Ever since the Internet took off, those who have been managing the infrastructure have been laser focused on optimizing each and every part of the “stack” leading up to and stopping short of the application (another post on this one as that is about to change!!!). In so doing this, the largest of players have tuned their datacenter energy consumption thru quantification via Power Utilization Effectiveness/Efficiency (PUE), have sought to push the HW vendors to tune the servers we deploy in the datacenters via efforts like Open Compute Project (just attended recent event), and the industry has more robust contribution to the ever evolving set(s) of industry mgmt standards that are common across MOST infrastructure teams (see ITILv3.0).
What is not, however, all that common is an over-arching view (process map) to tie this universe from end to end – DCIM adoption has been slow due to not only this lack of cohesive visibility but also to advance our abilities to even further tune the “infrastructure engine”, we need to begin to holistically look at infrastructure the way in which manufactures have long done via Enterprise Resource Planning – I posit, we need to adopt Infrastructure Resource Planning (IRP) as a way in which to advance the concepts of ITIL + ITSM + DCIM + (soon to be published, new metric!!).
I wrote a few years ago, inspired by Nick Carr’s book: “The big Switch”, about the inevitable fusion of energy generation and internet infrastructure – in fact, I went to go so far as to say that some day designs will be for Power/Info Platforms simply combining the two.
It wasn’t long after that, that we learned of Google’s plans to build datacenters at sea that used tidal/gravitatinal energy and be self-sustaining: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2008/09/06/google-planning-offshore-data-barges/. This was also about the time that PUE was coming on the scene and helping to focus the datacenter/infrastructure industry at large on energy efficiency gains.
Fast forward to present and we are now witnessing some even more amazing innovation efforts all emanating from the internet infrastructure evolution.
I have seen some very radical, yet realistic designs for alternative energies used by datacenters not only in pursuit of becoming a Zero Energy Building (see: http://www.nrel.gov/buildings/pdfs/39833.pdf) but also to help manage COGS of internet infrastructure operations with $/kW/hr being the highest OpEx cost – so it only makes sense for large infrastructure companies to push the envelope as historic energy companies don’t have the same incentives and are locked into status quo mentalities.
And along come Google again.
Google announces Google Energy LLC: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/print/article/2011/07/zeroing-in-on-zero-googles-foray-into-utility-land
Google announces carbon neutral since 2007: http://inhabitat.com/google-announces-that-its-been-carbon-neutral-since-2007/
So it makes perfect sense that as the world’s largest internet infrastructure company who’s very existence is predicated on power (lots of power) should begin to seek to innovate its entire ecosystem – and Google is not alone!!
There are some other very large infrastructure companies doing as much in this area as Google – and it is not a leap to say that some of the biggest strides forward in alternative energy shall come form the industry who is consuming the most of it – the IT industry!