Monday, November 24, 2008

Want the best ideas for running a data center? Have a dialog.

For the people running data centers these days, there are plenty of things that can keep them up at night. In fact, that's the easy part. Many of the problems, or "opportunities," or whatever euphemism you want to use, have been around for years (like, say, having servers that sit idle for 99% of their existence). Some are new (like managing virtualization - from multiple vendors). And some are the clash between the way things have always been done and the new, "better way" (like what happens when you actually try to start sharing IT resources).

Luckily, there is no shortage of ideas, concepts, architectures, and plain old things-to-think-about to solve these problems. The main issues we're seeing people struggle with, though, are these:
* How do I get from where I am now to where I want to be?
* What advice (expert and otherwise) is out there?
* What have others done?
* Who has some insight that helps me look at my problems and potential solutions in a new, more useful way?

Well, that's what Cassatt's Data Center Dialog blog is all about.

Sure, there's the "Cassatt" angle: as a software company actively engaged in helping some of the largest companies in North America improve their data center efficiency in a lot of ways, Cassatt has some useful tidbits to contribute to the data center conversation.

But, there's also the "Dialog" part: we run into a lot of interesting folks out there with the smarts, experience, and war wounds from being in and around data center operations. Through this blog, we'll do our best to bring you a collection of their ideas, thoughts, advice, and opinions (and how to get access to more).

First, we'll be doing an on-going set of give-and-take interviews with people steeped in both the problems and actual solutions in IT operations. They will be the people that you really should be talking to formally or informally. Some you'll know and recognize; some you won't. They're the folks who are in the data center or are intimately involved with it who have a lot of useful info we can all tap into, if we just ask the right questions. That last thing will be the tricky part, and we'll do our best.

Then, in addition to interviews, several of us here at Cassatt will be contributing to Data Center Dialog, providing our own opinions and commentary - plus ideas we're hearing from others and at industry events about the topics shaping what's being discussed today (oh, say, like cloud computing?).

Finally, the other part of this dialog comes from the readers. But, this being a blog, and you being readers, you all know how that works already. We're hoping to make the discussions here as lively, interesting, and useful as the other pieces of this blog. We'll do our part by posting things we think will spur discussion. The next step will be up to you.

Oh, and one last note: we'll certainly talk about Cassatt-related things now and again, but we will work hard to make this blog much bigger than that. If we can help you find a perspective or idea that you hadn't thought of before that helps you in your day-to-day job, that's a good thing. And if you see something that we should do differently, tell us.

This is, after all, a dialog.