Monday, May 10, 2010

Heartland Green Up Wrap-up

Last Wednesday I attended the Heartland Green Up in Des Moines. Besides being a big proponent of technology, Iowa, and technology in Iowa -- this symposium was an awesome event, and I hope the success it had this year is dwarfed by future years.

The opening keynote was Randy Mott, Executive VP and CIO of HP. Having the experience that Randy does, and the responsibility of that title for a $100+ billion company is quite impressive and I thoroughly enjoyed his talk. We viewed videos of their Wynyard and Houston data centers and witnessed the implemented technologies set to help achieve their goal of saving 1 billion kWh by 2011. Data Center Knowledge has a nice write-up of the facility -- and here is the video we viewed. The 360k square foot Wynyard facility opened in February 2010, uses 10% wind energy, has an 'excellent' BREEAM rating, and uses 50% less CO2 than comparable HP data centers.

The second talk I attended was Jim Borendame from Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has a huge presence in Des Moines and I enjoyed Jim's IT-centric approach to going green. In 2005 Wells Fargo made a 10 point environmental commitment to itself and stake holders. With 61,000 physical and virtual servers, 61PB of storage and 8MW data centers, Jim has a lot to manage. IT metrics like those from IDEAS International helped green projects save enough money that they did not have to build a new data center -- even though they had board approval for a tier 4, $350 million facility. Other things such as 9:1 compression ratio using deduplication technologies, and moving to the latest VMware VSphere to enable more virtual servers also helped improve IT efficiencies and save money. Even with their impressive IT asset portfolio, it isn't enough to necessitate looking at data center containers. I couldn't resist asking, but even a company the size of Wells Fargo doesn't fit the business case for doing a container data center farm -- guess we'll leave that to Google and Microsoft for now.

Una Song from EnergyStar went over a number of programs and projects under way. covers information about Enterprise Servers and Data Center Energy Efficiency Initiatives. Data Center Knowledge interviewed Andrew Fanara, who recently left EnergyStar. DCK also has a post on the EnergyStar rating for servers coming soon. The Department of Energy also has a Industrial Technologies Program site for saving energy in data centers.

The conference saved the rock star for last -- Bill Weihl, Energy Czar at Google. Even though it was the end of a long day - everyone enjoyed Bill's speech, knowledge and enthusiasm. Bill had 10 lessons from Google as it relates to energy / green programs -- but a heavy focus was on #1 - We need cheap, clean energy. It is well known that Google has invested in solar and wind, as well as this crazy offshore data barges concept, which just baffles me. Stacey Higgenbotham interviewed Bill after the GreenNet conference and talks about the huge responsibility Google has to buy green power, and build efficient data centers.

Overall it was a very good conference to attend -- big names, big/timely topics, and good networking. I'll be back next year!

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