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.