Sunday 31 July 2011

The Cloud Rush to the Bottom

Thanks to our twitter friend "datacentre" we understand that Digital Realty Trust has procured a redevelopment site in London for the pricely sum of £12.9 Million ($21Million).
Whilst we understand that land in London especially Central London is expensive we cant help but feel that the current rush by DC operators to build space is essentially flawed.
On one side we have IT manufacturers pushing cloud servers and co-lo's and other cloud services suppliers making expensive marketing campaigns promoting clouds in its three main forms, but is the market there?

I dont think so, I cant see established IT departments making wholesale moves into rented data centre space for the following reasons, IT infrastructure is expensive and represents huge investment in technology, if you've already bought it, configured and nurtured it to get to where you want it to be on your own site, why on earth would you even consider moving into a facility where security, access, energy and sevice level agreements are possibly flaky? Same with using SaaS, why would you consider using an application where you have no control?
The answer I fear is that some IT departments are not operating in a professional manner, and have in the past been slow to react to business needs, have poor user perception, cost too much for the service they are providing, and in effect have lost the board.
Which is why the cloud marketing push tries to address all these concerns, slow to react?, use server provisioning from Cloud Inc, we can have you online and working within 10 minutes, poor user perception? no IT staff involment, automation is the name of the game, onsite IT cost too much? Get servers fully provisioned for your needs at £9.99 per month ($10 per month in some places) all advertising targeted at the very people remote from IT but paying for it.
The only area of cloud I can see that anyone will be paying for is, start ups that have no reason to recruit IT staff when they can use cloud services, we'll see how they feel in a few years time when their organisation gets bigger and their cloud offerings start to fail (meaning that they need IT stuff that is not available in the cloud, or suffer a drastic and essentially company busting failure) or the use of cloud services on site, i.e giving the users what they want in an automated "on demand" type service, want servers yes go to the intranet portal and provision one yourself, (see how far that gets!) want IT support? go to the IT pages on the Intranet portal for information and self service (in every organisation I've ever worked in, users want an engineer to visit them at their desk no matter how useless they are! trying to fix it your self is a no no to them, after all if I wanted to be an IT engineer I'd be an IT engineer, not the clerical paper shuffler I am. Try playing that game with city based traders who can earn more in a minute that the IT operation costs in a year.

No, forget the push to the cloud, its not for everybody and can only really be used for commodity IT services, Email etc.
As for the rush for DC space, well currently it seems that some operators are in the mindset "build it and they will come", well maybe but not yet not yet.

Saturday 30 July 2011

Skools Out !

Yes, its that time of year when the little ones are free to roam.
We've been roaming as well, all over our region!
We were invited to conduct some Green IT surveys at some schools in the area and we've visited 5 over the past month.
So, how did it go? Well, suffice to say that we have identifed potential for schools to adopt Green IT within their operations and to be honest boy do they need something.
Without naming specific schools, it seems to me that there are serious lack of IT governance issues, and staff seem to be constantly firefighting rather than planning a secure, resilient and energy efficient IT estate.
I can understand the difficulties, after all your IT infrastructure is only going to be as good as your IT manager' vision and technical skills, sadly schools IT does not pay very well and you get what you pay for, monkeys and peanuts.
When your council abdicates this function into the school, its not surprising that schools are in a bit of a mess. I understand that some schools are so fed up with the procurement policies and procedures that they've decided to opt out and go it alone, citing lower costs and a better experience, we cant comment on that but we have proposed the installation of Greentrac into the 5 schools. This is complaint with the SALIX funding matrix, and we hope to get the systems installed in the Christmas Break.

We have, this week, finally started to install the Greentrac product into the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody involved in getting the system, authorisations and approvals necessary to kick off the project

We will be presenting our vision for a Low Carbon ICT strategy for the West Midlands area at the CWLEP IT & Media Focus Group this week.

I've also made progress with becoming a CEEDA inspector, with an interview scheduled in August.

So, exciting times here at Carbon3IT Ltd, let them reign supreme.

Until next time, be lucky..

Monday 11 July 2011

NHS Roadmap to Sustainability & other things

We'll start with the other things, last week I visited a company in Wolverhampton who were thinking about the provision of on site generation.
We dont normally consult on renewable energy systems but in this case I thought I would use it as practice for our "Greenprints" service and to brush up on my consultancy skills.
The company were looking at energy efficiency and were thinking of installing a wind turbine on their site.
I undertook a brief review of their IT, only one server and 16 PC's but it is surprising how much energy in total they use. As to the wind turbine idea well, the site was not located in an optimum site, only 5 m/s average wind speeds and to be honest the costs of providing all their energy requirements would have required 2 x 37 m towers with 15m blades and cost in the region of £1Million, the payback would have been centuries rather than decades, not really a valid option.
We advised that their best solution would have been roof mounted solar panels.
Tomorrow, we will be attending the NHS Roadmap for Sustainability event in London, this will be an interesting event.
The NHS has enormous potential for on site generation and the use of Green IT solutions such as Greentrac and Very PC's range of computing equipment, however as with all niche and SME products it is getting over the lack of corporate clout that will prove to be the biggest stumbling block.
The NHS dont like to get out of their comfort zones, they want resolution of problems PDQ and sometimes smaller companies dont meet the NHS procurement requirements.
It will be difficult to "sell" into this environment, despite what the Government say and its high time the smaller local based outfits were given the chance to sell into the large public bodies.
We'll report back later this week on the event.

Sunday 3 July 2011

Busy Busy Busy

What a busy couple of weeks!
After the excellent Coventry ICT Conference on the 14th, we attended and had organised a meeting between Greenpeace & the BCS regarding the "How Dirty is your Data?" report issued in April by Greenpeace.
After a lengthly discussion on all things Green IT, the BCS have drafted a reponse which can be found here
I developed the orginal draft statement which was amended and revised by colleagues at the BCS and the DC/GreenIT SG's, so I'm pleased that a couple of trade publications such as eWeek with this article are promoting the issue of Data Centre energy consumption.
We also attended the HCTS conference at the Landmark Hotel in London and then demonstrated the excellent Broadleaf PC at the Amsterdam Duurzaam event, all in all a very busy weeks.

On our work table at the moment we have a project for 5 schools, a study of renewable energy in the north of the region and a report to write for the local LEP on Low Carbon ICT.
Next week, I'm visiting a school, off to London for a BCS Green IT F2F and two site visits.
Oh, and the week after we'll be planning the installation of Greentrac into our local university, all ready for the new academic term.
Almost forgot, went to my graduation last week and was not disappointed to be mentioned in the local paper, as I should be in the OU journal.

Until next time....