Uptime Institute supports initiative to attract veterans to the data center industry

Posted by mstansberry | Posted in Uptime Institute Network, Uptime Institute News, Uptime Institute Publications and Research | Posted on 13-11-2013


The Armed Forces has provided a longstanding and capable resource pool for data center management, engineering, and operations. Uptime Institute itself, throughout its history, has thrived due to the contribution of veterans in key positions.

Members of the Uptime Institute Network (a knowledge community of data center operators and executives) have described the challenge of attracting, training and retaining staff as chronic.

As the data center industry faces a global shortfall in qualified candidates, veterans represent a unique resource pool to address what many inside and outside the Uptime Institute see as an impending crisis of experience in data center operations. Uptime Institute has undertaken multiple initiatives to raise awareness for both veterans and those looking to fill vacant positions in data centers.Veteran's Initiative

In the latest Uptime Institute Journal (V2), Lee Kirby, Retired Army Colonel and Uptime Institute SVP of Facilities Management, makes a case for veterans as data center talent and provides a practical course of action for those organizations interested in pursuing. Download Kirby’s article, “Resolving the Personnel Shortage in the Data Center Industry” here.

Before joining the Uptime Institute, Mr. Kirby founded Salute, Inc. an organization dedicated to hiring veterans for data center services with data center cleaning as the first entry position and progressing to installation and select maintenance services requiring disciplined labor.

Uptime Institute Network has formed a Veterans Subcommittee to proactively alert veterans to positions available with the data center industry. This is one remedy for the longstanding concern of Uptime Institute Network Members that the data center industry is hidden from those seeking to advance their careers in critical facilities engineering and management. Through this subcommittee, an impressive list of companies have committed to bridging veterans and data centers.

Uptime Institute is also organizing a forum to connect veterans with specific data center opportunities. For more information on Uptime Institute’s veterans activities, please contact Lee Kirby: [email protected] or visit http://www.uptimeinstitute.com/home/veterans.

At Uptime Institute Network Fall Meeting, Network members share challenges, insights

Posted by Jeannette Beltran | Posted in Uptime Institute Events, Uptime Institute Network | Posted on 07-10-2013

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This week sees the annual fall meeting of the Uptime Institute Network. This meeting differs from the many other events available to data center operators in several critical ways. I’m honored to be at the 2014 meeting as working staff for the first time. I’m even moderating a Network member lunch table discussion focused on staffing challenges. Network members gathered at other tables will discuss OSHA standards, free cooling, ways to improve technician training, and the convergence of IT and facilities functions. Lee Kirby will lead a final lunch table, which comprises the members of the Network’s Veteran’s subcommittee, as they discuss how to prepare available U.S. veterans to fill roles in the data center industry.

These tables epitomize the spirit of the Network, which is dedicated to true problem solving in the IT realm and takes on issues of all types. The lunch table discussions cover issues ranging from personnel to operations to technology to maintenance.


Uptime Institute Network personnel will be on-hand to share data they have gathered and synthesized, but the true drivers of the discussions will be Network members sharing their experiences.

During the course of the 2 ½-day meeting, the schedule will be full of sessions and presentations, many of them given by Network members. These sessions, conducted under a nondisclosure agreement, are frank discussions of problems and challenges, and failures and successes encountered in meeting enterprise IT challenges. In other sessions, Uptime Institute and 451 Research staff provide insights gathered from wide bodies of research and surveys. These discussions do much to validate or challenge lessons learned from the field. But, more importantly in my mind, are working sessions that are open to all Network member attendees, who help drive these meetings to conclusions.

Uptime Institute COO Julian Kudritzki will lead such a group at this year’s meeting. The panel is entitled “Owners vs. Designers,” but the intent of the session is to address data center project dysfunction caused by poor relations between the design engineer and the owner. This is the third in a series of information-gathering sessions, which we believe will lead to a document that will help resolve knotty communication issues. What other event features continuity in its efforts and produces results that go beyond information sharing?

The Uptime Institute Network meeting also includes one other unique and well-known feature: data center tours. Members at next week’s Network meeting have chosen among four extensive data center tours during which they observe the workings of the facility first-hand, learn from best and innovative practices, and then critique the facility for the owner/operator.

I’ll be reporting back after the event to share more … and, of course, to encourage you to add your voice to that of other Network members.

