I’ve just returned from AFCOM’s Data Center World where CEO Jill Eckhaus said that the Data Center Institute would tell the industry to “embrace the cloud.” Equinix CIO Brian Lillie agreed. A few weeks earlier, many of the 1000 attendees at DataCenterDynamics New York event learned about the availability of $93 million from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NSERDA) for data center energy-efficiency improvements. DataCenterDynamics should be commended for making booth space available to NYSERDA and making room in at least three sessions for NYSERDA representatives to publicize the program. I reviewed one of the proposals to NYSERDA. If accepted, this plan has the potential to significantly reduce energy use by New York-based data centers

In other developments, Microsoft’s Christian Belady has agreed to lead a team called the Extreme Computing Group. “Cloud computing has made mining and developing the “right” opportunities even that much more important. We need to think about how we tie together the complete ecosystem of the software stack, the IT, the data center and the grid today and what efficiencies we can drive from our research and development for the future,” he wrote in his blog.

His former colleague Mike Manos, now with Nokia, is taking on an additional new challenge. “There are lots of great ideas, lots of forward thinking, but moving this work to execution and educating business leaders as well as data center professionals to break away from those old stand by accepted norms has not gone well.

“That is why I am extremely happy to announce my involvement with the University of Missouri in the launch of a Not-For-Profit Data Center specific organization,” he wrote. The formal announcement was made by Dave Ohara via his industry website, GreenM3. Ohara is long-time industry figure and participant in this new organization as well.

As though these developments were not sufficient, the Department of Energy recently announced funding for public-private partnerships to drive advanced new energy-efficient technologies to market. Ron Mann, the director of engineering for Hewlett-Packard’s Rack & Power Infrastructure group recently told me about the ambitious scale of one of these projects. This project calls for HP and Eaton to develop an “Environmentally Contained Power and Cooling IT Infrastructure for the Data Center.” In other words, the goal is “To develop a fully enclosed IT rack system that will provide its own internal power and cooling with leveraging high voltage AC and chilled water as the primary inputs into the system and will also accept alternative energy power sources such as wind and solar.”

Kevin Heslin