DC Pulse: We Need to Align Industry Groups

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, 7×24 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, 7×24 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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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. An interesting group to watch. I interviewed one of the other organizers of Data Center Pulse, Mark Thiele from VMware, a couple weeks back. I asked why we need another group, and his answer was hinted at needing a forum not dominated by vendors (of course, having said that, VMware and Sun are organizers). :^) More of Thiele's comments on Data Center Pulse and changes in the way data centers can/should be run here: http://datacenterdialog.blogspot.com/2009/02/vmwares-thiele-never-more-data-center.html

  2. Mark Thiele

    I did an interview with Jay Fry a while back for the Cassatt blog. I do want to clarify one thing though, VMware & Sun aren't organizers of Data Center Pulse. Dean Nelson and Mark Thiele independent from their companies founded this organization. We are now "customer" participants, just like all of the other members.