I've learned quite a bit from people attending the Uptime Symposium in New York City. (Note: Uptime Institute is another business unit of The 451 Group.) Quite a number of the members of the Site Uptime Network who are attending the symposium shared stories about looking for ways to reduce energy consumption without disrupting IT operations in their sites.
While acting as MC for one session, I got to hear an amazing story about how Savvis redesigned and rebuilt their cooling system on their NJ2 facility (second facility in New Jersey) without allowing the operations of any of their clients to feel the impact. Parts of the upgrade will pay for itself in 4 months. Other parts of the upgrade will pay for themselves over the next three years. The overall cost and energy savings are going to be quite large.
Others spoke about finding ways to reduce hot and cold air mixing out on the floor of the datacenter so that less cooling can be used while still keeping the machines within their temperature specifications. One gentleman spoke of going to the local Home Depot to purchase lumber so that they could build simple frames around some of the equipment to better control temperature without having to make extensive and expensive modifications to the actual facility.
I've also had the opportunity to see some very impressive demonstrations of power, cooling and site management software. Much of these, however, fall outside of the area I usually cover so I won't attempt to present what I learned here. I'm a reformed software engineer not a site engineer.
As usual with these events, much of the value attendees receive comes from networking with one another in the breaks between sessions or at meals. I've overheard some very interesting discussions about problems and how each found a way to address them.
This has been a very interesting show. Today is the last day of the event and I'm going to be part of a couple of panel discussions about how IT innovation (virtualization and cloud computing) could be very disruptive influences on datacenter design and operation.