Data Center World Team Takes the Field at AT&T Stadium

by Karen Riccio

AT&T Stadium usually hosts the likes of Tony Romo, Jason Witten and Sean Lee from the NFC East champion Dallas Cowboys; however, a new team took “the field” on Feb. 22 and proved to be equally successful.

Together, AFCOM, the local Dallas/Ft. Worth chapter and numerous sponsors kicked off the first of many local Data Center World events planned for this year. While no one needed helmets or pads, the day-long menu of educational sessions tackled some of the biggest issues facing the nearly 200 IT and data center professionals in attendance … starting with the Internet of Things (IoT).

Keynote speaker Chris Crosby took the first snap with “Data Centers and the IoT: There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch,” where he addressed the headaches that the tens of millions of wireless devices sending zettabytes of data can cause, and possible solutions for making the throbbing disappear.

What does the IoT and streaming videos, accessing applications in the cloud, etc. have in common? They all require real-time processing, explained Crosby. “Many existing data centers and their supporting network structures weren't designed and built to effectively process the heterogeneous volumes of data.”

The answer doesn't lie in Excedrin-strength fixes or short-term plans, says the founder and CEO of Compass Datacenters. It requires a completely new data center strategy with a shelf life of at least five years or more. What Crosby says needs to happen is a long-term shift from a centralized data center strategy to a stratified system of data centers.

"Big, centralized facilities that are built to process huge amounts of data and that rely on the network to reach out to where customers and IoT devices are may work for certain types of applications, but you couldn't design a worse data center infrastructure for IoT because it leads to significant latency, flexibility, and computing load issues. The bottom line is that IoT doesn't like this kind of infrastructure."

A stratified system of data centers, as described by Crosby, includes edge facilities and even micro data centers very close to where traffic is being sent and received.

The closing keynote given by Carrie Goetz addressed “Facilities Meet IT: What Facilities Needs to Know in Today’s Data Center.” The senior executive with the Siemon Company began by describing some attributes of the perfect data center:

  • Budget silos would not exist

  • Reconfigurations would not be required

  • Updates would not be required

  • Decommissioning/commissioning would be easier

  • Vendors would cooperate

  • Open systems would reign

  • Vendor Lock-in would not exist

  • Power and cooling would be easier to manage

  • Vendors would have your best interests at heart

  • The data center floor would remain stable

But, alas, the perfect data center does not exist. So, Goetz went on to provide specific need-to-know details about those IT items (including costs) that facilities supports: servers, switches, WAN equipment, storage, raised floor, power and cooling. Her hope was that attendees came away knowing how to insert themselves into hardware decisions; there is more than one way to design a data center; and to play devil’s advocate for the common good.

Sandwiched between the opening and closing keynotes was a plethora educational sessions focused on IT Management—the day-to-day tasks related to the management of technology infrastructure components and the needs of individual applications, people, services, security, storage, networking and connectivity elements of an IT operations team; and Facilities Management—from build-out to redesign of data center and the support systems, including automation, codes, efficiencies, electrical, cabling structures, fire suppression and commissioning.

View PowerPoint presentations from Data Center World – Global here.

Following lunch, attendees were also given the opportunity to engage with our event sponsors during Lightning Talks. Representative introduced their companies and the products and/or services they provided. Judging from the reaction of at least two sponsors, the event was a win-win for all.

“Awesome meeting, outstanding attendance, fabulous setting, great food, quality educational sessions; what more could anyone want!” said David F. Grubbs, vice president of sales for Electronic Transport.

“Great attendance…  Good program/layout/location…  Food and accommodations were great…  Touchdown!” said Tom Hodson, solution architect for Total Cable Solutions, a strategic partner of Data Center World. 

That’s precisely what AFCOM strives to offer to its members throughout the year.

AFCOM supports thousands of IT, operations, facilities, builders/designers and vendors working in the data center and IT infrastructure industry through forward-looking research by Data Center Institute, digital publications like the weekly newsletter “Inside the Box”, more than 40 local chapters in North America and Australia, and major events like Data Center World.

If you enjoyed our event in Dallas (or if for any reason you couldn’t attend) you can access a lot more by joining our association. Go to www.AFCOM.com and click Join AFCOM. For only $299/year you can be part of the association that has earned recognition as the leader in educating, connecting and guiding the data center community for over 36 years.

Our next local Data Center event shifts to the Windy City on July 12 at Chicago’s Art Institute.  Register today! 

Finally, you won’t want to miss Data Center Global – 2017 from April 3-6 in Los Angeles.  Download a brochure here.