Posted by: Greg Ness | November 19, 2011

Smaller Companies and Larger Data Centers

For months I’ve been preoccupied with Lew’s Law, or the theory that IT expenses over time will track to the cost of electricity (versus hardware, peoplepower, etc.) authored by Cisco Cloud CTO Lew Tucker and shared in early 2010 with the then-billowing Infrastructure 2.0 Working Group.

After watching an SAP webcast shared by Reese Jones via Facebook on The Coming Age of Abundance, it occurred to me that the near future will be driven by smaller companies producing more electrons per employee via larger and more efficient data centers.  You can skip the theatrical intro and head to the discussion at about 40 minutes in for the most inspired content, although the entire discussion is worthwhile.

Lew will be proven prescient on perhaps a larger scale than he dared to imagine in 2009, because business margins and success will also ultimately track to the cost of electricity as we enter the collaborative age driven by cloud, an endpoint renaissance, new IT operating models and gamification.

This means that data centers will be the new corporate campus (the “collaboration hubs”) and that we’re entering an age where energy efficiency will become a critical business enabler.  Note the Gartner reference near the end of my lengthy Crunch Time in the Clouds tome to the shift from rack and smaller data centers to larger (and more likely customized) facilities.

Closing Note on Efficiency

This week I attended a Sustainable Silicon Valley ECO-Council event at a Leed® Platinum home in Portola Valley.  The 6k+ square foot home managed to collect more energy than it needed for heating, cooling and powering 5 plug-in cars.  It was amazingly comfortable and obviously spacious. No need for heating or air conditioning and enough juice from solar and geothermal to power the plug-ins.  The home was designed to last 100 years.  Could the data center industry be inspired to build efficient Leed® Platinum data centers designed to last longer?  Most definitely.  Check out our Leed(R) Platinum data center campus project.


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