There was a time, in the not too distant past, where your datacenters were very much behind the scene operations. A few people worked inside and the outward presentation was whatever applications your users had that made use of the IT workload of the datacenter. But datacenters have, over the last few years, developed a much higher profile. It’s not so much that their role has changed, though roles have certainly adapted to modern technology trends; it’s that datacenters have become the high-profile representation of a business’s approach to the world (and hence, the customers of the business).
The already outdated New York Times article a few months back that painted datacenters as the Montgomery Burns of the business world, gleefully wasting power with not a care in the world, highlighted to many people who don’t have a clue what a datacenter actually is or does, that datacenters were out there and with all the power that was being consumed, must be doing something. This type of media coverage has added another aspect to your datacenter management; what is now considered a “social” aspect.
While it seems like an odd thing to consider the impact of social media on your datacenter, consider this: the current drive towards more efficient computing platforms, using sustainable or renewable resources, and being a better “corporate citizen of the world” isn’t being done in a vacuum. Corporations are spending money to make existing datacenters more efficient, to reduce power consumption, to find ways to reuse waste energy. And new datacenter designs tout their ground-up higher efficiencies and how they will provide better ROI and improve CAPEX and OPEX as they apply to the datacenter.
But many companies are missing an opportunity to get even more return on their datacenter expenditures. While businesses that build datacenters or are completely datacenter focused (such as Google and Facebook) make a concerted effort to play up their datacenters and their efforts to be more environmentally friendly, it’s not something you hear from more mundane datacenter operators.
But perhaps it should be. If your company is spending the money to implement more efficient operations, develop business processes that have a smaller negative environmental footprint, or even are just saving the company significant costs due to improved energy efficiency or operation flow, those are all “feel good” marketing opportunities for the business. And turning expense into opportunity just makes good business sense.