry influencers to develop an agreed method for measuring and reporting data center infrastructure efficiency.

Dave and I were chatting at Uptime, and he made the point in jest I hadn't written a blog post about him yet.  I have been meaning to write about David and FieldView Solutions, but actually have a writer's block posting as I know so much and I don't know where to start.  My first conversation with David was a two hour phone call, and we rarely chat for less than an hour as we bounce around many different topics.

An example of areas we will discuss is what is going on in the industry, who is doing interesting work and who isn't, what did we think of a conference.  David and I have run into each at DatacenterDynamics, AFCOM's Data Center World, Gartner Data Center Conference, Uptime Institute Symposium, and The Green Grid over the last 6 months.  We'll see each other next when I make my first trip to 7x24 Exchange Orlando.


To break the writer's block I gave David a call and discussed some ideas and one topic we discussed is the recommendation that comes from a variety of people that the data center electricity bill should be moved out of facilities and into IT, so IT has an incentive to save electricity. 

David and I discussed the fallacy of this recommendation fixing the energy efficient IT problem.  Getting facilities and IT to work together is brought up often, but getting the two groups to work together is not easy, and many times does not last as the connection and communications disintegrate after the initial discussions.

Then we hit upon the metaphor of a galvanic corrosion where two metals (IT and facilities) are in contact and one corrodes as electrons flow between the materials.

An infamous example of galvanic corrosion is the Statue of Liberty's copper skin and iron supports.


The galvanic reaction between iron and copper was originally mitigated by insulating copper from the iron framework using an asbestos cloth soaked in shellac. However, the integrity and sealing property of this improvised insulator broke down over the many years of exposure to high levels of humidity normal in a marine environment. The insulating barrier became a sponge that kept the salted water present as a conductive electrolyte, forming a crude electrochemical cell as and Volta had discovered a century earlier. The formation of expanded material that followed was typical of confined situations found in crevice corrosion.

When two metals are far apart on the Galvanic series, your corrosion problem gets worse.  The same idea applies to IT and facilities, the further apart the groups the unintended consequences (the corrosion) risk is higher.  You can mitigate the risks, but you should be aware of the differences up front.

Here are a few words of wisdom from David Schirmacher.

although it is difficult to create a lasting connection between the two groups, in essentially every case, you will find that the best practice operations have succeeded at doing it.

if you don’t have the right stakeholders accountable for performance you run a big risk of only appearing to be proactive.