What is a Leaders Lab?

AFCOM Leaders Labs
 are a series of regional workshops comprised of data center professionals who explore ideas and develop solutions to the most critical issues impacting data centers today. In the process of the workshop, which is led by an expert advisor, the attendees provide real-world experience and guidance in solving these issues and contribute to a whitepaper that is written by a professional writer. Each attendee is identified as an author of the whitepaper, which is ultimately released at Data Center World and published on AFCOM.com. Some of the topics we tackle include: 

•         Big Data/Machine Learning
•         Disaster Operations/Recovery
•         Energy Crisis/Energy Efficiency
•         Hybrid Cloud Architectures
•         Internet of Things
•         Data Center Security

These exclusive gatherings of thought leaders drive innovation, education, and advancement of data center concepts and technologies.

The AFCOM Leaders Lab groups meet in cities across the U.S., and the attendees become part of an exclusive group that continues year-round to share ideas through a gated LinkedIn group, and ultimately meet up at the annual Leaders Lab Alumni Reception at Data Center World. This year's cities and topics are:

Minneapolis, MN

  • October 22, 2019


Advisor: Bill Kleyman, SVP, Digital Solutions, Switch

No matter where you are on the DCIM adoption spectrum, this Leaders Lab aims to get you to the cutting edge of what’s possible in data center management. Advancing on our conversation and discoveries at the 2018 Leaders Lab, attendees will discuss with the advisor how new technologies like AI, machine learning, predictive analytics, and more will impact the effectiveness of DCIM. The goal is to help attendees create a more intelligent data center that optimizes performance and efficiency.

Attendees will bring their real-world experiences to the conversation and work with each other and our advisor to analyze some of the industry’s most disruptive DCIM features and determine where to invest resources now and in the immediate future so they can better understand how to deploy DCIM. The resulting whitepaper will help industry peers to understand the next level of data center management.

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San Diego, CA

  • October 24, 2019


Advisor: Carrie Goetz, Principal/CTO, Strategitcom

What makes most sense for your data center when it’s time to handle larger and more complex workloads? Do you scale up or scale out? What are some of the parameters you need to know to make the right decision? How far do you scale?  What adjustments do you make to your compute and power loads due to the scale?  Do you scale the entire workload or keep some of the parts centralized?  Do you need a chief data officer and how does this incorporate into DR, security and other plans?

In this Leaders Lab, attendees will work with our expert advisor to discover real-world solutions for their individual needs and then collaborate on an industry whitepaper that outlines recommended best practices. Attendees will determine how to decide if a scale-out approach with a large number of smaller nodes is needed, or whether a scale-up approach might be a better fit in a virtual server consolidation design that can rely on fewer physical servers. In today’s fast-paced business environment, it’s important to know all the information ahead of time to make an informed decision.

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New! Virtual Leaders Lab

  • November 21, 2019


When planning an edge computing strategy, it’s even more critical today to consider the benefits and risks, but also the unforeseen impacts on the performance of your data center and your business as a whole. While edge computing can reduce latency for critical workloads and improve security through distributed networks and architectures, there’s also an increase in complexity of management and in the number of vulnerable endpoints. Then there’s the impact on facilities design and operations technology.

How do you make sense of it all and assure your colleagues not only that an edge strategy is right for your company, but that you’ve got the right design to support this evolving landscape? In this virtual Leaders Lab, held entirely via webinar and exclusively for our AFCOM Leaders Lab Alumni, our expert advisor will lead a hand-selected group of data center professionals in a collaborative discussion designed to answer some of the industry’s most pressing issues on edge computing. We’ll tackle resource issues, proper provisioning, workload management, networking limitations, and security protocols. Then, based on the insights from the Leaders Lab advisor and participants, we’ll produce a whitepaper outlining best practices for optimal edge computing planning and design.

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San Antonio, TX

  • March 16-19, 2020


Exclusive Global Gathering

All Leaders Lab alumni will be invited to a special networking event at Data Center World. Results of all Leaders Labs whitepapers will be shared at sessions at the conference.

More than 1,600 data center, facilities and IT infrastructure professionals will gather in San Antonio, TX, from March 16-19 for Data Center World Global 2020. Unique to the industry, the Data Center World conference draws upon the knowledge and experience of the more than 3,500 AFCOM members, the association for advancing data center and IT infrastructure professionals, to create an end-user driven agenda that focuses on real solutions for today's key challenges.

Download Copies of the 2019 Leaders Lab Whitepapers Today