It's a sad day for the data center industry. Olivier Sanche, an industry veteran who most recently headed the data center team at Apple, passed away on Thursday. Friends indicated that Sanche suffered a heart attack.
Sanche was a thought leader in data center energy efficiency, and used his expertise to streamline operations at many of the world's largest technology companies, making a major collective impact on the industry's carbon output in the process. He joined Apple in August 2009 as Director of Global Data Center Operations, a role in which he oversaw the preparations of Apple’s new $1 billion data center in North Carolina. Olivier also headed data center teams at AT&T, Telecity Group and eBay prior to moving to Apple.
His last major project at eBay was heading design and construction on the company's "Topaz" data center in South Jordan, Utah, which this week received LEED Gold certification for its sustainable construction.
Nokia's Mike Manos called Sanche's untimely death a "huge loss" in an appreciation at Loose Bolts. "He was a thoughtful man, a great father and husband, and a great friend," writes Manos. "He was incredibly intelligent, and although he might disagree, you could count on him to champion the free discussion of ideas."
Dave Ohara shares some of his memories of Olivier over at the Green Data Center Blog. "Olivier loved being at Apple as he could do things he could get done nowhere else," Dave writes. "He had vision, passion, and drive to do the right thing, especially for the environment."
Sanche liked to say that "no data center is more efficient than the one you don't have to build." He favored taking a holistic view of data center efficiency that examined all aspects of data center operation.
Sanche graduated from the Institut des Sciences de l'Ingenieur de Montpellier in France with a dual Masters degree in Computer Science Engineering and Management.