Peeking beneath the cover of ‘The Uptime Institute Journal’

Posted by Jeannette Beltran | Posted in Uptime Institute Network, Uptime Institute News, Uptime Institute Publications and Research | Posted on 03-10-2013

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UI-Journal-v2Last week, I noted that Uptime Institute would soon unveil the second issue of The Uptime Institute Journal. At the time, I was working with our art director, David Wilson, and executive editor Matt Stansberry to finalize the pages before shipping them to the printer. In a few minutes, I’ll get to see the first results of that work: print proofs. As editor, these, for me, are the first tangible results of months of work by many people, especially the authors, but also the technical editors, Lee Kirby and Rob Costa, and publisher Julian Kudritzki, as well as Matt and Dave. As the old joke goes, if you like what you see, thank them. If not, well, then just blame me. Perhaps I didn’t tell that right?

We’ll have the first copies available at the Uptime Institute Network‘s fall meeting. And right after that we’ll be distributing copies free of charge to Network members, Accredited Tier Designers/Accredited Tier Specialists and Tier-Certified facilities. We’ll be charging only for shipping and handling ($15 U.S. in North America, and $50 internationally). These charges only apply if you are unable to pick up your copy at one of our events, meetings or offices.

The second issue, which is almost one-third longer than our first issue, is full of terrific content. Here’s what you’ll find in this issue.

From Uptime Institute

It begins with a personal tribute to Uptime Institute founder Ken Brill (p.4) by Chief Operating Officer Julian Kudritzki. Julian started out in this industry as one of Ken’s employees, and the personal nature of the story is unmistakable; the focus, however, remains on Ken’s passions and demonstrates that he is still providing leadership in the industry.

Lee Kirby, now Uptime Institute’s senior vice president, Institute Services, also wrote an article that had great personal meaning for him (p.76). As a military veteran, Lee saw that his fellow veterans could be trained to address a looming staffing shortage in the data center industry, creating a benefit for the veterans and the industry.

And while I’m talking about personal experiences, Debbie Seidman, Uptime Institute senior consultant, and Vince Renaud, CTO, undertook an effort to document how data centers responded to the havoc wreaked by Superstorm Sandy (p. 96). The quotes reveal that industry people responded well and bravely to the dangerous situations spawned by the storm.

And finally, an article that I wrote (p.6) provides an opportunity for readers to get to know the faces behind the North American, Latin American and EMEA networks.

From Our Network Members

We have some other great articles from Pitt Turner and Matt Stansberry, which I’ll cover in future blogs, but the bulk of the book comes from the work and dedication of Uptime Institute Network members and other industry experts.

Some of these are personal, too. For example RagingWire’s COO Jason Weckworth relates an anecdote in which he barely escapes being fired, as he discusses the need for transparency in the industry (p. 46).

Digital Realty’s Dave Schirmacher (p. 54) talks about Digital’s DCIM implementation. But even this is a personal account, as I learned when talking to Dave about his passion for data. “Imagine what I could do if I had all the data I wanted,” Dave told me when he joined Digital, “Now I can do it.”

Juan Miguel Duran wrote what is perhaps my favorite story in the whole issue, as he tells about the Tier Certification process from Entel’s perspective (p. 64). His discussion of risks and mitigation are about as frank a disclosure as anything I have read in any publication.

Network members contributed other articles as well, including a very good one on diesel generator exhaust aftertreatment systems by Lamont Fortune.  I’ll be writing more about Lamont’s article and the other technical pieces in coming weeks.

But, for today, I wanted to point out how much of the work in the industry gets done because it is personally important to its leaders.

Look for ordering information on our website in a few days. Meanwhile, I have to get back to checking proofs.

‘The Uptime Institute Journal’ reflects the Institute’s focus on excellence in design and operations

Posted by Kevin Heslin | Posted in Uptime Institute Accredited Tier Training, Uptime Institute Certifications and Consulting, Uptime Institute Network, Uptime Institute Publications and Research | Posted on 20-09-2013

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The first issue of The Uptime Institute Journal

What does a long-time technology editor do at Uptime Institute? You know, the very place that first developed the Tier System, the place where founder Ken Brill first discussed the consequences of Moore’s Law for data centers, and home of the tech-savvy men and woman who certify designs and facilities for reliability. They even train expert engineers and consultants in the nuances of the Tier system.

