Modernizing Data Centers for Fun and Profit

Instructor: Jonathan Koomey
Class date: On Demand

What you will learn:

  • Help transform enterprise IT into a cost-reducing profit center
  • Map the costs and performance of IT in terms of business key performance indicators

This course, organized by our eLearning partner, HeatSpring, provides a road map for managers, directors, and senior directors in Technology Business Management (TBM), drawing upon real-world experiences from industry-leading companies like eBay and Google. The course is designed to help transform enterprise IT into a cost-reducing profit center by mapping the costs and performance of IT in terms of business key performance indicators (KPIs).

Participants in this course will gain access to templates and best practices used by leaders in data center optimization and performance. These templates will be used to complete a capstone project, which will propose management changes to help increase business agility, reduce costs, and move internal IT organization from being a cost center to a profit center.

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can complete the material whenever is convenient and work ahead or catch up if you fall behind. Expect to dedicate a minimum of 5 hours per week to the course. Keep in mind that the instructor will be there to answer your questions and help you learn for the duration of the course. The instructor will only be available to answer questions during the posted session dates, so ask all your questions while we’re in session. You will have access to all of the online materials for a full year.


Week 1: All modern enterprises are driven by IT. If you think IT is a cost center, as most organizations do, you’ve already lost the battle. IT should be a cost-reducing profit center. Transforming IT can transform your business, and we’ll continue to explore how by examining the basics of energy, power, and costs in enterprise data centers. Power and energy drive costs in modern data centers, and most equipment in enterprise data centers has very low (5-15%) utilization.

Week 2: In week two we present solutions and strategies to transform the organization. We’ll provide a foundation in the science of measurement. What to measure, how to do it? We’ll tie technical metrics to business KPIs.

Week 3: This week we will begin to assess costs and effectiveness at the business unit and project level to allows for accountability and more rapid learning. We’ll make the case to move from “sit down” to “buffet style” provisioning of computing to reduce needless variability in hardware, keep standard server configurations on the shelf, and improve lead time from months to weeks.

Week 4: We will provide more strategies and techniques to transform Enterprise IT into a profit center. Developing an internal cloud means using standardized hardware and can improve lead time from weeks to seconds and represents a key step for increasing business agility. Just measuring technical aspects of your existing facilities isn’t enough. We advocate and explain the need to model data centers throughout their life cycle, using sophisticated computer tools, to simulate the effects of proposed changes on costs, reliability, and energy use.

Week 5: The course closes with tangible next steps. Most organizations have split incentives (IT buys computers, facilities pays electric bills). Most organizations have split authority (separate bosses for IT and facilities), so nobody thinks about the whole system, and the company suffers for it. For substantive improvements to take hold, organizations need high level management buy in and a champion to organize enterprise IT under one leader, consolidate budgets and bring teams together so they always consider effects of changes on the whole system.

Week 6: You’ll apply what you’ve learned in the class to solve real business problems. Ideally you’d develop a plan for your current company to increase profits from your information technology investments. As a first step, you can investigate particular constraints and summarize how they inhibit your company from moving forward. Then you can propose a plan for removing those constraints.

About the instructor:

Jon KoomeyJonathan Koomey is a Research Fellow at the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University. He has also held visiting professorships at Yale University ,Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group, and was a Lecturer in Management at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. For more than 11 years he led Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (LBNL’s) End-Use Forecasting group, which analyzes markets for efficient products and technologies for improving the energy and environmental aspects of those products. Koomey is also a Research Affiliate of the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, and serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Contemporary Economic Policy. Koomey holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California at Berkeley, and a B.A. in History of Science from Harvard University. He is the author or co-author of nine books and more than 200 articles and reports on energy efficiency and supply-side power technologies, energy economics, energy policy, and other topics.