DC Pulse: We Need to Align Industry Groups

Data center end-users view the alignment of industry organizations as a top priority, according to Data Center Pulse, which developed a "top 10 list" of user priorities at its recent summit.

What's the number one priority for data center end users? According to Data Center Pulse, it's getting industry groups to work together effectively on standards and metrics for data center operators. Aligning the efforts of industry organizations topped the list of the Top 10 data center user requests compiled during the first Data Center Pulse Summit last week in Santa Clara.

"We need to align our organizations," said Dean Nelson, a co-founder of Data Center Pulse who works for Sun Microsystems. "There's so many cooks in the kitchen, and so many silos. We really would like to get an industry consortium that enables us to work together. We've got to be aligned about how this is going to go."

Will the established data center industry groups industry heed the call for change from Data Center Pulse, a new group focused exclusively on the interests of end users? The data center industry's ability to work together despite fierce business competition among leading vendors has become a pressing issue amid rising power usage and costs.

The emergence of the Green Grid, an industry consortium organized by vendors, has helped advance energy efficiency standards (especially Power Usage Effectiveness, or PUE) but many end users remain frustrated by the deliberate pace of progress.

Interestingly, the Green Grid has been receptive to DCP's calls for alignment of industry organizations, according to Nelson. Established groups like the Uptime Institute, 7x24 Exchange and AFCOM have been more reserved in their assessment of the new group.

"The reaction has been mixed," Nelson said. "Some organizations want to figure out a way to partner, and others to understand what we're doing and see us as a bit of a threat. There are groups out there that see this as taking something away from their organization. Data Center Pulse shouldn't be considered a threat."

Expanding Into Live Conferences
A factor in other groups' wariness may be the decision by Data Center Pulse to expand its original format as an online-only user group on LinkedIN and enter the live conference arena. AFCOM, 7x24 Exchange and Uptime Institute all hold data center conferences that attract hundreds of attendees from the industry.     

Data Center Pulse is a vendor-neutral group launched in September 2008 to bring together global data center owners and operators to discuss best practices and industry trends. The group is restricted to users, with no vendors or consultants allowed to participate. 

It might be easy for other groups to dismiss DCP's calls for alignment as a tactic to raise the new group's profile. But the rapid growth of Data Center Pulse - which now has nearly 700 members - suggests that end users are unhappy with the status quo and see the need for a new approach. 

Nelson said many industry conferences and user groups are focused on presentations by vendors of data center products. At the very least, Nelson says, DCP provides a venue for users to articulate their needs.      

"We're trying to unite end-users, and will figure out a way to make it happen," said Nelson. "We have to. We're going to continue to push forward with this and find a way to work together."

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