Well, it turns out that my skills and background have been a great fit here, and every few weeks I pick up a new assignment. Developing the first issue of The Uptime Institute Journal and getting it to press was the first of these assignments. The first issue, which has been available on our website since May, focused on design issues and included contributions from several prominent Accredited Tier Designers (ATDs), including Gary Orazio (page 28), Steve Emert (page 40), Alexander Martynyuk (page 54), Chad Beery (page 60), Charles Selkirk (page 64), and Panagiotis Laziridis and Juan Carlos Sens (page 76). I was also able to interview Edarat’s Adel Rizk, Digital Realty’s Gerard Thibault, and Metronode’s Michael Kalny, all also ATDs. We also included content from Uptime Institute’s Keith Klesner and Matt Mescall.

Everyone who’s seen the first issue has found the content interesting and useful, so much so that I’m now at work on a second issue, due in October, which is focused on operations issues. The articles in the upcoming issue, like those in the first, will all be written by people familiar with Uptime Institute’s policies, techniques and programs. Some of the authors will be Uptime Institute staff, while others are Uptime Institute Network members. My interviews with Uptime Institute Network directors will be part of this second edition as well.

The Journal will also include two new Uptime Institute documents — one describes the results of our annual Data Center Industry Survey, and the other is the release of Uptime Institute’s new FORCSS system. In addition, all content in both issues is refereed by Uptime Institute experts.

I’ll be telling you more about the content in both issues in coming weeks, not only because this assignment is a real challenge but also because I expect these publications to set a new standard for excellence in the data center industry. Already the series is unique, as it features several distinctive elements:

– International perspective
– Publishing platform for Uptime Institute research
– Inside perspectives from Uptime Institute Network members and ATDs
– Contributions from prominent industry thought leaders
– No advertising or advertising messages

Please keep an eye out for release of the new publication. The Uptime Institute Journal is intended only for a very small and targeted audience, and we are printing relatively few copies. At this time, we do have some remaining copies of the design edition, which can be ordered here.

Lee Kirby brings wide data center and military expertise to Uptime Institute

Posted by Jeannette Beltran | Posted in Uptime Institute Network, Uptime Institute News | Posted on 17-09-2013

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Lee Kirby

Lee Kirby

Lee Kirby joined Uptime Institute in July 2013 as Senior Vice President. He brings a deep and broad background in data center operations and a wealth of other experiences that he’ll apply to Uptime Institute programs, including the Uptime Institute Network. Kirby is probably best known for assignments he held at two of the industry’s best-known companies between 2006 and 2012. From 2006-2011, he was Vice President and General Manager at Lee Technologies, and from 2011-2012, he was Vice President of Strategic Operations at Skanska.

The skill sets Kirby has acquired reflect his broad data center experience, and these experiences will serve him well as he works on Uptime Institute and Uptime Institute Network projects.

As SVP, Kirby will provide consulting services to corporations and government agencies with critical uptime needs in their data centers. In the past, his clients have included worldwide leaders from industries such as banking, insurance, healthcare, government, technology, shipping, airlines and railways, telecommunications, aeronautics, retail, and IT outsourcing, among others, with the common need of minimizing downtime to their internal and external customers.

Kirby’s entrepreneurial side emerged in January 2013, when he founded Salute Inc. Salute is the logical convergence of his passion for the data center industry and his 26 years of military service, including 10 years of active duty. In the military, Kirby served as a Special Forces Officer and Civil Affairs Officer in Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and the Middle East. He successfully planned and executed a variety of missions, including drug interdiction, intelligence gathering, counter-insurgency, civil affairs, psychological operations, building civil capacity (governance, rule of law and public health), reconstruction, and humanitarian assistance.

Kirby founded Salute to address his belief that veterans, even those without technical experience, could readily train to meet the challenges of a data center environment. It’s no secret that the industry has long sought to recruit former Navy nuclear personnel, but Kirby thought that with appropriate training, personnel with a variety of skills could address shortages in many aspects of the industry, from entry level on up.

Indeed, one of Kirby’s first Uptime Institute activities was to participate in several Uptime Institute Network panels to point out the strengths of U.S. military veterans. His interest in helping solve the looming shortage of data center personnel means that Kirby will remain active in his support for veterans while using his experiences to develop exciting new programs.