The fall meeting of AFCOM's Data Center World kicked off on September 11, 2011 in sunny Orlando at the Orlando World Center Marriott and Convention Center. Event organizers used the conference timing with the anniversary of the September 11 attacks to remind participants about the importance of disaster recovery and business continuity plans. According to a survey done by AFCOM in March, more than 15 percent of data centers have no plan for business continuity or disaster recovery and 50 percent of data centers have no formal plan for replacing damaged equipment after a disaster.
AFCOM CEO Jill Yaoz told those gathered for Monday's keynote session that the Data Center Institute/AFCOM was releasing a white paper on how to stay in business following a disaster, and that offered best practices that can be applied to most any business and data center. AFCOM members may download the guide from the group's website.
John Patrick, former IBM exec and member of the World Wide Web consortium at MIT in the early days of the Internet, delivered the keynote about current and future trends in technology, including the Internet which he claimed is "in its adolescence." He projected that healthcare would be greatly assisted by technology in the future, such as e-prescribing by doctors to prevent mistakes due to illegible handwriting on drug prescriptions, health records that would be stored and accessed on personal iPads, and smart home health devices that monitor vital signs and report to primary care doctors, a process that could prevent chronically ill patients from hospital visits. He said that healthcare IT will grow to be greater than the size of all current IT.
About 675 people were in attendance, according to event organizers. The conference included multiple tracks on topics such as cloud computing; facilities; data center management; data center protection, prevention and recovery; and end-user case studies.
Darren Smith, NESCC Project Director, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, spoke about the agency's data center in West Virginia which will house its new supercomputer for research and development. NOAA has 9 supercomputers in 6 locations in 4 states and Smith described the site selection process for its new facility. The 54,000 square foot space will house 16,000 square feet of raised floor computer room space and 6,000 square foot tape archive, with room for expansion of compute space in the future.